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View Full Version : Controversy in the jury for the HWA's Bram Stoker Awards.



ShaunHorton
04-14-2016, 05:44 AM
So, it seems to have come out that one of the people on the jury for the HWA's Bram Stoker Awards is a proud white supremacist, David A. Riley. This has caused a lot of discussion among members, many of whom are calling for him to be removed from the jury. So far, the HWA board has refuted that idea.

Today, they posted this to explain their reasoning.


“The HWA does not support discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on political views. Not only is this form of discrimination specifically illegal in a number of U.S. states, HWA’s Board of Trustees also does not believe it’s in keeping with our principle of supporting and practicing freedom of expression. In specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.”

Personally, I don't think a position of white supremacy is a political view, but meh. Still, to believe that someone who holds the view that a specific race is superior to all others, will not vote for works in line with that view is just not realistic in my opinion.

There's a pretty heavy conversation going on, on HWA's Facebook page, with the majority calling for him to be removed. Supposedly, the board is keeping track of the comments, but we'll see.

Also, Brian Keene had a few things to say about the issue. (http://www.briankeene.com/2016/04/13/why-and-when-i-will-begin-boycotting-the-hwa/)

Jamesaritchie
04-14-2016, 10:03 AM
So, it seems to have come out that one of the people on the jury for the HWA's Bram Stoker Awards is a proud white supremacist, David A. Riley. This has caused a lot of discussion among members, many of whom are calling for him to be removed from the jury. So far, the HWA board has refuted that idea.

Today, they posted this to explain their reasoning.



Personally, I don't think a position of white supremacy is a political view, but meh. Still, to believe that someone who holds the view that a specific race is superior to all others, will not vote for works in line with that view is just not realistic in my opinion.

There's a pretty heavy conversation going on, on HWA's Facebook page, with the majority calling for him to be removed. Supposedly, the board is keeping track of the comments, but we'll see.

Also, Brian Keene had a few things to say about the issue. (http://www.briankeene.com/2016/04/13/why-and-when-i-will-begin-boycotting-the-hwa/)


We are all biased, and to some degree, our biases always comes through in whatever we do. But I see no reason to think Riley can't control his bias to the same extent we all do. You don't like his views. He almost certainly does not like your. So why should his voting be censored, but not yours. BOTH of you should put aside as much bias as possible when voting on such things as awards, and to say you can do this, but he can't, is simply wrong.

Where do you draw the lone. When you start censoring people because they believe something you do not, something you call evil, but they believe is not evil, where do you stop? What happens when the numbers get reversed, and your view fall into the minority?

Those who try to censor other because of their beliefs scare me a thousand time more than the beliefs of the person they want to censor.

You don't have to agree with Riley, or talk to him, or associate with him in any way. You can think he's a lowlife scum, you can fight against his views, and, if you wish, you can call him bad names. Bit in my opinion, what you cannot do is censor him for his beliefs. If you do, you are something every bit as dangerous as he will ever be.

Helix
04-14-2016, 10:05 AM
How is not having him on a judging panel actually censoring him?

Albedo
04-14-2016, 01:52 PM
Removing someone from a panel of a private writer's club for poor standards isn't censorship in the slightest.

But if Shaun's link is accurate, the HWA seems rather short on standards, so Riley probably doesn't have much to worry about.

veinglory
04-14-2016, 06:12 PM
Defending having a documented white supremacist active within the leadership of an organized hate group as a judge a multi-racial pool of candidates, to avoid "discrimination" of all frocking things, is a huge steaming pile of twaddle.

HWA have jumped the white shark and I doubt they will come back from it unless they recant.

Kylabelle
04-14-2016, 06:24 PM
Yes, have to agree with veinglory here. Removing someone from a panel of judges is far from censorship. That term, censorship, gets tossed around pretty lightly, seems to me. It has a specific denotation.

ETA: Just read the statement from Brian Keene. I recommend that read along with the OP for a full background on this one.

The reasoning of the HWA strikes me as pretty cheesy as in full of holes. Let's wait until a "provable effect" has been noted? And then we will take stern measures, darn tootin'? Meanwhile the entire course of the judging has been skewed because a judge is allowed to participate who does not believe that all contestants are starting from an equal footing.

I have to say too I find the efforts to defend fascism and racism to be pretty absurd. Only a strong emotional prejudice controlling one's thinking could allow something like this to go unquestioned. So this is just one more piece of evidence of what we are dealing with in any attempt to create public platforms that are truly level playing grounds, fair for all.

blacbird
04-14-2016, 08:45 PM
what you cannot do is censor him for his beliefs. If you do, you are something every bit as dangerous as he will ever be.

He's not been "censored" in any rational definition of that term. He's been "censured", in terms of his continued participation being terminated. But HWA is a private group, and this is no different from a business firing an employee for making a racist comment or holding well-publicized views that damage the reputation of the firm. It's called "free enterprise".

caw

Tazlima
04-14-2016, 08:46 PM
...the entire course of the judging has been skewed because a judge is allowed to participate who does not believe that all contestants are starting from an equal footing.


This is it in a nutshell.

Perhaps he CAN keep his biases in check without difficulty. Perhaps it's unfair to him to remove him from the panel. Ultimately, though, they only have two options. They can remove him and risk being called"unfair" to one judge, or they can keep him and risk unfairness to all the non-white contenders for the award.

Kylabelle
04-14-2016, 08:59 PM
He's not been "censored" in any rational definition of that term. He's been "censured", in terms of his continued participation being terminated. But HWA is a private group, and this is no different from a business firing an employee for making a racist comment or holding well-publicized views that damage the reputation of the firm. It's called "free enterprise".

caw

Well, that would be the terminology had HWA taken that action but according to the OP, they have said they will not do so. Which is the problem.

ShaunHorton
04-15-2016, 05:52 AM
Well, it seems the Board and Mr. Riley reached an agreement.


In regards to the situation involving David Riley, who announced on his blog that he would be serving on the Anthology jury: We've reached out to Mr. Riley, and both Mr. Riley and the HWA have agreed that it's in the best interest of all for him to step down.

Of course, that doesn't erase the egg on their face from saying that white supremacy is a political view worthy of protection from discrimination, or that it took the outrage from membership to convince them this was something that needed to be addressed.

Kylabelle
04-15-2016, 05:57 AM
Thanks for the update - is that on their website?

And good for them for seeing the light. If they saw it.

ShaunHorton
04-15-2016, 06:13 AM
It was posted on their Facebook page, and updated on Brian Keene's blog post. The comments on that post are worth reading as well, as David Riley makes a few comments, as well as previous HWA-president David Wilson.

Calla Lily
04-15-2016, 02:42 PM
Read through the whole Keene post and all the comments.

Wow.

Wow.


I am also pleased that I didn't pony up $$ for HWA membership when The Redeemers got pubbed. They seem like MWA, which I also dropped: They don't do much that I can't do for myself and save the money.

Gilroy Cullen
04-15-2016, 05:02 PM
Is it just me or are all other older, established WAs out there starting to crumble and collapse in on themselves?

Filigree
04-15-2016, 05:08 PM
Holy crap on a cracker, what a comments list. I knew where we were heading as soon as the Puppies made an appearance. I love horror and dark fantasy, and had ideas of joining HWA at one point. Think I'll sit this one out. Too much heat and not enough light.

Gilroy, I'm getting the same impression.

Calla Lily
04-15-2016, 05:13 PM
Sisters in Crime is still doing well. (Yes it's for both women and men! It was founded by Sara Paretsky eay back when.) I'm part of a new branch and the national organization actually helps its members. Also, dues are reasonable: $50/year for pro membership.

The other ones? Not getting my money.

Amadan
04-15-2016, 06:10 PM
I agree that removing him from the jury isn't censorship. And it seems like the HWA has a lot of problems beyond this one.

That said, I have a problem with the idea that anyone who has misgivings about removing people from a jury (or an organization) for their outside opinions constitutes supporting their views.

It's easy to pick out someone who's apparently a glaring offender (if Nick Mamatas is to be believed, not only is David Riley an unrepentant white supremacist, but he actually tried to convince the HWA that the white supremacist was some other David Riley - wtf?). But I can see (and have seen) this same reasoning applied to less egregious cases. Suppose a jury member is an evangelical Christian or a Roman Catholic or a Mormon, and has admitted in public to believing that homosexuality is a sin. Wouldn't gay writers then be able to claim that such a person is prejudiced against them and can't judge them fairly? Suppose someone has expressed strongly pro-Israel views - is that grounds for a Palestinian writer to ask for their removal from the jury? Would ranting on Facebook about how Donald Trump is Da Man be a disqualifier?

It seems like this would result in an inevitable convergence towards a particular ideological perspective. Which I do not think is good for any writing body.

TedTheewen
04-17-2016, 12:48 AM
I'm old enough to remember when people suspected of Communism were ousted from groups. It's come full-circle and now the other side is the enemy. Of course, back then, it was John Birch Society people.

This entire conversation about if he should have been removed or not will be around for a long time. But the damage done to the HWA is sad because of all the good people who put a lot of work into building it and growing it.

blacbird
04-17-2016, 06:43 AM
Suppose a jury member is an evangelical Christian or a Roman Catholic or a Mormon, and has admitted in public to believing that homosexuality is a sin. Wouldn't gay writers then be able to claim that such a person is prejudiced against them and can't judge them fairly? Suppose someone has expressed strongly pro-Israel views - is that grounds for a Palestinian writer to ask for their removal from the jury? Would ranting on Facebook about how Donald Trump is Da Man be a disqualifier?

Having gone through numerous jury selection processes, and serving on a couple of them, I can assure you that any competent defense attorney would excuse potential jurors expressing any such prejudicial views immediately. In fact, in the last trial I served as a juror on, one person during jury selection expressed just such a prejudicial view (against taxi drivers, of all things), and was immediately dismissed.

caw

ShaunHorton
04-17-2016, 06:57 AM
I was dismissed from Jury Duty once because I compared medical malpractice to serving rotten food in a restaurant via cannibalism.

Wasn't even trying.

More on-topic, HWA members are working to put together a panel/discussion for Stokercon on "diversity, discrimination, inclusion & exclusion in Awards programs".

Amadan
04-17-2016, 07:03 AM
I don't think juries for criminal trials and juries for literary awards are even comparable.

ShaunHorton
04-17-2016, 07:07 AM
I don't think juries for criminal trials and juries for literary awards are even comparable.

Certainly not in any kind of literal sense.

But they should be pretty much the same when you have people sitting on them with very specific and strongly-held biases.

Amadan
04-17-2016, 07:23 AM
Certainly not in any kind of literal sense.

But they should be pretty much the same when you have people sitting on them with very specific and strongly-held biases.

I don't agree. I think their purpose is entirely different.

If you're sitting in a jury for a criminal trial, you're judging the person, and it's reasonable for an attorney to try to exclude anyone who might theoretically have any bias whatsoever against his client. A defense attorney probably would try to exclude anyone with strong religious beliefs if his client was homosexual. And he'd probably try to exclude atheists if his client was strongly religious and that was a factor in the case. And he'd almost certainly try to exclude a Zionist Jew if his client was Palestinian, or vice versa.

I don't think any of those situations would be good reasons to exclude someone from an awards jury.

ShaunHorton
04-17-2016, 07:43 AM
You don't think an organization which claims to be about inclusion, anti-discrimination, and the advancement of their genre shouldn't exclude an individual with strongly biased views about a specific race or races of people from an awards jury which is very likely to be picking from entries written by people of those races?

Granted, if one simply held those views, I might be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they could look past their biases, especially if the entries had a degree of anonymity to them. (I asked in the HWA's Facebook thread about that, and got no answer. I'm fairly certain there isn't any though.) However, when an individual not only expresses having those views, but is an activist in spreading them, to the point of being a founding member of a group based in those views, I just can't believe he can be trusted to be impartial in such a position.

Or are you saying the point of an award such as the Bram Stoker is of such little value, we shouldn't worry about such things at that level? (Honestly, that I would agree with, if the HWA hadn't made inclusion for minorities in the genre one of their big things.) Perhaps the Stokers could line up behind the Hugo's.

Amadan
04-17-2016, 07:55 AM
You don't think an organization which claims to be about inclusion, anti-discrimination, and the advancement of their genre shouldn't exclude an individual with strongly biased views about a specific race or races of people from an awards jury which is very likely to be picking from entries written by people of those races?

I think it should be considered case by case. What about all the other examples I mentioned?

I was really not impressed by the rather elliptical argument (http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1948503.html) presented by Nick Mamatas, whom normally I like despite his politics, for why excluding/no-platforming fascists is necessary, but excluding/no-platforming Marxists would be wrong.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 09:00 AM
I don't think any of those situations would be good reasons to exclude someone from an awards jury.

I absolutely disagree.

Maybe a white supremacist could separate a PoC author from their work (and that's a big "maybe") but what if they are judging works with PoC characters?

No, there is every reason prejudiced bigots should not sit on awards juries.

ShaunHorton
04-17-2016, 09:49 AM
I think it should be considered case by case. What about all the other examples I mentioned?

I was really not impressed by the rather elliptical argument (http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1948503.html) presented by Nick Mamatas, whom normally I like despite his politics, for why excluding/no-platforming fascists is necessary, but excluding/no-platforming Marxists would be wrong.

Yeah. I could certainly see things being handled on a case-by-case basis. As I said, I believe some people could be trusted to ignore their biases. Especially if there were people who had since renounced their affiliations.

Regarding your other examples, some will be more relevant than others. Homosexuality for example, can't be determined by an author photo, or inferred by name. I also don't know that believing homosexuality being a sin could transfer into a decision as much as one believing that anyone who doesn't share the individual's race is inferior and less generally deserving of the things people of the individual's race are.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 10:26 AM
It's not just prejudice against authors specifically that's a concern.

People write characters who are PoC and LGBTQ, too.

How can you be unbiased if you think some people's stories are inherently not worth telling?

Roxxsmom
04-17-2016, 11:04 AM
Having gone through numerous jury selection processes, and serving on a couple of them, I can assure you that any competent defense attorney would excuse potential jurors expressing any such prejudicial views immediately. In fact, in the last trial I served as a juror on, one person during jury selection expressed just such a prejudicial view (against taxi drivers, of all things), and was immediately dismissed.

caw

A jury in a court of law is a different matter. The consequences of someone having a biased juror is much more severe (could result in wrongful incarceration), and of course the attorneys on each side have a certain number of "free" dismissals of prospective jurors, and they needn't be for political reasons at all.

And to answer Amaden's question: yes, someone holding a belief (religiously founded or otherwise) that being gay or lesbian is morally unacceptable could make them less likely to enjoy a story where a character was gay or lesbian (and it wasn't presented as something with negative consequences). This person might also have trouble fairly judging any story by an openly gay or lesbian author (or a PoC if they're racist).

Whether or not a writer's organization should omit someone with a stated bias really depends on what the objectives of said organization are re their awards. If creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ, PoC, Women and other traditionally underrepresented groups and giving them equal consideration for awards is important to the group, then it makes sense that they might want to disallow prejudiced judges. If equal consideration and representation for racist, homophobic or sexist views is also a goal of said organization, it may have an irreconcilable internal conflict.

The problem that no one wants to admit with regards to across-the-board tolerance of all views is that it's impossible to create a writer's organization where all people will feel equally comfortable and welcome. So whose comfort is more important to this organization? PoC or white supremacists?

I'm guessing that a professional Christian writer's group may want to omit non-Christians, liberal (or non Gospel/evangelical) Christians, and openly LGBTQ people from their award panels too. That's within their rights (and it's my right to not want to read such fiction, so it makes complete sense they'd never want me on one of their juries).

So, as ever, the question is which prejudices and stated biases reflect poorly on the organization and its goals?

Amadan
04-17-2016, 05:58 PM
I absolutely disagree.

Maybe a white supremacist could separate a PoC author from their work (and that's a big "maybe") but what if they are judging works with PoC characters?

No, there is every reason prejudiced bigots should not sit on awards juries.

The "those situations" I referred to were:



If you're sitting in a jury for a criminal trial, you're judging the person, and it's reasonable for an attorney to try to exclude anyone who might theoretically have any bias whatsoever against his client. A defense attorney probably would try to exclude anyone with strong religious beliefs if his client was homosexual. And he'd probably try to exclude atheists if his client was strongly religious and that was a factor in the case. And he'd almost certainly try to exclude a Zionist Jew if his client was Palestinian, or vice versa.

So are you saying people with strong religious beliefs, atheists, Zionists, and Palestinians are all, effectively, bigots?

I am not saying I think no one should ever be disqualified from a jury because of his views. If someone openly says he thinks women can't write science fiction, I think it would be reasonable to exclude him from a jury of works that includes women SF authors. My point is that I am wary of just making blanket declarations like "no bigots allowed," since some people have rather.... broad definitions of what makes someone a bigot.

Amadan
04-17-2016, 06:08 PM
Whether or not a writer's organization should omit someone with a stated bias really depends on what the objectives of said organization are re their awards. If creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ, PoC, Women and other traditionally underrepresented groups and giving them equal consideration for awards is important to the group, then it makes sense that they might want to disallow prejudiced judges. If equal consideration and representation for racist, homophobic or sexist views is also a goal of said organization, it may have an irreconcilable internal conflict.


I think that's a false comparison. "Well, should we welcome women and minorities, or white supremacists?" Obviously any good writer's organization should be open to anyone writing in the genre who is willing to deal respectfully and professionally with all other members. If the organization caters to specific groups - say, a LGBQT group - then I wouldn't expect many conservative Christians to sign up, nor for a lot of LGBQT authors to join a Christian writer's group with a traditionalist slant. (I imagine there might be some overlap, though.)

David Riley, the individual about whom this particular thread began, may be a less marginal case, though by his own statements I am not convinced that even his rather extreme political views equate to believing that "non-white people's stories don't deserve to be told." (He claims otherwise, at least.) But there are a lot of conservative genre authors, and we all know how the culture wars have been whipping around the last few years - take any author from the "red tribe" who's been at all outspoken on social media in the last few years, and you'll probably find a few statements they've made that someone in a "marginalized" group might take exception to. Is that sufficient to exclude all of them from being on a jury? Will we apply the same standard to the many the "blue tribe" authors who've made pretty incendiary remarks about Christians, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, straight white men, and so on?

Roxxsmom
04-18-2016, 01:40 AM
The "those situations" I referred to were:



So are you saying people with strong religious beliefs, atheists, Zionists, and Palestinians are all, effectively, bigots?

Not necessarily. It's down to whether or not said religious beliefs lead them to judge people of different religions or values harshly or to question their right to live as they choose.


I am not saying I think no one should ever be disqualified from a jury because of his views. If someone openly says he thinks women can't write science fiction, I think it would be reasonable to exclude him from a jury of works that includes women SF authors. My point is that I am wary of just making blanket declarations like "no bigots allowed," since some people have rather.... broad definitions of what makes someone a bigot.

It is a tough line to draw sometimes. We all have biases that make us more inclined to like certain kinds of stories, themes, characters, represented values, world building and so on than others, and our sociopolitical views are part of this. These will affect which stories we think are most award worthy. At what point are these just personal tastes (akin to my having a soft spot for stories with talking dogs, perhaps, and someone else thinking they're silly or maudlin) versus the sign of something stronger?

I know some people who get glassy eyed every time they see a story with a LGBTQ or PoC protag who doesn't HAVE to be LGBTQ or PoC, for instance, because they think it's inherently forced or political to do this in a story. They may not harbor a conscious dislike of or hatred for these people, but they're internalized a view of what a normal, default protagonist is in their preferred genre and think that departure from such must serve a specific narrative purpose.

One hopes, at the very least, that an award panel will be broad enough that panelists with such views would be balanced by other jurors who are excited to see books with diverse characters. So maybe some of it depends on how large the panel is. Still, I think the inclusion of someone who has openly declared themselves to have blatantly negative views about a group of people (and I don't think such views stemming from religion gives them a free pass) makes a statement about where the organization stands on these things.

One of the things that is really hard to communicate (when asked why people from historically marginalized groups are soooo sensitive) is how exhausting, frustrating, demoralizing, and terrifying it is to be a member of a group whose equality has not been a given, whose rights and autonomy are still being debated on the national level (not just inside specific Churches or whatever), where prejudice against your group and a desire to strip it of rights is presented as a reasonable sociopolitical view and not hate or prejudice.

Maybe someday, PoC, LGBTQ people, women and so on will be able to shrug and say, "Ah, well, that guy's just a jerk," the way white, straight males can when they run across someone who hates their group (I've been told by white, straight males in my life that this is how I should respond). Because maybe someday we'll be far enough from the historical context of inequality that such views will have no teeth or ability to do more than create an unpleasant interaction. But I don't think we're there yet.


Will we apply the same standard to the many the "blue tribe" authors who've made pretty incendiary remarks about Christians, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, straight white men, and so on?

If someone has stated that they think males, white people, or Christians are lesser beings or people who should hold a lesser status/fewer rights in society, then yes, I'd question their ability to judge novels by or about males, white people or Christians fairly.

kuwisdelu
04-18-2016, 01:45 AM
Not necessarily. It's down to whether or not said religious beliefs lead them to judge people of different religions or values harshly or to question their right to live as they choose.

Yeah. "Strong religious beliefs" is awfully vague. But if a person believes homosexuality is a sin or other such bigotry, then they probably shouldn't be judging any writing where some characters may be LGBTQ. At least not if there is supposed to be any kind of impartiality.

Lillith1991
04-18-2016, 01:45 AM
I'm old enough to remember when people suspected of Communism were ousted from groups. It's come full-circle and now the other side is the enemy. Of course, back then, it was John Birch Society people.

This entire conversation about if he should have been removed or not will be around for a long time. But the damage done to the HWA is sad because of all the good people who put a lot of work into building it and growing it.

This seems more than a bit ridiculous to me, along with the whole "first they came..." mentality with regards to an issue such as this. One person's right's stop as another or another group's begins, and the HWA is well aware of the race issues associated with the Horror community specifically as an organization that has attempted to champion the inclusion of writers of color within Horror circles. Would we expect that a Jewish writers group open to Jews, Sephardic or Ashenazim, Orthodox, Reform, Hasidim etc. to allow a staunch Hasidic judge who would be unfairly weighted towards appreciating the work of other Hasidim on a similar panel? I don't think we could, should, or even can. The theorized group is for all Jewish writers and the people leading the group have a responsibility to the members to treat them equally, especially when they make a concerted effort to present themselves as that type of group, to protect the interests of the whole. Same goes for the HWA.

kuwisdelu
04-18-2016, 01:50 AM
take any author from the "red tribe"

Heh. I was confused at first and trying to figure out if this referred to Native writers like me.

Amadan
04-18-2016, 02:03 AM
I know some people who get glassy eyed every time they see a story with a LGBTQ or PoC protag who doesn't HAVE to be LGBTQ or PoC, for instance, because they think it's inherently forced or political to do this in a story. They may not harbor a conscious dislike of or hatred for these people, but they're internalized a view of what a normal, default protagonist is in their preferred genre and think that departure from such must serve a specific narrative purpose.

Well, the problem is assuming that "conservative Christian" or even "expresses opposition to gay marriage" is a good proxy for determining whether a person is such a judge. In my experience, that isn't necessarily so - I know some extremely conservative Catholics and evangelicals who nonetheless will read books by gay authors, with gay characters, and not automatically devalue them because of it. I also know people who are, politically, positive or at worst neutral with regards to gay rights, but are just the sort of person who will roll their eyes at an "unnecessary" gay character. So I do not think an ideological litmus test is a good measure of whether someone is a good juror.

Latina Bunny
04-18-2016, 02:31 AM
How does this...contest(?) work, exactly? Would the White Supremist (Bigot) be balanced by non-White Supremists on the panel?

Is the goal of the contest to be inclusive? If so, having open bigots (and I do consider White Supremacy as a type of bigotry, sorry) on the panel is not very encouraging.

It's like expecting a man like a Donald Trump (who doesn't seem to have nice things to say about Mexicans, Muslims, or immigrants) to not be biased about a heartwarming story of Mexican or Muslim immigrants living in America, or something, lol. XD

Zaffiro
04-18-2016, 03:30 AM
Suppose a jury member is an evangelical Christian or a Roman Catholic or a Mormon, and has admitted in public to believing that homosexuality is a sin. Wouldn't gay writers then be able to claim that such a person is prejudiced against them and can't judge them fairly? Suppose someone has expressed strongly pro-Israel views - is that grounds for a Palestinian writer to ask for their removal from the jury? Would ranting on Facebook about how Donald Trump is Da Man be a disqualifier?


These aren't the same thing. White supremacists believe that people of other races are inherently inferior. There's no way to reasonably believe that a white supremacist could judge a black writer's work fairly. If I get two novels, one by Writer A and one by Writer B, and I firmly believe before even opening them that Writer A is innately stupider and less capable as a human being than Writer B, there's basically no way I can be expected to compare their work on equal terms.

Believing that homosexual sex is a sin doesn't equate to believing that gay people are inherently inferior to straight people. While I find that view repugnant, I wouldn't argue for taking a literary judge off the panel solely for that specific view, because there's no reason to think that he couldn't be open to the possibility that a gay writer - sinner or not - is a better writer than a straight one. Believing that Israel's political interests trump Palestine's doesn't equate to believing that Palestinians are inherently inferior - it doesn't undermine your ability to believe that this Palestinian writer might be better than this Israeli one.

If you've stated outright that you believe certain candidates for an award are inherently inferior to others, then you shouldn't be one bit surprised when people have problems with your credentials as an impartial judge.

Amadan
04-18-2016, 03:39 AM
I agree that there is a qualitative difference there. I wouldn't really have a problem with excluding someone from a jury who has made that kind of explicit statement about the inherent inferiority of some writers.

The problem is, the people at the center of these controversies rarely make that kind of explicit statement. It's assumed they feel that way because of their political affiliations, or inferred from other things they say, but I'm pretty sure Riley himself has denied believing that non-white people are inferior.

I am not defending David Riley in particular (I don't really know anything about him other than what's been reported, and I'm only vaguely familiar with the British National Front), but someone else mentioned Donald Trump, and I've seen less damning evidence than an explicit call for repatriating illegal aliens used as evidence that someone is hopelessly prejudiced and should be shunned.

Cramp
04-19-2016, 02:27 PM
Amadan: So you think it was right for Riley to step down from the HWA? And he did. Why bring in the slippery slope? Is there some evidence of the juries of multiple writers' awards stripping their membership of bigots?

It is an odd need to pre-emptively jump in there and defend no one against nothing.

Helix
04-19-2016, 03:05 PM
...and I'm only vaguely familiar with the British National Front...

This might help then: National Front (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Front_%28UK%29).


The National Front (NF) is a British far-right political party for whites only, opposed to non-white immigration, and committed to a programme of repatriation. While denying accusations of fascism, it has cultivated links with neo-Nazi cells at home and abroad, and the British police and prison services forbid their employees to be members of the party.

Latina Bunny
04-19-2016, 03:10 PM
It's not just prejudice against authors specifically that's a concern.

People write characters who are PoC and LGBTQ, too.

How can you be unbiased if you think some people's stories are inherently not worth telling?
^Exactly.

I'm glad the White Supremacist guy stepped down. If the goal is to be inclusive, then having a person who believes in the mentality of certain races being inferior on a jury that selects diverse stories or diverse authors would not be fair or helpful. I would assume the contest is meant to be inclusive?

(I am also going to assume if one joins a White Supremacist group then Inwould think that one actually believes in the "White is Supreme" mentality. Otherwise, why join a group like that?)

Amadan
04-19-2016, 03:58 PM
I've already read the Wikipedia page on the BNF, thanks.



Amadan: So you think it was right for Riley to step down from the HWA? And he did. Why bring in the slippery slope? Is there some evidence of the juries of multiple writers' awards stripping their membership of bigots?

It is an odd need to pre-emptively jump in there and defend no one against nothing.

That's what the thread is about. No, this isn't the first time a controversy like this has arisen.

I'm not defending Riley as an individual, I'm disagreeing that someone's external political views should be a disqualifier unless they directly relate to their qualifications. "Might be biased against some writers" as a (dis)qualification is a slippery slope, and yes, I'm going to argue that.

The implications of "need" and "jumping in there" are duly noted, but they are inaccurate.

veinglory
04-19-2016, 05:34 PM
I think views are relevant when they will directly prejudice the act of judging. And I think when a person is on the record as a white supremacist that argument is easy to make. It is a position attributing worth to one group only. This is not a man who is immersed in his Celtic heritage and likes to Morris dance, it is someone who wants every person of color force-ably evicted from the nation they were born in. On the face of it this point of view is incompatible with fairly judging books by or about people of color.

Can you really expect an author to accept a judge is unbiased about their work, but just happens to want to put them on the first available one-way flight to Africa?

ShaunHorton
04-19-2016, 06:50 PM
I don't believe white supremacy is a political view. It's a transparent attempt to make racism politically correct that most people have long seen through.

truantoranje
05-04-2016, 08:54 PM
One of the many reasons I decided to leave the HWA. Also factoring in that presiding officials are eligible to (and often receive) their most prestigious award, the Stoker®.