Skin Deep

10 Apr
April 10, 2015

That Sad Puppies thing is still ongoing, drawing even George RR Martin into the fray. It looks set to continue for a while, this fight. And it’ll get uglier before it gets better, no doubt.

I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about it today. She mentioned how she’d tweeted an article about the Hugos and, as is par for the course with these kinds of things these days, some rando looking for a fight quickly found her and engaged her in “debate”.

And there was a point this guy made, one similar to what we saw deployed in GamerGate’s NotYourShield campaign. It goes like this: “We’re not against diversity! How can you possibly say that?!? Look here, we have black writers, interracial marriages, female writers etc! We’re diverse!”

The flaw in this argument is that the anti-diversity part is not just about who creates the work but also about what they’re creating. You can be a black lesbian author, no problem, but don’t write a story that’s an allegory for racism and homophobia! Don’t discuss gender roles in video games! And certainly don’t give those kinds of stories a bunch of awards!!! That’s too much, intolerable. They can only have won by cheating. Something must be done.

You must conform to the *tastes* of these groups, tastes which represent, primarily, white conservative males.

Both groups will happily welcome women, homosexuals, gay people, people of colour, transexuals, whoever into their ranks. Just don’t go writing about issues that specifically concern those groups. Don’t give your awards to fiction that scathingly critiques capitalism and nationalism. Don’t evaluate video games through a feminist lens. Don’t point out that existing media is problematic.

Just be a fan, that’s ok, that’s safe.

Maybe, maybe we’ll let you talk about those issues, just a bit, just over in that corner over there. Where it can be safely ignored. But don’t talk too much, don’t be too loud, don’t take center stage, don’t trespass into our domain.

It’s skin-deep diversity, deployed as a smokescreen, a shield.

Don’t be fooled.

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