(Just posted to Facebook, and reposted here.)
Many friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in
the science fiction/fantasy trades, assuming that I will agree with
them because I have known them for years, or because I admire their
work, or because I seem in sync aesthetically, or (sometimes,
I sense) simply because I am a white man with a Southern accent and
gray in my beard, have expressed to me lately that sure, diversity and
sensitivity are great, but what's gotten into all these youngsters and
LGBTQ folks and people of color and -- especially -- women? Why do they
keep picking on us? Why are they complaining so loudly? Whatever
happened to civility? Why does everything have to be political, since
we're all just storytellers, comrades around the fire? Why do they act
like we've done something wrong, when in fact we have done nothing
wrong? What's their beef, anyway? Aren't these "politically correct"
people (the argument continues) the REAL bullies? And who are these
people, anyway? We've never heard of them, so what right do they have
And so forth.
I've been hearing all this a lot.
So, to save time,
let me respond to all of these people -- the ones I know well and love,
the ones I barely know and dislike, and everyone in between -- all at
Simply put, here is my position on all this.
First: The increasing
diversity of our field is an unalloyed good. There is nothing at all
wrong with it.
Second: This ongoing discussion about the field and how
it treats all its members -- a discussion instigated and driven by all
these newcomers -- is likewise an unalloyed good. There is nothing at
all wrong with it. It is the necessary growing pains of a field moving
from awkward adolescence into maturity.
And if you're still feeling
bruised and resentful and don't understand where all this unrest, this
agitation, this backlash is coming from, may I suggest that you re-read,
as I just did, Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from the Birmingham, Ala., jail. It was addressed to you, to me, to us.