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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is it racist if...

This is not to start a fight, it's to address a topic that comes up regular on writing forums. This is about the public lives of authors, not characters. Racism in characters is a topic for another day.

What is racism? What is sexism? At what point have you crossed a line and is it wrong?

Here's the quick and easy answer: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Before you call any group stupid (men, women, fluffy green bunnies), before you stereotype any race, shut your mouth, turn off Twitter, and walk away from the computer.

Honest to goodness, people, I've seen more racism, sexism, and religious hysteria on publishing sites than I ever wanted to know existed. I hate reading comments to a funny blog post and find half the comments insult a ethnic, racial, or religious group.

It's not funny. It's not professional. Don't do it.

You alienate readers. You alienate people you have to work with in the future.

Being African, female, or a green fluffy bunny from Mars does not mean you can't be a racist/sexist/hater. There is no get-out-of-faux-pas-free card because you belong to a minority group (or majority group).

Pretty please, don't do this on a public forum.

Don't log onto your writing group's website and rant about how all [insert random factor] are horrible and repulsive. Don't post on your FB wall that every person of [gender] is stupid and should sit down and shut up in public. Don't tell all the Tweeps on Twitter that every person who [believes something you don't] is an idiot.

That makes you a hater. It brings negative energy into the world. It brings you down. It brings them down. It's ugly. It's mean. And it's not going to do you any good unless you're running for office.

Are we all clear now?

Save the rants for your writing. In public you are a wonderful author who wants people to buy your books regardless of race, religion, creed, color, or fluffy bunny-ness.


  1. I totally agree -- "love your fellow humans, because nothing bad ever comes from love" is my M.O. -- but am wondering if there was anything specific that brought this up? Just curious...

  2. J.M. - Sadly, yes. I was researching agents and editors and ran across a professional blog for someone I was considering querying that was less than professional.

    The person might have been sarcastic, or maybe they didn't think anyone would consider it offensive, but it wasn't appropriate for a publishing-related blog.

    At the end of the day, we're all different. I just want to work with people who will respect those differences.

  3. My private reaction to a person who writes or says racist comments is "You should look in the mirror to see the idiot". My public response is to change the topic. Although, my hubby says I give "The Look" just before I do that.

    I won't even listen to comics who use racism and prejudice as a base for their humour. To me, it simply is not and never will be funny.

    Although, I do like using stereotypes applied to me. ("See the red hair - it's your warning sign" :P)