Boy oh boy, the romance industry is showing its messy ass again. 2019 just can’t leave anything alone. I’m not going to recap RWA’s shady committee re-orgs and capitulation to white supremacy and silencing of other voices. Others, with far more pain and investment have told the story better and more meaningfully than I can. Google them, starting with Courtney Milan and Alyssa Cole (and racefail 09 while you’re at it because it ain’t just a romance problem).
I will speak as an outsider who’s working on becoming a peer. I won’t pretend to be mystified as to why RWA is choosing hatred over profits, evolving along with their readership, and all the good stories that can come from inclusive, supportive, and open-minded environment. Trump’s presidency has shown us over and over how willing some are to shoot themselves in the foot so long as the bullet grazes those they hate.
I won’t pretend to be mystified why one marginalized group (women) exclude, silence and punish other marginalized groups. I won’t pretend to be mystified as to why romancelandia seems to prefer henpecking each other’s careers and aspirations rather than hacking away at the shitty reality of romance being simultaneously the best selling and least respected fiction category.
I do plan to be quite loud about every one of those things being squelching, liquidy bullshit. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. I like to think it’s the weight of people gathering towards righteous causes that aids the bend. And I like thinking that the arc never stops expanding but elongates along with broader thinking. Justice, respect, inclusivity, supportiveness isn’t a goal; it’s a commitment. Ongoing as love, a ceaseless doing right by others.
And so, I re-commit. To buying and reading stories by many voices. To supporting and boosting those stories. To inclusivity in my own stories. To calling out “Fucking racist messes”. To demanding better from organizations and withdrawing dues, free labor and support from the ones who refuse to do better. To creating and maintaining expectations of better from myself, those I beta read, and those in writer communities.