The last three years have been pretty amazing. Michelle, SC, and I have helped so many writers achieve their dreams, and that alone makes everything we do worth it. QK and NoQS have grown to be so much bigger than we ever expected, and I'd like to thank the writing community for that.
I'd also like to apologize.
As most of you know, SC is no longer a member of The QK Crew. I thought the diplomatic and professional thing to do was to stay silent. But you can't really do that in a community, and I'm sorry for trying.
The decision to part ways with SC wasn't made lightly, and I don't think I can stress that enough. I didn't just discuss it with Michelle, I sought the opinion of complete, unbiased strangers (https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3gskyk/does_lack_of_diversity_in_any_given_industry/). Why? Because I'm not arrogant enough to think my way of thinking is always right.
I have a few issue with the campaign, one being the use of the word 'racist', and the fact that it's being used without evidence. If you read my conversation with SC over twitter (August 11th), you'll see exactly where we disagree. He feels it's okay to call an industry racist without indisputable evidence (https://twitter.com/SC_Author/status/631157498058309632). I don't. I think it's mean and inconsiderate to the people who work in the industry (and who have donated their time to helping us with the contests). SC believes that a system can be racist, even if the people that comprise the system aren't (https://twitter.com/SC_Author/status/631147467405434880). I believe that a system can ONLY be racist if individuals within the system are acting on racist impulses. Lastly, I don't believe anger fixes anything. I think it makes things worse. SC disagrees(https://twitter.com/SC_Author/status/630486476183203840).
As you can see, most of the tweets referenced above are recent, yet I knew about the #WriteInclusively Campaign during QK2015. In fact, Michelle and I gave the go ahead for SC to use the #WriteInclusively campaign as a submission requirement for Query Kombat. Why? Because we believed in what he was doing, and we felt QK would be an excellent platform. As The QK Crew, we endorsed the #WriteInclusively campaign by partnering during QK2015.
Since then, Michelle and I feel like the tone of the campaign has darkened. On August 11th, Michelle brought her concerns to my attention. She, as well as others, were hurt by some of the things SC was tweeting. I decided to talk to him to get his point of view. During our discussion (both over twitter and via email) I asked him to consider creating another account for his campaign. Why? Because people who feel hurt by his accusations still need to read through his tweets to get pertinent contest info. Do you see our predicament?
The email I wrote to SC took a long time to write. I started and stopped a few dozen times because it was one of the hardest emails I've ever written. I DID say that "his passion for the Write Inclusively campaign may be unsettling or
uncomfortable for people who don't write from the POV of ethnic
characters, or who don't portray ethnic characters as 'honestly' as you
would like." 'Passion' is the operative word, but SC interpreted it as us siding with racist white people. We're not. Michelle and I WANT more diversity. What we don't want is for writers/agent/editors/publishers to feel attacked because they don't consciously tackle racial issues in their work. I don't want agents to feel attacked because their agency is comprised mostly of white people. And I don't want to accuse the industry that makes our contests possible without evidence.
There is a need for diversity in the publishing industry, but I don't feel the lack of it is due to racism or oppression (http://careers.penguinrandomhouse.com/ Check out the image on that page.). I think the stigma of little to no money in publishing drives the lack of diversity. Instead of shaking our fist and calling the industry racist, I think we should work with the industry to disprove negative statistics, and help advertise them to minorities in high school and college. The fact is, creativity is lacking in the education system (http://www.businessinsider.com/a-ted-talk-on-how-the-education-systen-is-killing-creativity-2013-1) and until we fix THAT (the foundation, IMO) we have little chance of making a lasting change.
I agree with SC's vision. I don't agree with his conclusion, and I don't think it meshes well with the spirit of our contests. Since SC post (http://scwrite.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-query-kombat-noqs-announcement.html), I've cut all communication with him. After the laughing, joking, and good times we've had over the years, to even imply that I'm racist because I don't agree with his conclusions is utter ridiculous. I never said he was wrong. Never once. I simply asked for evidence/testimony. I side with facts, and SC doesn't have them. Only when it is proven that the publishing industry has a track record of turning away qualified applicants of color will I accuse it of racism. To do so at any moment beforehand is shortsighted and hurtful.