One of my favorite words in Filipino is “Kalinga”. It’s a complex and multifaceted word whose meaning encompassing feelings of caring, refuge and kindness.
The fallout from the reprehensible actions of the rage blogger ‘Requires Hate” (et al) has made one thing very clear. There is a need for a place where writers like me (People of Colour and other marginalized groups) can express our thoughts and opinions, raise issues and express emotions, or simply be our authentic selves without fear of repression and bullying. This, I feel (without passing judgement), is best done on a site run by people who are primarily PoC, on an online home where we can control our own narratives.
Tade Thompson and some PoC volunteers have now put up the site called ‘Safe‘ where PoC writers can feel the inexpressible comfort of feeling ‘Kalinga’ — a place of fellowship and friendship, as well as a place of refuge where those who have been hurt can come to heal.
Because ‘Safe‘ is meant to be an inclusive environment, everyone – no matter what your ethnicity, gender, gender preference, etc. – is welcome to be a part of it, as long as we all agree to be respectful, act like mature adults and follow the rules of the site.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou
Art: “Ang Bayanihan” by Mattersmost
I just can’t keep silent on this any longer.
This whole thing that’s happening to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz is real and has affected me personally as well. I am choosing not to talk about my own experience because I feel that it is irrelevant and takes away from the larger narrative. This whole affair pains me a lot as I had nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for some of the writers involved. However I am aghast to learn that that this kind of crap/shit storm is what we should expect as a new writer coming from the fringes of the SFF world.
Is this really what we have to look forward to?
Whatever your skin colour, your nationality or your gender preference is you have no right to bully and troll. You have no right to blacklist writers you do not like just because they have dissenting opinions or are not part of your cult of sycophants. You are free to judge a person’s writing as long as you do it fairly and objectively. You can even eviscerate it if it sucks – but you have no right to judge the person. As many before me have pointed out, this is not literary criticism, this is silencing. Those of you who enjoy hate as entertainment should take a long hard look into your mirrors. You may not like what you see.
I won’t say anything more about this other than the fact that I have made the conscious decision to make most of my submissions to regional Asian publications. I believe that the only way to make a safe place for people like me to write our stories is to create and nurture our own markets — however small that may be for now.
Here is Rochita’s post on this and she has my 100% support – “Standing Up and Speaking Truth”
Here is the original report on this matter from Laura J. Mixon – “A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names“