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Nan De Plume
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Thanks, Carrie, for replying to me.

We do disagree a bit, and that’s okay. I try to find common ground where I can, which is why I started this thread about diversity in HR in the first place. I thought some opinions could use some clarifying in a less inflammatory manner than some of the AAR comment sections that have gotten out of hand both recently and in the past.

As for the people who are using words like “disgraceful,” “horrible,” and “shouldn’t be allowed,” I agree that’s a bit strong and harsh. Certainly “shouldn’t be allowed” would get my dander up when it comes to telling writers what they should and shouldn’t create. Were the people necessarily racist who made those remarks? It’s hard for me to make that judgment based on a few irate comments. I would definitely argue there was a lot of anger and frustration that got out of hand on that thread. And I admit that I got annoyed and frustrated too when it came to expressing my opinions on art. I know some of my statements have a tendency to come off badly or belligerent when they aren’t intended as such.

It still bothers me, for example, that a number of publishers and media magnates are starting to implement diversity quotas in various genres. As I’ve said before, I welcome diversity in context but not if it’s squeezed out of writers via lists of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” or by a person whose job is to enforce percentage counting. While I sort of understand where that’s coming from, I don’t want to see minority characters reduced to percentage points and blatant tokenism because an author was forced to be inclusive in order to be published or become eligible for certain career-boosting awards like the Oscars.

I know I’ve been accused of “casting asperations” for making this point, but a lot of it has to do with a knowledge I possess of the inner workings of being a published author. While I am not traditionally published by a major company, I have had works published under other pen names by small presses and so forth. Plus, I keep abreast of other authors’ challenges. I can assure you that authors are routinely told, “Do this, don’t write that, make this character a woman, throw in an accidental decapitation, etc.” That’s nothing new, but it has been getting a lot worse. Add to that a growing tendency for publishers to drop their authors at the slightest whiff of online controversy- when they probably made the author implement significant changes in the first place- and there’s very good reason for alarm. In regard to calls for greater diversity at all costs and the resulting pushback, it may be a case of the straw breaking the camel’s back. I think it would be unusual for the average author today to be totally opposed to writing minority characters. It’s more a question of authors getting tired of being told what to do and then being told they’re “racist” when they don’t do what they’re told to somebody’s liking. Careers have been ruined over these matters, so a lot of authors get scared and stick to making all their characters white to avoid losing contracts and getting lambasted online. In the long run, this limits the number of complex, diverse stories in HR and elsewhere, which is a shame.