Friday, January 3, 2020

RWA and the Diversity (Maybe) Apocalypse

Like Jeffe, my brain has been largely consumed by the conflict, hurt, and brokenness that appears to be the much-loved national organization of romance writers - and org I *thought* was actually committed to diversity and inclusion.

The past weeks have disabused a lot of people of that notion. Stay away from the Facebook page. I'm told it's a cesspool of people celebrating the fact that a huge number of marginalized authors no longer feel safe and have left RWA. It's bad. The moniker being tossed around online is no longer 'Romance Writers of America'. It's 'Racist Writers of America'. That's hard to swallow. Really hard. And I hate it. I hate that people who've felt ignored and hurt for so long have suffered, for them, what amounts to a mortal blow. All that work. All that trust. Shattered. Jeffe offers up good timeline tweets that sum up the issues, though as you pick a hashtag to dig into, you'll find the pool of gross goes much deeper.

So now what?

What's a neuro-atypical, CIS het-presenting white woman like me gonna do with that? Whelp. I figure it this way. White women made this mess. I'm here to be on the clean up crew. I can stare my privilege straight in the eye and use it as a crow bar. If boards need voting in or out to muck the most egregious offenses and offenders out of the organization, I'm good with it. Author Keri Stevens is doing a group read of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo on Twitter (it's her pinned post on her profile - find it here.) I'm joining in on that so I can dig into the dark places in my own psyche where unexamined attitudes and behaviors may need eviction.

It's a new year. We most of us contemplate how to become better humans at this time of year. This is my first step. Get after cleaning up this mess, if it's possible. We've seen it happen. SFWA's been through this before us. As John Scalzi (I was gonna link you to the tweet, but you know, this dude is a riot so if you aren't already following him, for shame. Fix that.) so rightly pointed out, the way forward was to kick out the racists. Which is the exact opposite of what RWA has done. So. We'll see. The work will be hard. It may fail. I only know I have to be here to try.