Signal Boosting

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.

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November 14, 2014

Lovely readers! You are all readers, yes? Yes!

I’ve been talking with friends privately about the current discussion in SFF fandom about Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew and trying to get a handle on it. I’m not directly affected by the abuse, but I know people who were and my heart aches for the damage both to them and to our wider community. The last thing anyone wants to read is another essay, so I just have one thing I really want to say.

I know there’s been a lot of argument about whether or not a vicious review is abusive if it doesn’t contain specific threats and personal attacks. I’m going to say that when a reviewer’s body of work is notable primarily because of their tendency to hurl specific threats and personal attacks against people, the fact that they choose not to indulge this predilection in every single one of their reviews does not mean that there was an absence of a threat.  If we are so used to this type of destructive speech that we are willing to find its momentary absence an indication that a person is not abusive or threatening–perhaps we are doing it wrong.

In other words, I’m not going to parse which reviews were abusive or threatening and which ones weren’t. Seems to me that it’s not on me to decide. There are no “deserving” victims here.  Anyone who believes that needs to rethink their life choices.

So, in that spirit, I have compiled a completely incomplete list of links to works by some of the authors affected.

Read. Decide for yourself.

I didn’t do this on purpose, but I notice that  38% of the authors listed above are PoC. This is disproportionate to their overall representation in the field (which needs to change! We need diverse books!).

I also want to take this moment to signal boost SAFE, a PoC-led place for people to gather and talk about what’s been going on. I reached out to Tade Thompson, owner of the site, to clarify who was welcome to comment and he told me the following: “We’re not screening for race, we’re screening for bile.”

I would urge non-PoC to be respectful of the space and of the need for PoC to have a place where their voices are centered. Think once, twice, three times before commenting on the first post; however, there is a second post which is explicitly open to all targets of Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew. If you were not a target, think about whether or not your participation at SAFE is appropriate (hint: it’s not).

As for comments on this post: I’m leaving them open, but I will be moderating heavily.

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Words of Wisdom

"It's chaos, be kind."
Michelle McNamara