Dave Truesdale on Diversity

Dave Truesdale has a post at According to Hoyt on the issue of diversity in Science Fiction [ direct link, archive link]. I’m technically not blogging this week but I can’t really ignore this one.

I’m not going to do a deep dive into the essay. It isn’t great or well argued. The initial premise is that calls for diversity are at odds with calls against cultural appropriation. This claim is stated rather than developed or substantiated. That claim then leads into this:

“That this is patently absurd even on its surface is laughable, but if you say something often enough and loud enough and have the media on your side…. But on the other hand they do not realize that, by their own definition and that of wikipedia, they are appropriating the distinct culture of the SF field, which is an inviolable crime in their eyes.”


You can’t appropriate a culture you are part of, so Dave Truesdale’s argument rest on an assumption that “they” are not part of the “distinct culture of the SF field”. This assumption is not overtly stated or explored.

There are also repeated complaints about the SFWA Bulletin.

The nature of the problem is exemplified in lengthy footnotes, including:

“The past three or four years of Hugo and Nebula fiction award winners bear this out unequivocally. If you are white (and especially those males who do not kow tow to the Woke’s party line PC ideology), you’re out. No awards for you. Belong to a minority (even an artificial one—are you a member of the diabetic minority and has the SF field oppressed or overlooked your work?—they seem to pop up all the time these days), are a person of color, or a woman, and we see that you’re Woke, then you’re one of our kind of people. You wrote someting last year? Great, we’ll see about getting you on the ballot—after all, diversity.”

He says “woke” a lot.

He makes the “diversity of thought” claim a lot and again does not expand upon on it.

In short, it is an essay in the style of Dave Truesdale at Sarah Hoyt’s blog complaining about diversity — picture what that might be like…and that’s what this is.

48 thoughts on “Dave Truesdale on Diversity

  1. I tried to decide if this would be better or worse than a Dave Freer rant on diversity, but I think it’s a dead heat.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Probably not. Given his use of “inviolable”, I’d be amazed if Truesdale knows what “shibboleth” means.

        Words. Just so hard.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “To be [thing] or not to be [thing]” is up there with “The dictionary defines [thing] as…” for terrible ways to open a blog post or speech.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that’s some open white supremacy there. Truesdale is asserting the bigoted statement that SF (which isn’t all in English,) is white culture (which does not exist,) and that POC SF authors are invaders who shouldn’t be allow to appropriate (imperialism) what he believes should only be owned, written and read by white people, preferably white men, as a white ethnostate of fiction publishing. You don’t usually get that much direct Klan rhetoric in a complaint about how dare POC be in publishing too.

    Meanwhile the demographic make-up of English language book publishing is still 84% white publishing professionals and about 75% white fiction authors, completely out of whack with the actual population, even back decades ago. And that isn’t because fiction in English is “white culture,” as we know. It’s because white men have for decades blocked white women and POC authors from publishing as much as they could get away with, and have been prejudiced against those authors when it comes to awards. Now that people are less bigoted in SFF, this guy is sad.

    Again and again, these folk treat diversity as some sort of movement and ideology muscling into “their” supposed turf rather than the factual statistical make-up of human beings — in which white people have always been a minority that attacked other groups. They treat diverse reality as a negative and the mythic, prejudiced idea that they alone own things as a demand we must all bow down to. This is the guy who, in a petition he was inexplicably given to draft, asserted that it was a mistake that women had been allowed to vote. Before that, I had never heard of the guy. Since then, he’s still one of the openly prejudiced men who show up to periodically throw temper tantrums about how he is king and why doesn’t anybody see that he is king.

    What is really funny is the other people who must have egged him on — “yeah Dave, declaring POC writing SF as cultural appropriation of white people is right on! Everyone will be impressed!”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It’s not just that he wants POC to get out of SFF, he wants white women (unless they use male pen names) and LGBTQ people out, too. SFF for straight white cissexual men only. And I strongly suspect that he’d love to get rid of the second F, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Belong to a minority (even an artificial one—are you a member of the diabetic minority and has the SF field oppressed or overlooked your work?—they seem to pop up all the time these days),”

        I wondered if it was an auto-correct typo or something. It just seems odd to single out ‘diabetic’ as ‘artificial’…but it was probably just a random word choice.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think he’s selecting diabetic as an example of what he assumes is ridiculous diversity — if you think it’s bad if a story is all-white, how come you don’t complain when it doesn’t have diabetic representation? Checkmate!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Of course, diabetes does feature in SFF on occasion. I remember a vampire novel from approx. 10 years ago, where vampires particularly enjoyed the blood of diabetics and conspired to make people eat more unhealthy food, so there’d be more diabetics with tasty sweet blood.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. I was thinking diabetes isn’t such a ridiculous thing to have represented in an SFF story….certainly not as ridiculous as oppressed white men whose SF fandom culture is being misappropriated.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. When I read “Belong to a minority (even an artificial one—are you a member of the diabetic minority and has the SF field oppressed or overlooked your work?—they seem to pop up all the time these days),” line, I thought he was alluding to a different argument altogether.

        Back in the 80s when conservative pundit Robert Novak was on some of those panel news/commentary shows he would refuse to discuss gay rights issues at all, dismissing it with the line, “The proposition that homosexuality is a civil rights issue is absurd. What’s next, a hypocondriacs rights movement?”

        The longer argument (which is still made by more than a few conservatives) goes thus: while they do not concede that racial anti-discrimination laws and the like are necessary, they will concede that racial and ethnic groups are legitimate minorities–being African-American or Jewish or Chinese-American, et al is a matter of genetics and heritage which are things that one is born into. Whereas queerness is at best a mental illness.

        So that’s what I thought he was alluding to with the artificial minorities comment: gay men, lesbians, trans people, non-binary people, asexuals, et al aren’t “real” minorities.

        Of course, they object to representation and inclusion of the minorities they claim are legitimate, too, but being disingenuous is a feature of the conservative mindset, not a bug.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Five years ago
        I used to listen to fanzines flow
        Talkin’ bout the way
        They rocked the mic at the Hugo
        I liked how that shit was goin’ down
        With my own sound
        So I tried to write reviews
        Somethin’ like them, my boys said,
        “That ain’t you Dave,

        O P – Original Pupster

        Liked by 2 people

  4. “That this is patently absurd even on its surface is laughable”

    I’m not sure if my reading comprehension or the mad genius copy editing is the problem here – but what is that supposed to mean? Did he mean “this is laughable and patently absurd”, or “the proposition “this is patently absurd” is laughable and obviously false”? The former makes most sense in context, but the latter seems to be a more direct interpretation of that sentence.

    (And reading the sentence before – which “this” probably refers to – doesn’t help much.)

    Incidentally, this:
    “The initial premise is that calls for diversity are at odds with calls against cultural appropriation. ”
    is a premise I’m inclined to agree with. These two things are to some extent at odds with each other – which is something a better author might have been able to write an interesting essay about.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. There’s a conflict when looked at in terms of an individual writer extending the range of characters they have in terms of the cultures they represent and the issue of cultural appropriation. There’s zero conflict when considering a field of writing because a more culturally diverse set of writers reduces issues of cultural appropriation.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. It’s another of his malapropisms, like “inviolable”. He thinks “laughable” means something like “obvious”. Or maybe he meant to add “laughably obvious” when he started the sentence and then got lost in his own sentence structure. It’s the towering intellect and inborn command of the English language typical of white cis het Protestant superior beings.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Someone is fantasizing about stringing up political opponents, though. Worse, it’s a commenter whose handle I remember from showing up on other SFF related blogs before the puppy mess took off.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. This is why I don’t go anywhere near their Stormfront style stuff. The excerpts Camestros brings us are bad enough. After having to endure the ridiculous, ever shifting Puppy harassment material, I have no need to wade in further.

        Liked by 3 people

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