Well, this last weekend was interesting. My post questioning when ethnicity and sex became the most important thing out there was met with a lot of responses, views, and even some shares. It was interesting watching the ticker rise and seeing the comments and replies pile in from various corners of the globe.
And there were replies, both here and elsewhere, both good and questionable. Quite a few responded with resounding agreement, some even nothing their own negative experiences with this growing behavior, while others simply agreed that there was no place for it in the writing world. To those who chimed in backing my decision to pull out of SPFBO 2016 or to voice similar disagreement to the growing trend of downplaying or penalizing a book based on the sex/ethnicity of the characters or author, thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s noticed this behavior, nor finds it distinctly unappealing.
To those who disagreed with me but saw fit to do so in polite, even terms, I also thank you. We may not agree or see eye to eye on the issue, but a polite exchange of the reasoning behind various positions, even if it ends in a respectful “agree to disagree” conclusion, is still fruitful and beneficial. Especially on such a topic so ripe for more *ahem* juvenile forms of “debate,” honest back-and-forth with a bit of respect between the parties is still good. So, thanks for keeping cool heads and for being reasonable and keeping a level head.
And then there are those other replies. The ones that, despite the rage behind the keyboard, mostly had me shaking my head. To those who attempted to “debate” my points by misquoting or selectively omitting parts of my post, I hope you understand that such a tactic only works in two places: Politics and the schoolyard. Nowhere in the real world does a lawyer get to ask a judge to dismiss evidence on the grounds that it is “highly relevant and makes my client look extremely guilty” and get away with it. On The Simpsons, maybe, but not in the real world.
But I must say, my absolute favorite negative reply, the one so outlandish I had to share it with those around me (and will now share with you), which read to a full round of laughs, several discussions, and more laughs, was the accusation by one individual (and echoed by a few others) that I pulled Unusual Events out and made the post I did because I “felt threatened” because I was a white male who could ‘only write white, male characters.’
I wish I’d taken a screenshot of it before it got wiped/edited, because it later vanished. But of all the negative feedback I got, that was the one that made me laugh out loud. Not only did they completely miss the point of the article (likely because they simply posted without reading it) but the also made a hilarious and wildly inaccurate claim about my writing. Only white, male characters? Sands, I wrote a 300K word fantasy novel starring a female griffon (pretty far from both male, and for that matter, the human species). I’ve written stories about characters from just about every continent on Earth. Characters with backgrounds and lineages stretching all over, because those are what the stories ask. Of all the comments I got, this one was the most hilariously ludicrous and misinformed. It also was good for quite a few laughs, so of all the negative comments, I thank this one, because wow, did that bring some unintended levity into my day!
All in all, however, I don’t regret my decision to pull Unusual Events. I still stand by my comments: Rating any book above or below another strictly on the ethnicity and/or sex of the main characters and author is wrong. It is bigotry, I disagree with it, and I will not support any site that stands for otherwise, arguing that one’s skin color makes one better than another. That is wrong, and I will not back down on that.
I’m also glad I’m not the only one out there that feels that way.