Something That I Guess Has To Be Said
(I am annoyed. This may come out not-great. I'm writing it anyway.)
I find it necessary to point out, as loudly and forcibly as I can, that when I write about white supremacy in historical fiction, I am not writing about the need for diversity. Nor am I writing about inclusion, or tolerance, or anything else. I am writing about the white supremacist fantasy world we have created and continue to perpetuate.
This is important for me to say because far too often, the response to my writing on this topic is to say something like "Diversity is so important in publishing." I hope it's obvious that in a million years, I would never disagree with that statement or that sentiment. But I wish it was just as obvious that I Am Not Talking About A Lack Of Diversity.
I am talking about a system, an entrenched power structure, a centuries-old pattern of violence and intimidation that we have embellished and celebrated. Hell, many of us had a sexual awakening to it.
Do you know the most important words in that last paragraph? We. Us. That is what you're breezing past when you rush to make it just about the need for diversity. We are complicit, no matter how innocently, and we have to reckon with that - with how far-reaching and world-altering it is, with how diversity is just a sliver of the work to be done - before there can be any hope of changing it.
An analogy which will hopefully help you to understand why this matters, why I'm peeved:
When we hear stories of sexism and misogyny, of men consciously and unconsciously abusing their power over women, we women know it's not just one man, one workplace, one incident. We know very well it's the way the world has been made and maintained, stacked against us to exploit and oppress and demean us - and do any of us think for an instant that the need for more female CEOs is the point? Because we have lots of those (though OF COURSE more would be great) and still we have sexual harassment, and rape, and Bret Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
When I write about the intersection of white supremacy and historical romance, I am writing about the shape of our consciously created, financially profitable fantasy world, the implications and consequences it has for real live human beings, and the responsibility of every single one of us to actively, loudly, publicly, and continually reject the wrongness of that fantasy world as it currently exists.
You don't get out of that responsibility by pointing to my writing and mumbling something about yay diversity.
Thank you and good night.