When one is starting to put themselves out there as an author, there’s a lot of advice, but one thing that I was told over and over was to not talk about politics or religion or I’d risk alienating readers. I did my best. Kind of. I filtered my Facebook so that any political stuff was only for people I consider friends. I didn’t blog about it (much), and I tried to stay as inoffensive as possible. But you know what? Fuck that shit. I am inherently political – if you define political as someone who is 100% anti-Nazi (which c’mon people? WHY IS THIS A DEBATE?). I am against the marginalization of people based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation (or lack thereof), or gender identity. If that means that you won’t read my books? Fine. I don’t think you’d like them anyway. I have diverse characters with various skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. My main character is feminist as fuck, as is the secondary female character (she’s actually way more feminist than Eleanor). If you are okay with that in a fantasy book but not in real life, then you’re part of the problem and you need to step back and examine your soul, because it is seriously lacking.
The sheer volume of discompassion (it is a word; a word I just made up, apparently) (I can do that because I’m a writer) I’ve seen in the last few days is mind-boggling and heart-breaking. If someone tells you they’re hurt, do you poke their injury and tell them it’s not that big of a deal because you’ve seen worse? No you fucking do not.
But that’s what I’m seeing. People saying that literal Nazis marching in the streets is like a physical assault are dismissed with “they have the constitutional right to march” and “Black Lives Matter is just the same as a group that says black lives don’t.”
If you honestly can’t see the difference between a group that was organized to draw attention to the disproportionate amount of police brutality perpetuated against people of color and groups that willingly associate themselves with a people who were responsible for the Holocaust in WWII and countless violent crimes against people of color, then you’re part of the fucking problem.
(And, as an aside, Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean ONLY black lives. I can’t believe we’re still having to explain this.) (Also, unless you have achromatopsia, never say “I don’t see color.” YES YOU FUCKING DO.)
I recognize that I am incredibly privileged. Probably the only visible thing about me that would result in a dip in privilege points is that I’m a woman. But I’m white. Middle class. Cis-gendered. Heterosexual. (I’m also constantly in a fight with mental illness, but I’m usually winning…not sure that’ll matter when they come for the crazies, though.) (Oh, and a pretty avowed atheist, although I’d be willing to worship the old gods if they did me a favor involving several bolts of carefully aimed lightning. Call me Zeus & Thor!)
My privilege is such that if I stay silent in the face of what’s going in the world right now – if I sit back and watch events unfold as the president of our country fails to condemn motherfucking Nazis – then I am culpable. And you know what? So are you. And every single person who’s never had to fear for their lives because of their gender identity, who’s never wondered if they’d have gotten a job if their name had been Cody, who hasn’t gone to their place of worship only to find swastikas drawn on it, who hasn’t wondered if their headwear will get them kicked off a flight. (BTW: Privilege doesn’t mean nothing bad has ever happened to you. It means that you, by virtue of your skin color, gender, sexuality, etc. got a bit of a head start. White privilege doesn’t mean you always win. I can’t believe we still have to explain that.)
I’m still figuring out how to use my privilege to the max. I’ve set up a recurring donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I will continue to call out bullshit (although I will also continue to try to not read the comments, because I can’t spend my whole life arguing with internet trolls) when I see it.
Don’t fool yourself – this is our America. This is our legacy. We have a lot of amazing things in our history, but there are so many dark things that America has done. And you don’t get to simultaneously revere a confederate war memorial and demand that black people get over slavery (because you clearly haven’t). You don’t get to claim that immigrants are destroying our country and turn around and demand that Native Americans stop fighting for water rights upstream of their reservation. You don’t get to say that there is no difference between a statue of general leading a war to keep slavery and a holocaust memorial to remember the names of those who died because of racism. If you can’t see the difference between the Statue of Liberty and the confederate flag (“they’re both history,” you say), then you have a deeply flawed judgment system. The devil doesn’t need any more fucking advocates. Nazis and people who are anti-Nazi are not the same. Free speech doesn’t mean free from consequence.
And if you got to the end of this 1000 word essay and are mad at me, then that’s fine. GTFO. My world doesn’t have room for Nazis and their apologists. I don’t want to associate with people who are okay with murdering groups of people because they’re African-American, Jewish, Hispanic, gay, Native American, Muslim, trans, or disabled. If you won’t come out and condemn the kind of rhetoric that’s emboldened so many cockroaches to crawl out of the woodwork and spew their hatred, then you are complicit and this is on you.