This Week in Racist Bullshit

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

June 14, 2013

So. This happened (note: not enough trigger warnings in the world for that link: racism and sexism and for the love of all you hold dear, don’t go into the comments). In response to N.K. Jemisin’s amazing GOH speech at Continuum where she alluded to Theodore Beale’s failed candidacy for president of SFWA.

And then Beale then deliberately used @SFWAauthors to disseminate it (there’s a process by which members of SFWA can use this Twitter account for their blog posts)–presumably to further damage the organization’s reputation:

Theodore Beale's Abuse of the SFWA Twitter Account

Theodore Beale’s Abuse of the @SFWAauthors
screenshot from my phone

This is in direct violation of SFWA policy:

Not every blog post is appropriate for @sfwaauthors. If a post is not about writing, or about fiction or publishing, do not mark it for inclusion in the @sfwaauthors twitter feed. Repeated violations of this policy will be grounds for removal from the feed. SFWA reserves the right to determine what posts are appropriate.

Marking blog posts for inclusion that include threats or personal attacks or obvious trolling will also be grounds for removal.


Amal El-Mohtar goes on to call for Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) to be expelled from SFWA based on the organization’s current set of by-laws.

I can’t say I disagree at all: he has shown repeatedly that he is not a good faith member of the organization and with this violation of policy I do not believe SFWA has any obligation to continue to allow him to be a member.

I do wish more people had felt inclined to speak up when he attacked E. Catherine Tobler a couple of weeks ago instead of collectively deciding to ignore him in the hopes that he’d go away (with a few exceptions). I do understand that at that point he hadn’t done anything to warrant expulsion from SFWA–and as I was one of those keeping silent, I’m upset with myself here as well. Private support is one thing, speaking up publicly is another.

This doesn’t work with schoolyard bullies and it doesn’t work with racist misogynist fuckmuppets like Theodore Beale.

Here’s some other people’s thoughts on the matter:

Tangental, but still important: We Have Always Been Fighting this Fight (related). In other words: this kind of shit is endemic SFF fandom and that leads directly to Foz Meadows weighing in with Reconciliation: A Response To Theodore Beale:

As members of the SFF community, there is only one acceptable response to Beale, and that is to shun him utterly; to excise him from our genre like the cancer that he is, from convention to blog to column, and to enforce that ban as thoroughly and determinedly as we are able.

Because if we don’t, our Reconciliation will mean nothing.

We will mean nothing.

If you want to take a stand against Beale’s racism, I can think of nothing better than to make a donation to either the Carl Brandon Society or Con-Or-Bust–or both. Or by buying books by writers of color, by women writers, by writers with disabilities, by QUILTBAG writers. Do your best to be an ally. Educate yourself. Apologize when you fuck up. Do what you can to make this genre–no, this community a welcoming and more diverse place. It–and you–will be better for it. I guarantee it.

And if you are a SFWA member and if you haven’t done so already, I urge you to write to the SFWA Board and to your Regional Director about this issue.

(And fans of weekly linkspam, never fear: it’ll be going up later this afternoon!)

You may also like…

Changing Things Up

Changing Things Up

Regaining a small bit of confidence in my own competence through a website redesign.

Three Years and Counting

Three Years and Counting

Falling asleep is incredibly difficult for me these days. Once I get to sleep, I'm fine, but getting there--oof. There...

Saltiness and Other Topics

Saltiness and Other Topics

Things about which I am salty, an unordered list: WordPress. They did something with one of the recent updates that...


  1. Nici

    Holy frackoly. I can’t believe they/he/she used Scalzi’s scathing, tongue-in-cheek essay about rape culture as a link to back up their claim that Scalzi called himself a rapist. Or the way it was mentioned that Neilsen Hayden (which, um, looks like a hyphenated name to me) “took his wife’s name”. And that is proof of… what?

    My husband – uber-macho, fist-throwing, wrench-turning, hard-working, blue-collar, redneck that he is – all 6’3″ and 320 beefily muscled pounds of him – took MY last name when we married. And he didn’t go halfway and stop at a hyphenated name, he ditched his last name completely for mine.

  2. Wendell McKay

    Yeah, those are pretty awful comments (and I read the ones at the Guardian, despite my better judgment). Adding Ms. Jemisin to my reading list; she was one of a few names there already, but just jumped to the front of the line. I have the luxury of finding this kind of gutter rage/fear to be kind of fascinating when brought out in the open, but also have to remember that for some people (women, folks of color) it can be deadly serious (as it theoretically is for me, but it’s probably hard for me to truly understand the visceral realities).

  3. skye

    Oh. Wow. I read some of the comments despite your warning. It’s not that I didn’t know this flavor of thought existed, it’s just that I didn’t know it had a toehold in the sci-fi community. Naive, I know.


  1. SFWA: It gets worse… | Cora Buhlert - [...] However, VD was not satisfied by spewing crap on his own blog, he also had to promote the post…
  2. A Timeline of the 2013 SFWA Controversies - [...]  This Week in Racist Bullshit [...]


Words of Wisdom

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