It’s starting to become quite alarming for SFWA based on the leadership they chose. I don’t believe they’ve ever had a President-of-Color in their organization, and they are consistently picking white women who want to try to speak for PoCs and harm the careers of PoCs who don’t acknowledge their leadership–or take their handouts.
My red flags for SFWA started when their last president, Cat Rambo, began viciously trying to smear me on the hate website, File 770, even though I had only had one prior (and pleasant) interaction with her as an associate editor for a project where she had a story accepted for publication. I was getting more popular at this time, and I believe many of these white women in the industry get upset when LatinX authors like myself get too big too fast and don’t “need their help”.
Every action regarding race these women do tend to be for power plays for themselves, and maintaining the establishment of white women commanding every aspect of publishing — which they do across the board from New York Publishing houses to these clubs like SFWA. They use minorities as human shields and as props rather than humans.
Ms. Rambo misused SFWA’s Twitter account to later attack me again when I privately sent her data from my blog regarding the fact that white women have a SEVERE advantage over others in short story markets. Instead of helping a PoC author get the word out, she blasted me. SFWA’s double standard became apparent again as they allowed Rambo to do this without censure when just a few years later they banned another PoC, and Native American activist Vox Day from their club for doing similar. No apologies to Mr. Day were issued.
Later, SFWA would use Cat Rambo’s personal feud with me as an excuse why I could not be allowed into SFWA, again holding a non-white author to different standards than anyone else in the club have to abide by.
I have attempted to rectify the situation with Ms. Rambo several times as it is the Christian thing to do, but she stubbornly and perhaps racistly continues her angry rage at me which all stems from her instigating attacks on me.
Kowal was supposed to represent something different than what had gone on with SFWA for years, which is why I endorsed her candidacy for president. I thought she would reverse the insanely bigoted decisions of Rambo, especially as Ms. Kowal has before she ascended to power, endorsed my books on her blog multiple times, and communicated with me in private about real issues facing the industry and conventions. She seemed to be someone who would listen.
Once she became SFWA President and attained her white-power that comes with the presidency, it all changed. She no longer spoke with me, maintained the same extra standards above and beyond qualification for the club which white authors do not have to hold to, and has made a series of bizarre moves with SFWA where it appears she is trying to enslave the next generation of PoC authors to dependence on her.
Yesterday, SFWA announced a racist — and illegal via several Civil Rights statutes — action in which if you are a member of a certain race, you do not have to pay SFWA dues nor do you have to pay to attend their convention. Moreover, the California Incorporated SFWA announced they would be giving money from their coffers to causes which have nothing to do with club members nor science fiction.
As a corporation, SFWA has to abide by rules which do not discriminate via race, gender, religion, etc. And yet with their denying my entry when I duly qualify, and now these initiatives, they are showing that they do not respect minority authors at all, but view us as slaves who are too poor to be able to handle business as their “proper” white authors like Mary do, and also they believe we are too stupid to be able to handle our own charitable causes or have our own opinions on public matters which are different than what Mary or Cat (both white women) advocate for.
The response has been incredible. White authors are championing the cause, of course, but PoC authors like myself are condemning it across the internet:
But the most bizarre is Kowal’s own reaction to a comment by a LatinX man who voiced his favor of equality. She decided to swear at him and call him nasty names because he dared have an opinion different than her white leadership offered on the matter:
The facts are in, and they look very bad for Ms. Kowal.
I recommend she step down from SFWA leadership and appoint a PoC in her stead who will guide SFWA in matters only someone who doesn’t try to culturally appropriate a cause would do. What Mary Robinette Kowal has done these last 24 hours and during her tenure of leadership of SFWA d is deplorable and irredeemable and must be disavowed by any non-racists.
Is this because of her inherent, systemic, underlying racism? I will let you decide based on what you see here. But this is definitely a very bad look for SFWA.
Phink Floyd says
John, this was awesome. Thank you for pointing out the racists!
Jon Del Arroz says
Someone has to take a stand against systemic racism!
cylindrical crown says
As Kowal is finding out, White people are the new Palestinians.
There’s a good book out of the Brookings Institution (I believe) called “Dream Hoarders”. It details the ways in which left ‘liberals’ talk openly about helping minorities, while simultaneously making sure that they have their claws firmly sunk into college admissions, high paying careers, etc. It seems to be that they wish to fight ‘oppression’ by having the government make everyone wealthy, at no cost to their own pocketbook, careers, or progeny.
John Van Stry says
Damn, I had no idea she was so racist.
You’d think she’d know better.
Chad Olson says
I like the dash of humor in this post. To that I say “heh”!
A Sci-fi Reader says
I am incredibly grateful to MRK & Mur Lafferty in particular.
I used to regularly listen to Mur’s podcast, escapepod et al and occasionally read/listened to Kowal. Don’t judge – trust me – I know. In my defence, Sci-fi podcasts & channels on YouTube etc weren’t very common back then.
Then the “Puppies” commenced and these women were so savagely negative towards “these two horrible, horrible men” that I had to see what was going on for myself. Surely N O B O D Y could be T H A T bad.
I unexpectedly discovered Larry, Vox, Brad, Sarah, John & the rest of you, and realised that I was, in fact, completely normal. The lunatics had indeed, over-run the asylum. I was a mad consumer of sci-fi and had never heard of any of you or seen your work previously.
So I am extremely grateful to MRK & Mur, because without them and their vicious, feminine slander, I’d have never found real sci-fi again. Keep up the outstanding work – PLEASE ! ! ! ! !
Xavier Basora says
Kowal is one of those pernicious species of white woman who patronizes minorities as too stupid, too infantile and too brainwashed to know their best interest
Thus she assumes the mantle of the white savior partaking in la mission civilsatrice to lead the minorites to their utopia as they fawn over her gravitas, bask in her presence and sing odes to her benevolence.
It’s so cringe inducing.
To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, ‘It’s the white woman’s burden.’ Well, white women of a certain socio-economic political background that is.
Dave Truesdale says
Someone tell Kowal minorities aren’t the puppets she plays with in her spare time. From her wiki page: “She graduated with a degree in Art Education with a minor in theater, and began work as a professional puppeteer in 1989.”
Of course you should know, POC are used to make these whites validated. Now they are going to come to you, with a proposition that might sound good but basically says “get back to the plantation boy.”
Very important and brave, Jon. We need more LatinX author like you standing up to the bigots who run publishing monopoly.
Woelf Dietrich says
I am 2% Congolese myself and I have to say the organization’s paternalistic racism hurts me deeply. They think POC are not clever enough or able enough to rely on their own faculties. It is a slap in the face is what it is! Such patronizing platitudes.
I am further perturbed by Kowal’s language. it is explicit and cruel. I was shocked when I discovered she’s the president of the SFWA. Maybe my culture is just different but one would not expect such language from some in such a high position of authority. It’s quite intimidating.
Jon Del Arroz says
All we can do is listen and feel your struggle and pain!
Woelf Dietrich says