Theodore Beale, racist asshat (and not embarrassed by it)

I recently highlighted NK Jemisin’s speech in Australia, which pointed out the disgusting degree of racism still common in the US. One small part of the speech noted a remarkable recent occurence.

…the membership of SFWA also recently voted in a new president. There were two candidates — one of whom was a self-described misogynist, racist, anti-Semite, and a few other flavors of asshole. In this election he lost by a landslide… but he still earned ten percent of the vote.

It was clear who she was talking about: flaming hatemonger and regressive thug Theodore Beale, who also goes by the name Vox Day. Not a good person, a really nasty, unstable, vicious wackaloon. And of course, Vox Day noticed and flew into a furious snit, demanding apologies and threatening lawsuits, because he’s so annoyed at being called a racist.

So he wrote a post denying the accusations and making his demands. He also insists that he can’t be kicked out of the Science Fiction Writers of America because he’s a paid-up lifetime member.

If you go to his page now, here’s a sample of what you’ll find.

Reality isn’t racist, Mr. Sanford. Neither is history. They simply are. And you can’t escape the fact that Ms Jemisin lied about me and about the state laws of Texas and Florida. As some of my Australian readers have already pointed out, Ms Jemisin has no idea what she’s talking about concerning Australian race relations either.

Oh, that doesn’t sound so angry or racist, you may be thinking. But what you’re seeing there is the stripped-down, cleaned-up version of his original racist rant, probably revised when he realized that threatening lawsuits for being called a racist while flinging racist insults was probably not a wise idea.

Fortunately, screen shots of the original tirade were captured. It’s rather different. Another short excerpt from the ugly:

So, perhaps their assertions should be taken with at least a small grain of salt. And it should be obvious that, being a libertarian, I am not actively attempting to take away anyone’s “most basic rights”. Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do view her as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious reason that she is not.

She is lying about the laws in Texas and Florida too. The laws are not there to let whites “just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence,” those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend themselves by shooting people, like her, who are savages engaged in attacking white people.

Keep in mind that Jemisin is black. Here’s Theodore Beale coming right out and saying that while she’s human, she’s not fully equal to a white man, himself (and please, his invocation of “genetic science” is reeking bullshit). And then he says that the racist “stand your ground” laws some states have in place are there to protect white people like him from savages like her.

Or how about this?

Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support.

Racist as hell.

Hmm. Why do you think he felt it necessary to cut that kind of racist noise out of his post?

There is now a rising swell of people calling for Beale’s expulsion from the SFWA (and apparently there are provisions within the organizations by-laws that allow for that). It sounds like a good idea to me. Remember, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept, and Beale certainly is setting a low standard. I’m surprised they’ve let him poison the organization for so long.

Then comes the tricky question. What about the 10% who actually voted for that turd?

Oh, wait, I didn’t dig deep enough into the sewer. Beale did not edit his complaint; he posted a cleaned-up version for circulation. The racist rant is still online in all of its feculent glory! The man has no shame at all.

Non-eurocentric science fiction & fantasy?

It exists! The LA Times gives a brief introduction to genre fiction that breaks out of the mold of pale elves and macho engineers. It gives a few well-regarded names (including NK Jemisin, who was mentioned here the other day) to get everyone started.

Now…I can afford to buy these books, and I have my iPad that lets me get them instantly, but does anyone have some spare time they can give me so I can read them?

Related news! This kickstarter was funded in 30 seconds: they propose creating a line of 28mm SF&F miniatures for gaming…featuring all women characters. They’re not perfect — a few of their examples succumb to the bared midriff trope, or accentuate the cleavage, and why do they keep referring to the figures as “girls” in the video? — but it’s a step in the right direction.

I don’t want to hear about it, though. I used to paint miniatures as a hobby…35 years ago. I did a little bit of it again when the kids were growing up, showing them how to drybrush the little guys they used in their games. It was fun, but I don’t have time to read all the books I want to devour, so I can’t afford to get hooked on another hobby now!

Dealing with the ten percent

NK Jemisin is an American writer who was in Australia to give a speech. The context: she’s a black American woman in Australia with some trepidation — Australia has a bit of a reputation for racism, I’m sorry to say. Even when I visited the place, there were a couple of instances of casual racism as we were touring the cities (not within the atheist convention I was attending, I am quick to add) that left me a bit gobsmacked, and I’m your standard oblivious white man. But before you think this is an Australia-bashing occasion, read the speech.

Now. Before you tar and feather me, let me tell you something else I’ve come to understand in the past three days. Australia may not be the safest place for someone who looks like me… but it’s trying to become safer. And Australia may have classified the peoples of the Koorie and other nations as “fauna” until very recently, but Australia has also made tremendous strides lately in rectifying this error. I’ve listened in fascination to the Acknowledgements of Country made at nearly every public event I’ve attended since I’ve been here. I’ve marveled that indigenous languages are offered as courses for study at some local universities. I am awed that you don’t shove all of your indigenous history into a single museum, where it’s easy for people not of that culture to avoid or ignore, because that’s what happens in the US. So as horrified as I am by the nastier details of Australian history… I am also heartened, astonished, inspired, by the Australian present. You’ve still got a long way to go before Reconciliation is complete, but then again, you’ve started down that path. You’re trying.

I want you to understand: what you’ve done? It will never happen in my country. Not in my lifetime, at least. Right now American politicians are doing their best to roll back voting rights won during our own Civil Rights movement. They are putting in place educational “reforms” which disproportionately have a negative impact on black and brown and poor white kids, and will essentially help to solidify a permanent underclass. Right now there are laws in places like Florida and Texas which are intended to make it essentially legal for white people to just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence. So: admitting that the land we live on was stolen from hundreds of other nations and peoples? Acknowledging that the prosperity the United States enjoys was bought with blood? That’s a pipe dream.

Ouch. It’s true: Americans can be masters of denial. Didn’t we fix all the racism with the Civil War? Or was it the Reconstruction? Or maybe the Civil Rights Movement. Anyway, it’s not a problem anymore. The Republican Party isn’t profoundly racist at all, nor is the rest of the country. I can’t see any problems with my eyes closed, anyway.

She’s not done. She then proceeds to chastise science fiction fans.

For the past few days I’ve also been observing a “kerfuffle”, as some call it, in reaction to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ of America’s latest professional journal, the Bulletin. Some of you may also have been following the discussion; hopefully not all of you. To summarize: two of the genre’s most venerable white male writers made some comments in a series of recent articles which have been decried as sexist and racist by most of the organization’s membership. Now, to put this in context: the membership of SFWA also recently voted in a new president. There were two candidates — one of whom was a self-described misogynist, racist, anti-Semite, and a few other flavors of asshole. In this election he lost by a landslide… but he still earned ten percent of the vote. SFWA is small; only about 500 people voted in total, so we’re talking less than 50 people. But scale up again. Imagine if ten percent of this country’s population was busy making active efforts to take away not mere privileges, not even dignity, but your most basic rights. Imagine if ten percent of the people you interacted with, on a daily basis, did not regard you as human.

Just ten percent. But such a ten percent.

And beyond that ten percent are the silent majority — the great unmeasured mass of enablers. These are the folks who don’t object to the treatment of women as human beings, and who may even have the odd black or gay friend that they genuinely like. However, when the ten percent starts up in their frothing rage, these are the people who say nothing in response. When women and other marginalized groups respond with anger to the hatred of the ten percent, these are the people who do not support them, and in fact suggest that maybe they’re overreacting. When they read a novel set in a human society which contains only one or two female characters, these are the people who don’t decry this as implausible. Or worse, they simply don’t notice. These are the people who successfully campaigned for Star Trek to return to television after 25 years, but have no intention of campaigning for Roddenberry’s vision to be complete, with gay characters joining the rainbow brigade on the bridge. These are the people who gleefully nitpick the scientific plausibility of stopping a volcano with “cold fusion”, yet who fail to notice that an author has written a future earth in which somehow seventeen percent of the human race dominates ninety percent of the characterization.

That ten percent seems to be a problem everywhere: politics, religion, science fiction, atheism.