Yoon Ha Lee

I used to think that sf/f writers and editors were angels.

Well, that isn’t literally true. What is true, however, is that I imagined that the sf/f community was welcoming to chromatic people. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that this is not necessarily the case.

When I learned of Mr. Sanders’ derogatory remark about Muslims, I was appalled. I was not willing to stand by in the face of a religious slur, so I removed the link to my Helix story from my LJ and explained why. Then, to match deeds to words, I asked Mr. Sanders if he would be willing to remove my story from Helix, again explaining why.

In another world, Mr. Sanders would have graciously declined (as was his right under the contract) or graciously accepted. I wish we existed in that world. Alas, that’s not the response I received. I’m all right with his contention that the story “never did make any sense,” but saddened by his assertion that he only accepted the story to please my fans and because “(notorious bigot that I am) I was trying to get more work by non-Caucasian writers.”

Folks, there are good ways to encourage diversity and there are bad ways to encourage diversity. Providing a venue welcoming to those who are underrepresented in sf/f is one thing. Accepting a chromatic person’s work solely because zie is chromatic, regardless of the quality of zir work, is insulting. And implying that we lack the skill to succeed except through “affirmative action” is worse.

I don’t know what Mr. Sanders’ views actually are, but I say if it quacks like a duck and acts like a duck, it might as well be a duck. I’m sorry to leave a magazine I had enjoyed on account of its editor’s acts of bigotry, but the alternative is to stand by and be silent–be silenced–and I won’t do that.