There’s a call in certain corners of the internet for disavowals from people on the Sad Puppies slate. Here’s mine:
I disavow racism wherever I find it.
Calling someone a half-savage because of race? I disavow it. Denying someone’s ethnicity and heritage because that makes it easier to stereotype them as white oppressors? I disavow it. Calling a whole slate racist because of someone who’s not even on it or because some of the people are white? I disavow it.
My characters come from multiple races and ethnicities because they’re drawn from the vast diversity of the world around me. I write them as faithfully and authentically as I can. If I should stumble, my hope is that the world will correct me when needed and accept an apology when offered.
I disavow sexism.
My dyslexia went undiagnosed until college because my teachers attributed my struggles with math to my gender. “She doesn’t do well in math because she’s a girl. We don’t think she should take BASIC. She should try Home Ec instead.”
I write well-rounded, believable characters. Some of those characters are male. Some of those characters are female. Some are good; some are bad. Some are strong; some are weak. Giving the hot babe to a male character as a reward or a quest token? I disavow it. Making men into villains, in fiction or in the real world, simply because they’re men? I disavow it. #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen
I disavow homophobia.
I support gay rights and marriage equality. My body of work is small, but it includes positively written gay and lesbian characters. Some of that work isn’t out yet, but I put gay and lesbian characters in my work because they belong there and they deserve to be there. They’re part of this world. They’re part of my world, and they’re part of the worlds I create.
I disavow religious discrimination.
I support faith and non-faith. Marginalizing an author for his or her Islamic faith? I disavow it. Marginalizing an author for his or her Christian (including Mormon) faith? I disavow it.
I disavow political litmus tests.
I don’t care whether an author’s politics are right, left, center or upside down. If their work is good and suits my taste, I’ll buy it and read it. Shunning an author or a group of fans because their political views are different from my own? I disavow it.
I disavow judging a group based on the actions of a few.
I form my opinions of people and of creative works on an individual basis, based on the work itself or what the individual has said or done. Guilt by association? I disavow it.
I disavow vitriol and kerfuffles on the internet.
I loathe internet drama. I almost said no to Sad Puppies because I knew drama would follow. There is vitriol on both sides, and I disavow it. I will not take part in the vitriol, and I will do what I can to keep the kerfuffle to a minimum.
Working for change? I avow and affirm it.
I said yes to Sad Puppies this year because I saw the seeds of change. I saw an organizer who wanted to broaden the slate. Sad Puppies includes greater political variety, more women, more people of color and more non-het writers than it ever has before, and I wanted to support that growth.
Change comes in baby steps. Is Sad Puppies as diverse or inclusive as I’d like it to be? No, not yet, but I said yes in support of that first baby step. My view is that when someone makes a good faith effort to be more ecumenical, when someone reaches across the aisle and extends a hand to the other side, someone has to cross over. Insularity breeds more insularity. Brad made a gesture, and I wanted to support it.
Being the change you want to see in the world? I avow and affirm it.
*A note about comments: they’re moderated, which means this is a dictatorship. Whether or not it’s a benevolent dictatorship depends on the nature of the comment. 😉