I’m betting some of you saw what JK Rowling said about Donald Trump. Link attached for rock dwellers. Synopsis to follow for people who fear links. I fear links. More Link. But only if I decided to kidnap Zelda.
There is a petition going around to ban Trump from the UK. There are 500,000 signatures. They call him a bigot spreading hate.To be fair, most people believe this through how the media portrays him and half of what he’s said he’s never said. He’s still not a good guy. As a libertarian/conservative I’m not voting for him. But let’s be honest, none of our options are exactly noteworthy.
Anyway, despite this petition, despite Rowling’s general dislike of Trump, she said let him in. Let him visit the UK and say what he wants to. Why? Because the same principles defending Trump’s speech defends Rowling’s ability to call him a hate-mongering bigot. Because if Trump cannot say what he’s thinking, when will Rowling be told she cannot say what she is thinking? It’s easy to be blinded by this when you’re in the majority. It’s easy to whittle down the majority when they won’t defend others.
In a writing group they posted something on how we need more diversity in our writing. Everything is white folk, and we need to liven it up! White folk for miles. Ironically being preached by white folk.
I stuck my neck out. It’s a false issue. Who cares if the characters in a cowboy romance in Texas consists of all white people? Who cares if there’s a murder mystery with white people? Who cares?
Everyone attacks. These are fun attacks too. Because you stand up for that side of the spectrum, everyone drops down that you’re a hateful bigot who doesn’t care about diversity. Oh ho ho ho. Suck my wiener schnitzel (this isn’t even a sausage, but I really like the word and it’s absolutely delicious).
The thing is my first novel is inspired by the Middle East. They’re all Middle Eastern (aside from the blackamoor and delven). The third book is inspired by India, with the fourth inspired by Eastern Asia. There are only white folk in the second book which is inspired by the Norse.
So when I throw this down to their claims of I’m not diverse, they look at me funny. Or their screens. I imagine they look at it funny anyway. Then they ask, “Why are you defending this, you’re already using diversity?”
You know the problem? If I don’t use diversity I’m racist. If I do, I’m guilty of cultural appropriation. There is no win. And if I use diversity today, what if I don’t use it tomorrow?
More to the point: why am I telling someone else how to write their story?
We live in a society that if it’s not your opinion, if it’s not your issue, you must step aside and let the village mob burn them at the stake. You can’t have the forethought to think, “Well it’s them today, but who will it be tomorrow?”
A history lesson. Two actually, but we’ll start with one. Hitler started with the Jews. The deformed. The blacks. The church sat back and said, “At least it’s not us.” Despite society pushing that Hitler was Christian, he loathed religion. His closest advisers wrote about his disdain for Christianity. In the final days, just before the war finished? He started coming for those priests and pastors. When the Christians cried out for help, they were left looking around, realizing there was no one left to help them.
That’s not a jab at Christians. It’s a jab at weakness in the face of evil, and how we’re reliving it. We look at the people being silenced and whisper, “Glad I’m not that guy,” before walking away. One day it will be us. One day writers will be looking at an older world.
Which leads into the second history lesson. I’ve told this one before. I’m a big fan of it.
John Stubbs. I really hope he had a sense of humor, which it sounded like he did, so that at least he could take some pleasure from his horrid state. I mean, before he died many years later. This story happened in 1579.
Stubbs criticized Queen Elizabeth of England. In retribution, she had his hand cut off. What makes me think he was a man of humor is his pun, “Pray for me now that my calamity is at hand.” Either way, the man suffered (nearly execution), for speaking his mind. Just as Socrates did. Just as many others have.
We are turning into that world, and there are no Allies to help revert us. We are the Allies. We are the last defense for actual freedom of speech, and if we do not stand up for those we disagree with, it will only be a matter of time until we are the ones disagreed with.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.