So once again, SFWA has an explosion on its hands – in this case, Theodore Beale/Vox Day has used SFWA’s writer-promotion Twitter account to promote a virulently racist attack on N.K. Jemisin, a writer of colour, who is also a SFWA member.
There are two points which need to be made here. First, SFWA has been stained yet again by virulent sexism and racism. SFWA removed the tweet as soon as they saw it; but more importantly, they now need to remove Theodore Beale.
That’s because it is time to stop referring to Mr. Beale as a simple racist. Mr. Beale is, absolutely, a racist. He’s also overtly and virulently misogynistic – from his blogging, it’s clear that he really hates women, except as subservient breeding objects – and proudly homophobic.
But racist… racist does not go far enough.
Theodore Beale is a white supremacist.
It’s a loaded term, but correct, and should be used, because it carries real weight. In this one particular post, which Amal El-Mohtar has captured in screenshot form, Mr. Beale asserts Africans are not capable of building a civilisation. He asserts that stand-your-ground laws – which are applied in notoriously racist fashion – are necessary and good, to allow “whites [to] defend their lives and their property from people, like [Ms. Jemisin], who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.” Note that Ms. Jemisin merely wrote a column, but is invoked specifically; one may read into this what one wishes. He declares Ms. Jemisin to be an “educated, but ignorant, savage;” and that because of her race, she can be nothing but that. And he asserts that non-whites – and in particular, Ms. Jemisin – are “not equally homo sapiens sapiens.”
These are not merely the language and beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan. They are that of the national socialist. And not just of the national socialist, but of the would-be slavemaster. There is not room for a sliver of onion skin between the racialist beliefs, theories, and justifications of the slavemaster, and those of Mr. Beale. So it is time to use the proper terminology: white supremacist, with all that implies.
One who got 10% of the SFWA vote for organisation president. Which brings us back, of course, to SFWA.
How much further harm is SFWA willing to allow Mr. Beale to perpetrate? I think he’s created far more than enough, myself; I suspect he will be expelled, then declare himself a martyr. That last cannot be helped; I think at this point he desires it. But after this is over, SFWA needs to realise that this is not the end of it. SFWA cannot expel Mr. Beale and consider their work done, because SFWA have become a painful embarrassment to the entire speculative-fiction community.
People are starting to delight in SFWA’s failings. Once the internet delights in your failures, you are in real trouble.
All hands on deck, SFWA. The ship – it is aflame.
Angela Highland has suggestions on how to support Ms. Jemisin with your money, and John Scalzi and several other writers have started a matching-fund for donations to the Carl Brandon Society. You may wish to consider these responses, if you, like me, are not a member of SFWA.