shweta_narayan (shweta_narayan) wrote,

The conclusion I'm coming to wrt. the SFPA

Two different things have been bothering me a great deal about the SFPA lately. I'd been posting about them under f-lock to give dkolodji time to respond to me in private, but the public discussion/argument has gotten to a point where I don't feel comfortable with the semblance of silence.

Thing the first: two consecutive issues of Star*Line, the SFPA's official newsletter, have contained blatantly racist poems. Now, I'm certain that neither is intentionally racist. This doesn't fix the problem, which (to me) is that these got past the editor of Star*Line, and that racist work was therefore shoved into my space. I do not choose to subscribe to Star*Line. It gets sent to me. Certainly I could choose not to read it, as it seems several other people do, but that's not exactly a solution. I object to being sent racist poetry.

Thing the second: I object to Stephen Wilson's inclusion on the SFPA Hallowe'en page. I have stated my objection to the SFPA promoting someone who implied that he desired to carry out sexualized violence against another member, then attempted to pass it off as a joke, and has not apologized or agreed to modify his behaviour in any way, to both dkolodji and patchwork_prose.

The fact that the SFPA is promoting this person, putting his poetry on the official site, leaves me upset enough that I am unable to enjoy the other poems on the Hallowe'en page.

Now, I (and others) have apparently made some people very angry by objecting to these things. It seems that (at least in mtentchoff's world) letting the SFPA President and one's lj f-list know that one objects is exactly the same thing as an attack, and saying you think the SFPA shouldn't promote Wilson given what he's done is the same thing as being Big Brother. (And anyone familiar with the way these things go will already know that I've heard a lot about how much poor Stephen Wilson is suffering about this, and how long is he going to be punished (though I said nothing about punishment) -- and nothing about how the member he targeted is suffering or about her safe space.)

There is positive movement -- there's work towards creating a safe and moderated SFPA space. And certainly if that goes through, I'll feel safer dealing with the SFPA, and perhaps it'll be possible to have productive discussions about issues that we disagree with.

But really, what's the point?

An organization that represents me should not be actively promoting things I find abhorrent. The reasonable conclusion is that the SFPA does not, in fact, represent me.

So the real issue here is not that I'm trying to fix a few problems in a community that really is at heart mine. It's that I'm trying to affect a community that does not in fact share my values, and has no overall interest in doing so. The issue is that I should not be an SFPA member.

I have some things in common with this community, and would like to maintain civil discourse if possible -- we all love spec poetry, after all. But trying to explain my issues with misogyny and racism to people who fundamentally do not want to know is a waste of my extremely limited resources. It's simply not productive.

So for that side of things -- I ought to be finding my own community. People who agree on the basics, and can argue about the implementation. Not people who don't actually agree that objectifying women bad, or claiming that a woman argues with you 'cause she has a crush on you bad, or "oriental girl dances" bad. People who do not at base believe that I have a right to exist with as much dignity as they claim for themselves... are not my people.



I do love spec poetry. I do want to promote spec poetry. I do want healthy argument and criticism and discussion to exist around it. I think it matters.
And on that count, I want to be able to nominate and vote in the Rhyslings. And I want my money to help produce the anthology.

But if that is all I have in common with the majority of the SFPA membership, and I want to find my own community -- what's the solution?
Tags: racism, sexism, sfpa, thinking
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