A couple of years ago, the online zine Expanded Horizons published a short piece of fiction that I’m immensely proud of, entitled “Conjuring Shadows.” The story is about a transgender conjure-woman in the Harlem Renaissance. Expanded Horizon’s mission statement is this:
The mission of this webzine is to increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented. We feature speculative fiction stories and artwork, as well as essays about speculative fiction and fandom from diverse points of view.
So that is my dog in the current fight.
I hate drama. I really, really do. It’s toxic to me. I don’t like confrontation. But there are times when you have to take a stand. Every now and then in the speculative fiction world, some person will write an article about how Diversity/Political Correctness etc. is horrible. They think they’re taking a stand against didactic Aesop-styled fiction. What they are really doing is dog-whistling, save that the dog-whistle is as loud as a klaxon.
What I, and other minorities hear is: “You don’t write good fiction,” or “Why are black/gay/feminist/trans people harshing my squee?” Is it any wonder that POC don’t go to cons? I’ve pretty much stopped going to cons BECAUSE of the lack of diversity. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. THAT is the effect of these jeremiads.