To the Fallen Veterans of the Writing Wars
A writer friend whom I value dearly told me today she was done writing in a public forum (Quora) we both share because she had grown tired of battling against the bigoted, racist viewpoints promoted on that site. (Names are withheld for confidentiality.)
Honestly, I can’t blame her. As fast as we try and trim the reprehensible material, the faster it returns, a demonic psychic kudzu from which there appears no escape. The company does little to support our efforts to eliminate this hateful and racist effluvia, failing to automate even the most egregious material away (which should be within their technical expertise).
But my admiration for her and other writers like her knows no bounds. They have written wonderful documents which hold back the tide of ignorance out there, in ways I admit I never could. Their patience is legendary, the explanations rich, filled with metaphor, allegory, and alliteration, teaching in ways I admit to not having the patience to attempt.
Their wisdom and sagacity is to be applauded and her decision to walk away, while a cause for great sadness, I am completely able to understand her viewpoint. She was not the only one. A few days before that, another writer whose work I also greatly respected threw in the towel there as well.
I am hopeful such great minds will find new outlets for their words. WE (all of us) need them in these trying times.
Here was my tribute to their works.
I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving.
I remember suggesting we cut back on dealing with such negative issues. Our battle is not with decrying madmen who have nothing but time on their hands and a desire to watch the world burn.
Our goal is to write things that uplift each other, help each other, love each other and raise each other up with stories, ideas and articles which show people of color as PEOPLE, not stereotypes.
I write about comics because I enjoy them. So on Quora, I write about comics. Do I write about race, politics and other more challenging topics?
At a ratio of 1:20. One article about some political thing or racial thing or social thing that sorely pisses me off.
Then twenty articles about things I love. Cats, computers, technology, space, science, and comics. This is the only way we can stay sane.
The people posting those articles are confused, angry, often driven that way intentionally by media agencies who want them to be unable to discern the truth from reality. I am not excusing their behavior.
Being a racist is not always a choice. Some are born into it. Others are carried there. But we are not obligated to educate them. We must CHOOSE it.
And when you are tired, when the battle has taken its toll upon your intrepid spirit: WALK AWAY. Make yourself happy again. Find your reasons to live. Love your life. Protect your sanity.
We are here for you. And if you choose to pick up your pen again. If you choose to arm yourself against the forces of IGNORANCE, we will welcome you back to the battle.
If you choose to remain behind the lines, your previous words can still fight for you. Don’t remove them, someone may benefit from your wisdom. That is what they want. They want us to quit. To hide our words, to hide our lives, to make us invisible.
I have spent the last five years seeding the internet with inspiration, hope, belief in the best things we can be towards each other. I will never remove my words because I see too few like them out there.
The people I see here have done the same thing, put words out there that ennoble us, elevate us, and redeem the lies told by people who feel they have the right to say that we are less.
I WILL NEVER BOW TO THAT VIEWPOINT AGAIN.
Our words have power. Our words are significant. This is why they poison the wells we frequent. Until we are made silent and complicit in their destruction of us.
NOT AS LONG AS I LIVE WILL I BE SILENT AGAIN.
But I will not be driven mad. I will write my joys and my annoyances in a measure which inspires others and does not deplete me.
I salute your words. All of you. Your words have been a brilliant riposte to the naysayers who try and define minorities, women, people of color, the LGBT community as less than Human.
Stay the course as your capacities allow. Teach your children to do the same thing. Our society wants to keep us so poor, so tired, so disenfranchised we cannot fight back.
Go party, celebrate, do something that reminds you why you ever did this in the first place. Then come back with one article a year. One a month. One a week, one a day: as many or as few as your heart will allow.
Be brilliant. Write well. Make it look as effortless as you always have. Never let them know they made you sweat.
Do whatever it takes to make sure our legacy, our fires are never totally extinguished. We are giants, our children will need our shoulders to stand upon.