Response Part IV

Section 3 is where Matthew Johnson really begins to send the SFWA Board Report off the rails of reason:

3. Harassment

The following is the SFWA policy on harassment:
The SFWA administration, employees, members, and volunteers are responsible for assuring that all persons who participate in SFWA programs and activities do so in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Sexual harassment is unlawful and impedes the realization of SFWA’s mission to inform, support, promote, defend and advocate for our members. SFWA will respond promptly and effectively to reports of harassment and discrimination of any kind and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and if necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this policy. This policy applies to any events or spaces sponsored by SFWA, including but not limited to the SFWA discussion Forums, the SFWA website, the Nebula Awards Weekend, and the SFWA suite.

The final sentence of this policy explicitly states that it applies to all online spaces controlled by SFWA. While SFWA does not directly control what is posted to the SFWAAuthors account, the account is moderated by SFWA officers, employees and volunteers, making it analogous to the SFWA discussion Forums. The question, then, is whether the blog post of Thursday, June 13 published through the SFWAAuthors account made it impossible for “all persons who participate in SFWA programs and activities do so in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation.”

There are three elements to consider: whether Beale made personal attacks against other members in SFWA controlled spaces, whether he created a hostile environment through his use of rhetoric and imagery associated with known racist movements, and whether he published threats against other members on the blog through his use of the SFWAAuthors Twitter feed.

Personal attacks
The blog post contained several personal attacks on SFWA members:
… Theresa Nielsen Hayden is dumb (see Fig A.11)
… the fat frog that is Nielsen Hayden (ibid.)
… we simply do not view her [Jemisin] as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not (ibid.)
… whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her [Jemisin], who are half-savages engaged in attacking white people (ibid.)

Mr. Beale has also engaged in personal attacks on members on the SFWA discussion Forums:

“I have zero interest in debating with you, Mr. Sanford. I enjoy challenges and you’re not half as intelligent as people I’ve crushed in three exchanges.”
(Posted in reply to member Jason Sanford June 13, 2013 and deleted by moderators. See Fig A.12 and A.13)

“Fuck you. Fuck you for asserting that the go-to-public immediately was the least-bad choice available. Fuck you for asserting that “wise” isn’t the appropriate measure. Fuck you for lightly passing over the possibility of picking up the phone. Yes, to all of that, “fuck you” is probably the politest thing to say in response.”
(Posted in reply to member C.E. Petit March 10, 2013 and deleted by moderators. See Fig A.14)

Use of rhetoric and imagery associated with known racist movements

Along with specific personal attacks, the blog post published through the SFWAAuthors feed also contained material that may be seen to have contravened the harassment policy due to its use of rhetoric and imagery associated with racist movements. Specifically, Mr. Beale’s post drew heavily on imagery and rhetoric associated with “reasonable racism,” which is defined by Priscilla Marie Meddaugh and Jack Kay as “a tempered discourse that emphasizes pseudo-rational discussions of race” and is primarily associated with the group Stormfront. (Meddaugh, Priscilla Marie and Kay, Jack(2009) ‘Hate Speech or “Reasonable Racism?” The Other in Stormfront’, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 24: 4, 251 — 268)

Meddaugh and Kay describe Stormfront’s approach in this way: “Though a gateway to other on-line white supremacist organizations, creator Don Black dissuades promoting violence, as well as the use of blatant racist or otherwise inflammatory rhetoric regarding contributions specific to Stormfront. Rather, he favors ‘quasi-scientific or pseudo-intellectual identifications of racial differences.’” (Meddaugh and Kay, citing Abel, D. S. (1998).The racist next door. New Times: Broward-Palm Beach.) Drawing on rhetoric and imagery associated with this and related groups in a post published through an official SFWA channel, therefore, may be seen as being the equivalent of wearing Nazi regalia or using a racist epithet at a SFWA event or social function.

As the title of their article suggests, Meddaugh and Kay identify a concern with “the Other” as a primary element of the group’s beliefs and symbolism. Following an analysis of 115 articles on the Stormfront discussion board, Meddaugh and Kay identify several motifs related to “the Other” that are characteristic of Stormfront and related groups. These include the Other as genocidal threat, the Other as false martyr, the Other as oppressor and the Other as inferior. Beale’s use of these four motifs in the post published on the SFWAAuthors feed will now be examined and compared to texts associated with Stormfront and related groups.

The Other as genocidal threat

A consistent motif identified by Meddaugh and Kay is the perception of the Other as a threat to all White people. Here is a quote from the Beale blog post that employs this motif (throughout, “she” refers to Ms. Jemisin): She is lying about the laws in Texas and Florida too. The [Stand Your Ground] laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.[Italics and text in parentheses added: see Fig A.15]

Here is a quote from poster “Global Minority” on the Stormfront discussion board from April 22, 2012: Every race other than Blacks knows deep down these “people” are brute savages that don’t belong in civilized society. I support any group of people defending themselves against black thuggery and violence. And I support any people or organization that fight against so called “Black Civil Rights” Organizations which are really fronts to disarm Whites of their absolute right to firearms (people in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case are discussing getting rid of concealed carry and stand your ground laws), property (Civil Rights Act of 64), and equal protection under the law(through hate crime legislation, affirmative action etc)

And from poster “Volkolak” from March 22, 2011: “If you live in a state with pathetic gun laws, try to move as soon as possible to a state with Castle Doctrine or even better extended Castle Doctrine, where the law is that you have no duty to retreat or de-escalate a situation ANYWHERE that you have a legal right to be (sidewalk, grocery store, name a place) and may stand your ground and use lethal force. Also, carry extra mags. Many older Whites who do carry, carry low capacity semi-autos or revolvers as this was logically enough in their day. Sadly, in today’s world I have come to believe that capacity should be a siginificant factor in choosing your carry weapon for situations like these. Negroes attack in packs like most primitive lifeforms. When I chose a carry weapon, I chose based upon what I feel is adequate to go up against 3-6 feral savages determined to take me out, not what it takes to ward off one or two human assailants with nothing more than simple robbery in mind.” [emphasis in original]

The Other as false martyr

Meddaugh and Kay describe this motif in this way: “The category of the other as false martyr is portrayed in Stormfront Web pages as phony victim who recasts the facts of the past to privilege the other in the present.” Here is a quote from the Beale blog that depicts Ms. Jemisin, and African- Americans in general, in this way:

“She could, if she wished, claim that privileged white males are responsible for the decline of Detroit, for the declining sales of science fiction, even for the economic and cultural decline of the United States, but that would not make it true. It would not even make it credible. Anyone who is paying sufficient attention will understand who is genuinely responsible for these problems.”(ibid.)

Here is a similar example from the article “George Washington: Politically Incorrect,” written by former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke and posted widely on racist sites, including the Stormfront site: “Slavery had a pernicious impact on White people in America, corrupting those classes who owned slaves and harming those Whites who did not… Its real damage has been that it placed a people in our midst who as a group have little aptitude for our technology, no empathy with our culture, no adulation for our history and heroes, and no love for us, only resentment for perceived past wrongs… In North America, slavery was unique only in the fact that it was the kindest expression of it on earth. American Whites treated their Black slaves far better than African Blacks treated their own Black slaves. For this are Whites to be condemned?”

The Other as Oppressor

To again cite Meddaugh and Kay, “The category of the other as tyrannical in Stormfront Web pages depicts an oppressor who subjugates the privileges of whites for the promotion of a multicultural society.” Randy Blazak identifies a resistance to multiculturalism and diversity efforts as a key element of Nazi skinhead recruitment efforts: Perhaps the newest recruitment technique is to target schools that are experiencing a curriculum shift toward multiculturalism. As history and social science books are retooled to be more inclusive, the voice that is diminishing is the hegemonic, straight,White male perspective.Without the proper context, this shift can seem to be a conspiracy to write White contributions out of the standard educational curriculum.

Several high schools in Oregon have been targeted for recruitment using the backlash against multiculturalism as a way in. (Randy Blazak, White Boys to Terrorist Men: Target Recruitment of Nazi Skinheads, American Behavioral Scientist 44 (2001): 982–1000.) Blazak cites a 26-year-old former recruiter for the Nazi skinhead movement explaining the value of this approach: It’s really easy. You find out what’s happening in a school and then find out where the kids hang out. You get some stupid conversation going and then you ask themabout school. They bitch and moan and you say, “Yeah, it was a lot better in my day when we didn’t have gangs and people who can’t even speak English and all this multicultural shit.” I’d say, “Don’t you think it’s fucked up that you can have a Black student union but not a White student union? Why are the Blacks allowed to be racist?” And you can see them agreeing. I say, “Did you ever own a slave? Did you  ever kill an Indian? So why are they trying to make you feel guilty for being White?” Before they can answer I’d start telling them about ZOG. About how the Jews are behind all this to fuck over the White man. I give them the whole line, multiculturalism, gay rights, affirmative action. (Blazak)

Similarly, Beale in his post blames increased diversity in the SFF field for “the continued self-destruction of science fiction” (see Fig A.16) and further says “Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for ‘reconciliation’ and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance… There can be no reconciliation between the observant and the delusional.” (See Fig A.17.Ellipsis in original.)

The Other as inferior

One of the most important influences on modern “reasonable racism” is the writings of Dr. William L. Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries and founder of the Neo-Nazi National Alliance (see “William Pierce, Neo-Nazi Leader, Dies,” The New York Times July 24 2002 Pierce’s writings are found in many places on Stormfront and similar sites such as National Vanguard, in particular his article “Equality: Man’s Most Dangerous Myth,” which introduce the motif common among racist groups that non-whites are genetically different from whites, and therefore incapable of the same achievements:

The fact is, however, that the most important racial differences are genetic rather than cultural. Skin and eye color, facial features, skull shape, skeletal proportions, patterns of body fat disposition, tooth size, jaw shape, female breast form, odor, and hair texture are only the most noticeable genetically determined physical characteristics which differ racially. Beyond these things are the entire biochemical constitution and development of the individual. There are profound racial differences in blood chemistry, in endocrine function, and in physiological response to environmental stimuli. Blacks and Whites mature at different rates. They have different susceptibilities to many disease organisms as well as different patterns of congenital disease. They even have different nutritional requirements.

Here is a quote from Beale’s article echoing the point:

“Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.” (Fig A.18)

Though Beale does not explicitly state that Jemisin’s purported genetic differences make her inferior to him, the point is implied throughout the post. In another blog post, which was not published through the SFWAAuthors feed or any other SFWA channel, he makes his point more explicitly: “Africans [are] a genetically distinct population group, a group that therefore must necessarily be either inferior or superior to other population groups.” (See Fig A.19)

A related motif in the rhetoric and imagery of these groups is that non-whites are incapable of true civilization. Here is Pierce again, from the same article:

“Negro culture is not merely different from White culture; it is a less advanced culture and, by practically any standard, inferior. It is a culture which never advanced to the point of a written language or a civilized society. It never saw even the barest glimmerings of mathematics or the invention of the wheel. The culture of a race, free of alien influences, is telling evidence of that race’s essential nature. The African Negro with a cow-dung hairdo, a bone through his nose, and teeth filed down to sharp points, in other words, presents to us a far more accurate image of the Negro essence than does the American Black in a business suit who has been trained to drive an automobile, operate a typewriter, and speak flawless English. The hokum currently being served up in the schools about a centuries-old Negro “civilization” based on the ruins of stone walls found at Zimbabwe, in Rhodesia (note: at the time of this writing, the country was still called Rhodesia) is simply the product of wishful thinking by proponents of racial equality who are willing to ignore all facts which conflict with their equalitarian mania.” [Text in parentheses in original]

Here is a post by Stormfront poster “One Man” from November 26, 2011:
“You cannot turn primitive, low IQ savages into First World whites. If these aboriginals had the mental wherewithal to build a great civilization, they would. But they do not because they cannot.”

And Beale, from his post:
“Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine”(See Fig A.20)

Rape threat against SFWA member by blog commenter

This section will look specifically at a single comment made by poster “Idle Spectator Jackson” on the blog post that was published through the SFWAAuthors Twitter feed:

 someone needs to run a train with the homeboys
next stop, Jemisin
(see Fig A.21)

In this context, “run a train” is clearly a rape threat. Appendix III looks at the question of considering posts by commenters, but in this case there is the added issue that by leaving the tweet linking to the post on the SFWAAuthors feed after he was aware of this comment, Beale was essentially publishing this comment though a SFWA channel. This is particularly important because, as the comment was the first one made on the post, it would have been seen by anyone who read the full post.

A timeline of events helps to make the question more clear:

June 6, 2013 (all times in EST except as otherwise noted)
4:29 AM Blog entry is posted to Beale’s blog (ibid.)
4:38 AM Rape threat comment is posted to Beale’s blog (ibid.)
4:45 AM Link to blog post is posted on SFWAAuthors feed
5:12 AM First complaint is received
5:28 AM Beale replies to a comment on his blog, showing that he has read comments (see Fig A.22)
5:41 AM First screenshot of tweet is taken (in Pacific Time Zone: see Fig A.23)
6:45 AM Second screenshot of tweet is taken (see Fig A.24)
7:09 AM SFWA Secretary is notified of issue and instructed to delete tweet
7:25 AM SFWA Secretary deletes tweet

As the above timeline makes clear, Beale had read the rape threat comment while the post was still being published on the SFWAAuthors feed, and chose not to delete the post, delete the comment or request that the tweet be deleted in the roughly two hours before that time and when the tweet was deleted by SFWA. (As Appendix I shows, Beale actively manages comments on his blog.)

Now, the first thing that is readily apparent is that Mr. Johnson is unaware that I am a bona fide Person of Color even though that information has been readily available to the public via this blog since 2009.  So, his attempt to manufacture nonexistent ties between Stormfront and a Person of Color are, in addition to being intrinsically absurd, severely misguided, deeply hurtful, and, for all I know, defamatory hate speech in his native Canada.

The second thing is that Johnson repeats his previous errors concerning the nature of social media.  The Twitter account is not an “an event or space sponsored by SFWA” and the blog post was not “published through the SFWAAuthors account”.

The third thing is that despite being a “science fiction” writer, Mr. Johnson apparently knows very little about science, particularly human genetics.  There is nothing “quasi-scientific” about my observations concerning human biodiversity, and my comments simply reflect the present state of the science based on the scientific papers most currently published on the subject.

The fourth thing is that Mr. Johnson is selectively editing his quotes to make them look less specific than they actually are.  Just to give one example, I did not say “Teresa Hayden Nielsen is dumb”, but rather “Theresa Nielsen Hayden is dumb enough to have claimed a prominent Game
blogger with three Billboard-charting club hits ‘is not acquainted with
actual women.'”  He repeatedly characterizes my defenses against the attacks of others as attacks on them.

The fifth thing is that there are 339 comments on that blog post.  The fact that I have responded to one comment in no way indicates that I have read them all.  I have not, in fact, read them all. I don’t recall reading the “threat”, but now that I have, I would be remiss if I did not point out that it is not a threat at all.  “Run a train” does not refer exclusively to rape, as it also refers to consensual group sex.  I am surprised to see that as a supposedly professional writer, Johnson fails to notice that “someone” is not the object of the sentence, but the subject, therefore indicating that it is the consensual aspect that must be the correct interpretation.  If Jemisin is running the train, then obviously she is not doing so without her consent.  The comment may have been insulting to Ms Jemisin’s virtue, but it is obviously not a rape threat, especially since there is no evidence suggesting Idle Spectator Jackson is a “homeboy” and therefore capable of carrying out the “threat”.

The sixth thing is the outlandish notion that I am responsible in any way for comments made by other individuals on my blog.  But that being the standard being set by the board, it’s now time to request assistance from the various volunteers.  Here’s what will be useful for my response to the Board:

1. Threats of violence made by SFWA members or any of their commenters on their blogs and social media accounts, or use of language that can be tied to various unpopular groups.  Complete with links to the material, please. Example:

Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia 18 Jun
@nkjemisin Just saw that fuckshit post. I offer my savage services to kick his teeth in.

N. K. Jemisin N. K. Jemisin ‏@nkjemisin 18 Jun
@Karnythia I got yo steel-toed boots ready, BB….

Mikki Kendall ‏@Karnythia 18 Jun
@nkjemisin Who am I kneecapping? I like kneecaps.

In addition to two threats of violence which have not been blocked from her Twitter feed and an implied endorsement of those threats, N.K. Jemisin has also used disease-language in reference to me, which is of course indicative of “The Other as genocidal threat” and “may be seen to have contravened the harassment policy due to its use of rhetoric and imagery associated with racist movements such as the National Socialist German Worker’s Party”.  And she is far from the only SFWA member to do so. 

2. Personal insults directed at me or my commenters by SFWA Members or any of their commenters on their blogs and social media accounts.  Complete with links. Example: then-SFWA President John Scalzi:

Folks, as you may know, out there on the Internets there is a Racist
Sexist Homophobic Dipshit who at the moment has an adorable mancrush on
me. This means that he can hardly go a day or two without saying
something about me on his Web site, usually something which reflects his
own deep and abiding personal insecurities. And of course, this is his
prerogative; if it makes him feel better about himself and pumps up his
social status with his clutch of equally insecure racist sexist
homophobic dipshit admirers, then by all means he can spout as much
garbage about me as he likes. It does no harm to me (as noted before, no
one outside his little huddle of bigots gives much mind to anything he
has to say about anything, much less anything  he has to say about me)
and I suppose it keeps him from playing in traffic. So, fine.

Please keep in mind that this is only the third section of the report, and while its scope is theoretically limited to the one blog post due to the already disproven claim of a Twitter account being “an SFWA channel”, that is not the case with some of the subsequent sections.  Notice too how most of the things to which Mr. Johnson refers are replies, but this “comprehensive” report mysteriously omits any information about that to which I am replying.  For example, what appears to be a completely over-the-top response to C.E. Petit was simply a paraphrase of John Scalzi’s public response to Random House in a discussion about whether the SFWA President was handling the matter in a responsible and professional manner.

And for any SFWA member who doubts that the material I am posting here is legitimate, I repeat my offer to send you the 34-page PDF.  This section represents pages eight through fourteen, so we’ve still got 20 more pages to go.  And it doesn’t get any more sane or substantial.

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