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Isolate the target. That’s the first rule of mobbing. But who knew it would result in so many targets?
My sister and I are writers. She’s romance, I’m mystery. We’re both members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). So, when a fairly big-name romance writer, Courtney Milan, was censured by RWA for cyberbullying, we got curious about what was going on. We got even more curious when Milan’s gang turned on the RWA board and got most to resign, ruined the reputation of the gay man who became president, and seems on the verge of taking down the 9,000+ member organization.
Curiosity killed the cat, they say.
(And you can skip down to the learnings at the bottom, if you want to bypass the whole, sordid story.)
Our tale beings with an editor named Sue Grimshaw, who once worked as a romance buyer for Borders Books. During the time she worked there, Borders had the awful policy of segregating black romance writers into the African American section of books, which severely limited their market reach. Because of this segregation, a separate buyer bought romances from African American authors (i.e., Grimshaw never had a chance to discriminate against African American authors, even if she’d wanted to). There’s no public evidence I could find that Sue Grimshaw had any influence over the policy. But it was there and she was there, so clearly, she’s a racist (says the mob).
Borders is gone, and Sue went on with her life. Recently, she got a job with a small press, Marie Force Publishing, and the mob descended, baying for her firing. Marie Force complied.
Sue also was working with another small press owned by Suzan Tisdale. The mob, led by Courtney Milan, descended on Tisdale via Twitter, demanding Grimshaw’s firing. They pointed to tweets Grimshaw had liked “proving” her racism. These were tweets by people like Charlie Kirk, and of a picture of Trump posing with ICE border guards, and (the horror), she actually liked some Bible passages. Courtney assured Tisdale there were hundreds more just like them, but Grimshaw had deleted them. Tisdale looked at the “evidence,” and said they were just political tweets, proving nothing more than that Grimshaw was a conservative. She refused to fire Grimshaw.
Big mistake. Tisdale was declared racist. After all, her new company hadn’t published any authors of color. Nevermind it was a start-up and hadn’t published any authors at all. Those are facts and the mob relies on emotion. So, the mob turned to look at who else was working for or associating with Tisdale. (Tisdale claims several authors she’d lined up for her new company have since fled.)
Enter Kathryn Lynn Davis, one of Tisdale’s other editors and a romance writer herself. One of Courtney’s acolytes dug up a paragraph from a historical romance by Davis set in the 19th century, where the half-Chinese heroine was portrayed as “submissive” and Chinese culture as “patriarchal.” Worse – she was blue-eyed.
Davis claimed the paragraph was taken out of context, and over the course of the novel, the heroine becomes more independent, but no matter. She’s a racist. Deplatformed. Davis claims she lost a three-book deal due to the online smears.
Davis and Tisdale filed ethics complaints with RWA, where they were also members, along with Milan. Since the ethics board was run by Courtney Milan, she was asked to step down and a new board that wasn’t filled with her friends appointed. She was censured.
Here things get tricky because it isn’t clear proper procedure was followed. Milan may well be innocent per RWA’s policies, rules, and regs. But Romancelandia went nuts. Milan successfully spun the affair as Asian-American author criticizes racist book and is then censured by racist RWA. Most of the board resigned, claiming they’d been unaware of anything. If true, that definitely means something was wrong with procedures, though the remaining board members claimed they’d all voted not just on accepting the ethics committee report, but also on the censure.
Per the by-laws, Damon Suede suddenly became the president. And here’s where we see an example of why intersectionality fails. He went from being a gay ally to just another white male oppressor in the blink of an eye. The mob descended. He was called a liar. A fraud. Possibly criminal. Definitely racist (duh).
The RWA private message boards fired up, the SJW squad bringing out all sorts of examples of RWA’s racism. And … I have to say they had some good points. There is real evidence that some racist stuff’s gone down there, which I won’t bore you with. Just look up #RitasSoWhite if you want more.
Another author, Cherry Adair, stuck her head out and said these women weren’t racist. She’s now been declared a “known racist” on blogs and social media and has had to take down all her social media sites. I think she’s big enough to weather the storm, but … it’s horrible.
The RWA board backed down and un-censured Milan, pending legal review. But that wasn’t enough. It’s never enough.
My sister reviewed the evidence, pondered, and in a late-night fit of insanity, asked on the message board if there was any other evidence of Target Zero, Sue Grimshaw’s, racism.
So my sister’s a racist now. You don’t ask the mob questions (and there was nothing more). The SJWs referred her to writings on “white fragility” because, clearly, my sister needed to correct her thinking.
Digging the hole deeper, my sister replied that she was familiar with Critical Race Theory and thought White Fragility was the Kobayashi Maru of theories – there’s no way to win and no way out. If you don’t agree with white fragility, it’s proof of your fragility and racism, but if you agree with white fragility, you’re a racist, because under CRT, all white people are racist and will forever be racist – their only hope is to become slightly less racist if they have the emotional stamina to undertake the work.
The effect was akin to telling a bunch of jihadis that she didn’t believe in Allah. Now she’s not just racist, she’s racist “trash.”
Although this was a private board, it’s already gone out on Twitter that her books are not to be purchased, because … racist. So far, it’s only been a couple of posts, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed it stays that way. We’ve developed a game plan if it gets bigger, but hope we don’t have to use it, because you just can’t win. But it’s astonishing how quickly this has spiraled outward.
In the end, my sister was really writing her posts for the people in RWA who still believe facts have value but were too scared to speak out. And a few have started. But things aren’t looking good.
- There are two types of SJW mobsters. The first is easily identifiable, behaving like mindless cult members. They can only insult you and parrot the catchphrases, “gaslighting, white privilege, white fragility,” etc., etc., ad nauseam. The second type appears reasonable. They’re “genuinely curious” about your point of view. Don’t be fooled. They only want you to talk more so they can leap on your dog whistles – or get the cultist-types to do it for them.
- Facts and logic makes no impression on SJW mobsters (monsters?). They only respond with rhetoric, insults, and pre-set talking points, and those points all basically boil down to you being a racist.
- If you do insist on arguing, keep your arguments short and to one point. SJW mobsters will ignore any facts you may have gathered and target what they imagine is happening in your racist little head based on a close reading of your text. You can’t convince them, but you may be able to convince some silent onlookers. It’s the rare bird who will publicly help you out, but it may do some good down the road.