HWA on Bram Stoker Award Jury Controversy

Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton responded on Facebook to the public controversy about a Bram Stoker Award jury member’s political views.

I have asked both HWA’s Board of Trustees and the chair of our Diverse Works Inclusion Committee to advise on a recent situation surrounding a member who is serving on a Bram Stoker Award jury who holds certain political views. After considerable discussion and research, here is the official response:

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.

Thank you to everyone who has voiced concern over this issue, especially those who have taken the time to contact me privately.

David A. Riley announced on his blog last week that he had joined the Bram Stoker Award Jury for anthologies. Some colleagues took issue, asserting Riley is a white supremacist who was once part of the UK’s National Front.

The HWA appointment became news at a point when questions were already being asked of Riley due to his involvement in the relaunch of Weirdbook. Riley reportedly answered in a no-longer-available Facebook thread. The davidandrewrileyisafascist Tumblr hosts a screeshot of the comment, which says in part:

I think I need to put the record straight. Yes, I was in the National Front for ten year from 1973 to the middle of 1983. During that time I never regarded the party as fascist, though it did have minority elements within it that undoubtedly were. …I have never regarded myself as a fascist, and certainly not a nazi. The term ‘white supremacist’ is one I don’t recognise and certainly repudiate. If you saw me associating with my ethnically diverse neighbours in Bulgaria you would not level that at me then. I know this will not convince some people, and, quite honestly, I accept that….

The relationship between Riley’s past political views and organizing activity, and his current views, and whether he should be serving on a HWA awards jury, are now subjects of intense discussion. HWA President Morton’s statement indicates no action will be taken unless “a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.”

Paul St. John Mackintosh’s take on Riley is less negative than most — “The other current genre controversy: The David A. Riley Feud” at TeleRead.

I chose some words carefully there because, as may be obvious, I think the most charitable interpretation that can be put on this is that Riley must have been exceptionally naive to conclude that the NF wasn’t racist or fascistic in its tendencies from the start. I certainly had no such illusions growing up in the UK in the 1970s. Even if there was definite infiltration by more extreme neo-Nazis during the 1970s, the party was founded with the aid of such delightful people as the Racial Preservation Society to oppose immigration and multiculturalism in Britain.

That said, Riley left the NF and is no longer associated with it – to my knowledge at least – or to any active right-wing group, and again, as far as I know, doesn’t project significantly racist views in his current work, even to whatever degree H.P. Lovecraft did in his. (Although for some possible past concerns, see here.) Quite a few significant writers of impeccable left-wing pedigree, including Samuel R. Delany and Charles Stross, are still his friends on Facebook. Maybe they’ll change their minds now, but we’ll see. I’m one too, for now, partly to keep track of what’s going on, but also because after what happened, I feel like making a stand on the issue of personal conscience here….

Plus, if Riley can’t turn around and repent his past follies, what hope is there for any of us? Maybe he hasn’t – but quite enough people seem to have concluded that once a fascist always a fascist, and damned him eternally. And Riley’s verdict on his own past may have been less than 100 percent convincing, but others obviously didn’t wait to read that before condemning him. And for opponents of virulent racism and poisonous attitudes, there are enough all-too-live and current targets to go after, without dredging up moribund and past ones.

Nick Mamatas classifies Riley as a fascist and contends he should be removed from the awards jury.

Some notes on the recent drama in the Horror Writers Association (of which I am no longer a member) and their appointment of fascist David A Riley to the award jury. This is a public post. My FB is not normally public….

1a. Liberals confuse this idea with a broader idea that unpleasant people are unpleasant and thus should be excluded from pleasant activities. This is the core of the slippery slope arguments around no-platforming. If the answer to “Where does it end?” isn’t “Where it begins; with fascism”, the argument to no-platform will never be consistently won, especially in groups like HWA, which have intrinsic and correct allegiances to freedom of expression and diversity of thought. The sad fact of this political juncture is that neither the mainstream liberal or conservative factions are interested in free expression—only the smarter elements of the far left and the less stupid bits of the libertarian right are. Fascism is a particular and singular exception, and even then, the state should not be involved in limiting speech—it’s up to activists to militantly defend creative milieux against fascism….

3. What’s the harm? Editors and publishers submit work to the jury. One need not be HWA members to submit work. I’ve submitted stories by Japanese authors, and my Japanese anthologies as a whole, in past years. Why would I do that if I know that one of the members considers Asians to be necessarily inferior? I was also published in an anthology called CALEDONIA DREAMIN’ with a theme of celebrating the Scots language, a few years ago—why submit work from that book to a juror who belongs to a group that believes that Scottish independence is a trick by EU “string-pullers” and “traitors” in Westminster, and that the Scots language is illegitimate? Fascists make bad jury members for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who ever noticed names like, oh, “Klein” on their bookshelves.

(Mamatas also feels people who quote his post should oblige by plugging his book The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools.)

Many writers have commented on Lisa Morton’s open Facebook thread. Usman Tanveer Malik and Kate Jonez thoughtfully expressed divergent viewpoints.

Usman Tanveer Malik:

The HWA is a supposedly professional For Writers entity, correct? How can an organization that professes non-discrimination ascertain that a person with a history of fascism will not be biased when it comes to making selections from works of potential merit? Like Nick Mamatas points out, why should I as a writer or editor submit my work to a jury that has doubled down on including and retaining a known white supremacist–esp. when any psychologist will tell you bias and human error creep into every operative system? The bigger the bias, the more unstable the operation and the more suspect the results. Moreover, by excusing the past history of a supremacist/fascist and allowing them a position of power, the message we’re sending is quite clear: we the organization are condoning such behavior and actors of such behavior.

Kate Jonez:

I am just a member so my opinion is just that. I am on the diversity committee and have volunteered for other jobs in the HWA I encourage others to join and work for what you think the organization should be. I would very much like to see a documented racist removed from the jury. I just don’t see how to do it.

Free speech is tricky territory. It always has been. To believe in it, a person has to hear a lot of crap that he or she would rather not. As a private organization the HWA could remove any member or juror they choose. As an HWA member I would very much like that all racists be out of the organization. I’d really like them to be removed from the US… the world.

Like many other organizations the HWA has chosen to support free speech. This forces them to accept situations that many members would prefer not to accept. The HWA can and has removed jurors who can be documented as instigating violence or making threats, but vetting jurors’ political background is outside the scope of a writers’ organization. Who else should be removed? Should the HWA remove people who’ve spoken out against Syrian refugees, anyone who has a negative position on Affirmative Action, anyone been accused or convicted of domestic violence, anyone who has voted against gay marriage? I personally would be happy never to hear opinions from people holding these views. I don’t think people who think this way are capable of making informed decisions any more that white supremacist/fascists are. I believe many HWA members feel the same way. Unfortunately, that’s not how free speech works. How do you get rid of abhorrent ideas and maintain intellectual freedom? I truly would like an answer to this.

71 thoughts on “HWA on Bram Stoker Award Jury Controversy

  1. Hm. I’m not the same person, with the same views as I hold now, as I was in 1983. I knew a lot less then and thought I knew a lot more than I did back then.

    I can’t read Riley’s mind and say with any certainty what his opinions are now. If he was saying things now and/or belonged to NF now, that’s something else entirely. Who says the guy hasn’t grown up in the last 30+ years.

  2. Some years ago, Theodore Beale, then an active member of SFWA in good standing, served on one of the Nebula juries, volunteering as all good members should. I’d like to hear from any other members of that jury who can attest that Beale’s extremist political views did or did not have a negative effect on the functioning of the jury.

  3. Like Paul St. John Mackintosh*, I’d wonder about Riley’s critical acumen if he didn’t realize NF was fascist/racist, though. Is this a guy with good judgement? But I guess he might have matured and gotten better at discernment. He doesn’t seem racist nowadays, and bona fide anti-racist/anti-fascists are on good terms with him. Youthful indiscretion? We all did regrettable things in the 70s and 80s.

    It is going to cut down on the number of entrants, though, as the Mamatas and Malik postings show.

    Tough call.

    Lois: IIRC, Scalzi said he was fine back then, but he’s apparently gotten worse and certainly his abhorrent views are better-known now.

    *Good heavens, that’s a wonderfully British name.

  4. Lois Tilton: Some years ago, Theodore Beale, then an active member of SFWA in good standing, served on one of the Nebula juries, volunteering as all good members should. I’d like to hear from any other members of that jury who can attest that Beale’s extremist political views did or did not have a negative effect on the functioning of the jury.

    It’d be pretty hard to show conclusively that they did, wouldn’t it? He’s not going to say “Here’s the list of stories I believe should be finalists/winners, which of course does not include any by non-white authors”. 😐

  5. I was on two Nebula juries back in my SFWA days, and I would have had a strong opinion in the event that any given juror had exhibited prejudiced judgment. I’m wondering if this was the case back then.

    Or can we suppose that an individual’s political views will not necessarily play a significant role in such jury deliberations.

  6. It appears to me that Mamatas applies a rather more strict standard to Riley (assuming that he doesn’t have any evidence that Riley’s NF sympathies are ongoing, and his Facebook post did not present any) than he did last year to Ms Hate (where his argument, as I recall it, was along the lines that her not fantasizing about anybody’s dismemberment for the past 20 seconds was proof conclusive she was an entirely changed person and should be forgiven for past peccadilloes).

  7. A person might have had other views in 1983. It is 33 years ago. I do not see that as a problem if the person has apologized correctly and shown by actions that they do no longer hold those views. This is not the case here.

    This is a person who says he never understood that National Front was fascist, and pretends to just have been stupid. But wrote this with regards to Lovecraft:

    “Lovecraft, though often too emotionally involved in the subject, was fundamentally a White supremacist, who had no doubts whatsoever of the rightful preeminence of the White race. “Science,” he wrote, “shows us the infinite superiority of the Teutonic Aryan over all others, and it therefore comes to us to see his ascendancy shall remain undisputed. Any racial mixture can but lower the result. The Teutonic race, whether in Scandinavia, other parts of the continent, England, or America, is the cream of humanity.”

    How he would have viewed the suicidal swing towards multi-racialism now being compelled upon the “cream of humanity” should not be difficult for anyone to imagine. Not only was Lovecraft an outstanding exponent of the particular literary genre which he made his own, he was also, importantly, a staunch racialist who despised and abhorred the liberalising degeneracy which now imperils the future survival of our race.”

    So no thank you. I do not want a person in a jury when the person can’t take responsibility for their own actions and writings.

  8. Here is a comment from 2009 in support of the British National Party, a group that splintered off the National Front:

    “It seems, Mr Hitchens, that what you want is definitely the cake and the ha’penny. You claim to share so many of the basic beliefs of the BNP, yet shower nothing but scorn on the party – though, in all fairness, no more than you appear to shower on the three main parties as well, not to mention the Greens and UKIP. But you views are not shared to anything but the tenth degree by any of these other parties. Only the BNP. Yet what you know of the BNP and of its leadership, appears to be from the outside. Perhaps, when electoral success places the BNP on a higher level than it stands at now, you will rectify this – at which time, maybe, you will subtly alter your views about it and them.”

    And he used to comment on the forums for BNP. So no, this is not a thing that ended 30 years ago.

  9. And here is Riley in support of the racist Bulgarian group Ataka in 2011 after its assault on a mosque.

  10. One thing missing from the discussion above is Riley’s age. How old was he in 1973? A mature adult or a kid?

  11. @Hampus, that’s rather compelling evidence that Riley has not changed his views (even though you might want to note that your first quote dates from 1983).

  12. Yeeaaahhh, if he’s still spouting this crap in 2009 and 2011, he’s still racist.

    He was old enough to stand for office at one point, so certainly of age by anyone’s standards.

    The honourable British thing to do would be to step down, saying he doesn’t want the talk to be about him rather than the award.

    @microtherion: Some animals are more equal than others, p’raps? Doesn’t look to me like she’s changed any, either.

  13. “@Hampus, that’s rather compelling evidence that Riley has not changed his views (even though you might want to note that your first quote dates from 1983).”

    Yes, but my point was that his apology regarding his candidacy for the violent fascist organization National Front tried to frame it as if he didn’t know what kind of organization he had joined:

    “The term ‘white supremacist’ is one I don’t recognise and certainly repudiate.”

    At the same time, his own quotes from that time show that he was firmly in the white supremacy camp.

  14. “He was old enough to stand for office at one point, so certainly of age by anyone’s standards.”

    Lets also remember that it wasn’t a one time. It was three times. 1974, 1979 and 1983. Results here.

  15. During the period he was in the National Front, and stood 3 times for public election as a member, their manifesto said “The National Front advocates a total ban on any further non-White immigration into Britain, and the launching of a phased plan of repatriation for all coloured immigrants.”

    He may not recognise himself as a “white supremacist” but then many don’t.

  16. Kate Jonez:

    “I am just a member so my opinion is just that. I am on the diversity committee and have volunteered for other jobs in the HWA I encourage others to join and work for what you think the organization should be. I would very much like to see a documented racist removed from the jury. I just don’t see how to do it.”

    If Kate Jonez thinks this is true, the only sensible thing to do for her would be to resign her office. And as we all know it isn’t true that you can’t remove a documented racist, she should resign anyway.

    Because she is clearly working against diversity here.

  17. I agree whole-heartedly with Hampus here.

    If it were true that Riley’s sin consisted of a semi-passive party membership more than 30 years ago, I would have sided with him.

    However, the “davidandrewrileyisafascist” tumbler (linked in Mike’s article) provides ample evidence that
    a) Riley was an active participant in the National Front, not a passive member
    b) He was well aware of their views. (And whether he personally considered those views “fascist” is not really relevant.)
    c) He still holds views consistent with white supremacism,
    d) Riley is still active on the fringe right, and does among other things post supportive comments on the BNP website.

    And honestly: Defending your political activism by lying about it is not very convincing.

  18. One thing more:

    Riley was not only a member of the National Front.
    Riley was not only a candidate for the National Front.

    He was the regional organizer. He has been seen as one of the founders. If he was no longer active in National Front after 1983, it is because he moved over to the British National Party. He has been active on their page, decrying in 2009 the fact that they are no longer able to prohibit coloured people from joining because of the new discrimination laws.

    P.S. Ninja’d by Johan P! 😀

  19. Read a bit more about the rules for the Bram Stoker Award and the jury isn’t really a jury. Its only role is to recommend works that otherwise might have been missed. So every category will have five works selected by members and five additional selected in concert by all jurors, not only the one responsible for a category. Then there is a vote among the members about which five works will be on the final ballot.

    The function of the juror is basically being the anti-slate measure to prevent persons from being able to totally game a category.

    This means that if the jurors selects bad works, they will be not be voted on by the members. In the end, the jurors can only recommend a few extra works, the other jurors will have their say on these and it is the membership that selects what will be on the final ballot.

    With that in mind, it is a bit more understandable that the board thought they could leave Riley as a juror. The jurors role is to stop people from gaming the category. But the memberships choices are there to balance possible bias from the juror.

    An interesting system.

  20. Beale’s service on that Nebula jury all those years ago and the thread about it on PNH’s Electrolite blog are the original reason Beale hates Scalzi, even though Scalzi’s first comment was: Not to be blandly practical-minded about this, but inasmuch as Mr. Beale and the rest of the Nebula novel jury members seem to have discharged their duty by selecting a novel that most would agree is of overall Nebula finalist caliber, and have done so with an apparent minimum of fuss, does it matter what his politics or personal opinions are, particularly in relation to being a Nebula jury member? The jury did make a reasonable selection, in my opinion.

  21. “Shun the non-believers! Shun! Shun!”

    That’s an interesting way of spelling “racist white supremacists”. It says much about you that this is the hill you’ve chosen to die upon.

  22. I recall that statement of Scalzi’s, but he wasn’t a member of that jury. Of course juries usually keep their deliberations confidential [mine did] so I’m not surprised none of them ever spoke up about it.

    But the point is that Theodore Beale, whose political views are observably extreme, did not seem to harm the jury process by participating.

  23. Of course juries usually keep their deliberations confidential [mine did] so I’m not surprised none of them ever spoke up about it.

    The fact that the juries keep their deliberations confidential is all the more reason to ensure that an obviously biased judge is not appointed to one. Scalzi’s statement is that the result of the jury’s deliberation seemed reasonable, but since no one knows what happened inside of it, one will never know if having Beale on the jury altered the outcome in a pernicious manner. If your process is a black box, then you have to make sure that the inputs into the black box are beyond reproach.

  24. Lois – further down in that comment thread, Debra Doyle mentions that she was on the jury in question, and that: Mr. Beale’s nom-de-rantage — or, for that matter, his day job — never came up in his dealings with the Nebula Jury, and I suspect never came up in his dealings with whoever vetted his credentials for SFWA membership. (Which is, despite the existence of Mr. Beale, in my opinion a good thing. I really don’t want any non-political organization of which I’m a member to start asserting the right to vet its membership rolls based on political opinion, since while I may be swimming in that organization’s mainstream today, there’s never any guarantee about tomorrow.)

  25. I’ve been a non-member of HWA even longer than SFWA, before they had juries at all, so I don’t know exactly what their inner workings are. But SFWA juries had a great deal of liberty to devise their own rules. If the jurors observed that one member was biased to the detriment of the process, they could easily have dealt with the problem if it arose.

  26. Anyone else completely unsurprised that our friend Sean here is standing up for the BNP and National Front member in question? The English have their own culture wars, and I think there’s something to be said for Sean’s internationalism, which is so rare amongst the puppy ranks (when the IRS is not involved, that is).

  27. If the jurors observed that one member was biased to the detriment of the process, they could easily have dealt with the problem if it arose.

    If they were aware of the problem.

  28. The hill I’ve chose to die upon? Hardly.

    I’m an attorney by profession, and, as such, I’ve had to learn to separate my personal creed from my professional duties. Attorneys are often required to represent people with whom they do not agree and often do not even like very much. It requires discipline, ethics, and an open mind, but separating one’s self from one’s duties is doable by most intelligent people, IMO.

    Here, we have someone with a somewhat loathsome political philosophy and creed, or a history of one at the very minimum. We also have someone who is an accomplished writer, who knows how to tell a good tale, and likely knows how to distinguish good writing from bad and the best writing from all of the good writing.

    However, it has been assumed by the majority of people posting here and quoted in-article that he is incapable of separating his personal beliefs and his professional responsibilities… without any evidence that this might be the case. As Niall points out, Mr. Beale managed to keep himself professional, to judge based on the merits, apparently, so why are we to assume any different here without an indication this would be an untrustworthy judge of writing.

    Innocent until proven guilty is often misunderstood. The charge is not that he is a person who’s political associations have been somewhat repugnant in the past and he might still hold distasteful beliefs. Of that, most humans, myself among them, would agree. Rather, the charge is that Mr. Riley cannot set aside his personal beliefs (whatever they may be) and judge works fairly. Here, he is innocent as there is no evidence otherwise.

    There is also some degree of conflation going on. Anti-immigration is being conflated as racist when the two do not necessarily walk hand in hand. Someone who is anti-immigration may well hold that position because they feel there job is threatened, or for other non-race related reasons. Selfishness? Yes. Racist? No.

    (For that matter, I know of a certain group of people who don’t like outsiders tinkering with their awards because they prefer the status quo. There are any number of reasons a person can oppose outside influence.)

    A similar conflation was made regarding affirmative action, and yet, I know people who can and would benefit from affirmative action who think it is vile. Are they racist… against themselves? That’s a bit of a stretch.

    I am not defending Mr. Riley or his beliefs. I *am* defending his right to hold those beliefs, however, and to be included in society as long as he makes worthwhile contributions thereto. Here, he has something to of value to give, a talent to share. Why not let him share it?

  29. “There is also some degree of conflation going on. Anti-immigration is being conflated as racist when the two do not necessarily walk hand in hand.”

    Interestingly, “we’re not racists, we just happen to oppose immigration because of, umm, other stuff” is the bill of goods that the BNP was set up to sell after the split from the NF. As they had two leaders convicted of inciting racial hatred I don’t think they sold it very well.

    In any case, the explicit racial component to the National Front position that he actively espoused means that particular hair can’t be split on his behalf.

  30. Can anyone frame rules of general application as to who should be excluded from literary juries? Are their beliefs prospective jurors must affirm before being appointed? What about sexism and homophobia?

  31. I’m an attorney by profession

    Then I’m sure you would be happy to have your black client’s case judged by a juror who is an openly avowed white supremacist. Wait, no, the legal profession doesn’t generally accept that, as such jurors can and are routinely stricken for cause. But since you’re an attorney, you should know that, which makes the rest of your comment meaningless twaddle.

    Innocent until proven guilty is often misunderstood.

    This isn’t a criminal case where Riley is a defendant. This is a question of whether a juror is fit to serve given their openly stated biases. Given that the sort of bias Riley has displayed routinely prevents people from participating in juries in the legal system, your resort to the legal system as an analogy seems to be ill-founded. One might go so far as to question how much you have actually paid attention to how the legal system works.

  32. If the other jurors are not aware of there being a problem and observe no detriment to the process, there probably isn’t a real problem.

  33. If the other jurors are not aware of there being a problem and observe no detriment to the process, there probably isn’t a real problem.

    How would you determine, based on the sample size of decisions a jury is likely to engage in, that a member’s biases have not affected the outcome?

  34. Yes, that’s exactly it. Striking an obviously biased juror for cause is “shunning”. Sure. You just keep defending that hill. It doesn’t make you look silly at all.

  35. The HWA does not support discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on political views.

    This quote just gets more odious the more I look at it.

    Step 1: Classify bigotry as “a political view.”
    Step 2: Hold up “political views” as a protected class, much like gender, national origin, ethnicity, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, and so forth.
    Step 3: Argue, based on these premises, that discriminating against racists is just as bad as discriminating against people of color.

    Yes, Sean, I will shun the hell out of white supremicists. I want nothing to do with them. I wish fervently for that particular “political view” to die out completely and at the soonest possible opportunity.

    I’ll go so far as to agree with Step 1 above: Bigotry is a political view. But it is a political view that is reprehensible. Holding that political view makes one unfit for polite company, political office, or inclusion on the jury for a respected award.

    “Political views” covers everything from bigotry to your next-door neighbor’s opinion on this year’s school board. “Discrimination against political views” covers everything from McCarthyism to, yes, shunning white supremecists. “We don’t discriminate against political views” is an underhanded argument that racism is no worse than membership in a mainstream political party. And I call bullshit on that.

  36. @Sean

    Beyond a reasonable doubt – the standard for a prosecution by the state. The police enforcement powers of the Horror Writers of America are new to me; would you care to elaborate?

    But if we are going to talk about the law, as attorneys, let’s take a look at the civil standard, which, some unknown police power of the HWA not being known to me, is what I assume is more pertinent. Someone who was deeply involved at more than the base level with an avowedly racist organization kept ties with its successor organization, and then lied about what the organization was and obfuscated their role. I’d say a preponderance of evidence says something here.

    I’ve heard a certain amount, in varying amounts of good faith this Spring, about the standards of a civilized society. Outside of Teddy’s followers, the inherent superiority of one race over another puts you beyond the pale, at least of people claiming to culture or education in such a society.

    Educated people know these things to be relics of the Middle Ages; and the obfuscation says something. The need to obfuscate this, behind wide-eyed claims of not knowing the platform of the party one stood for election in the name of or organized for, is concerning. (As is the precious wide-eyed, “anti-immigrant parties aren’t necessarily about racism” in the face of what every single one of them says about people of a brownish, or even more slavic, complexion.)

    There’s no right to chose to be a thinly-vieled Nazi; and I’m not sure I’m willing to compare it aspects of sexuality and color that are baked in. There are consequences; and I would think that the people who screamed loudly about how even talking about racism or sexism meant that your writing simply had to be unfit for an award would understand this.

  37. Aaron – I assume, invariably, that biases will always affect the outcome in such cases.

    Everyone is biased. Any jury will be comprised of biased individuals whose biases will doubtless affect their decisions in some way, whether they do this consciously or not. This is why the decisions of various juries will differ. The decisions of any given jury are likely to represent a compromise position, a midpoint of the various biases of the members.

    Your own strong biases here are quite clear. Does this mean you should be expelled from any position in which your biases might affect the outcome?

    What I consider the real danger is not that individual biases within a diverse membership might come into play from time to time, but that an organization will privilege certain biases over others, silencing those against whom others are biased.

    As I see that HWA has reversed its original decision, I would certainly have resigned from that organization if I hadn’t already done so, decades ago.

  38. Everyone is biased. Any jury will be comprised of biased individuals whose biases will doubtless affect their decisions in some way, whether they do this consciously or not.

    Sure, everyone has preferences and dislikes. That doesn’t mean the way to organize a jury is to ignore that some are more pernicious than others and just put anyone on it, even those who have publicly espoused positions that would strongly bias them against many of the works that come before them during such service merely as a result of the creator’s race.

    The credibility of an award is based upon the public perception of the award. Having a guy who stood for office as part of a fascist party and continues to espouse racist ideas as a juror for such an award will damage that credibility. If preventing white supremacists from having a seat at the jury table is “silencing” them, then the award is better off for doing so, no matter how much you want to whine about it. A juror with an obvious and public bias such as this undermines the integrity of an award: Note how people are still talking about the possibility that Beale’s service on a Nebula award might have harmed that year’s selections, despite the many attempts at assuring people it did not. Excluding a racist juror only damages the award in the eyes of apologists for racism.

    As I see that HWA has reversed its original decision, I would certainly have resigned from that organization if I hadn’t already done so, decades ago.

    So, the right of an openly avowed racist to sit on a jury for an award is the hill you’d choose to die upon?

  39. @Aaron
    So, what happens when the consensus decides that your viewpoint is the one that’s deemed pernicious and needs to be ostracized?

  40. @Sean

    So you and your puppy friends seem to have the illusion that all of our anger about the racism and sexism involved since the beginning has been concerned with concepts of fairness or some commitment to some nebulous tolerance.

    You are wrong, about this and the other things, because what this is about is the long arc of the moral universe bending towards the good. The last few decades have made it very clear that the sfnal world is vast, composed of people from many different backgrounds, whose experiences have shaped their view of the stories they can tell just as much as the experience of those people who first were published the genre did.

    They write and read sci-fi, and they often do it well. The outrage comes from the people who look at them and conclude that because their stories mention or allude to their experience, they must be bad. That any discussion of how race or gender impacts the stories people can tell means that their works are just pc box checks, and not damn fine sci-fi. That their presence is a blot on the real sci-fi, written about stuff that generally white, generally male people like. The rest of us who are not afraid of a different perspective can appreciate what phenomenal vistas and works this has opened up to the rest of us.

    Mr. Riley would appear to be one of you, one of those people who’d like to protect culture from the inflowing Others. The rest of us find that view morally reprehensible. whether he should or should not be on a jury is a question, in this day and age, if a lot of the writers whose works are being judged might as well not show up because Riley will assume they are the untermenschen interlopers.

  41. The judgment that “some biases are more pernicious than others” is a position of bias.

    There are only two choices: to privilege some biases over others, or to be neutral among them. If you once allow the position that some biases privileged over others, you’ve got the camel into the tent and there’s no stopping it from excluding any position whatsoever.

    Neutrality is the only ethical option.

  42. So, what happens when the consensus decides that your viewpoint is the one that’s deemed pernicious and needs to be ostracized?

    Riley is free to espouse his racist ideology all he wants. Others are free to choose not to put him in a particular position where that bias will affect the outcome. I’ll worry about your hypothetical when not being a white supremacist is deemed “pernicious”.

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