Cross-posted to Blogging in Black

I’ve refrained from commenting on this firestorm in a teapot 1) because I needed something to write about for this month’s blog for Blogging in Black and 2) because I know that EVERYONE follows the day to day online drama of genre writing.

Or maybe not, so let’s play catch up.

The overarching issue, in general, is whether we have the right to post personal/professional correspondence. On point, the issue is if you get a rejection letter from an editor and it contains racial epithets, should you post it on your blog?

Needless to say, some of the genre writers of color had a few words to say about this. Though the original site of the posted letter is undergoing some retroactive sanitation, the internet is forever and K. Tempest Bradford handled her business, not only preserving some of the note’s salient points but pretty much covering most of what I would have said on the topic.

Tobias Buckell dissected the various stages of racist thought (and then documented said offending editor’s further digging himself into a hole). Some people may consider these two writers part of the virtual lynch mob or participants in “political correctness run amuck” (a phrase usually doled out by a troll hiding behind a name like TooChickenSh*tToPostUnderMyRealNameButAren’tIBraveBehindMyKeyboard). To me they’re just frontline soldiers up against what we have to face entirely too often: a mentality that needs to be recognized for what it is, highlighted when it occurs, and rooted out.

Professionalism is a two way street. I, as a writer, should try and maintain professional practices as part of me submitting stories and corresponding to editors, agents, publishers, etc. I fully expect professional treatment in return from those self-same folks. I know plenty of editors who post missives received from disgruntled submitters, some delete the offenders names, some do not (preferring to leave the bloody stump of their head on a virtual spike on teh Interwebz as an example of what not to do).

The larger issue may be whether any correspondence should be posted on the Internet. Online etiquette says no, at least not without the person’s permission. “Piss me off etiquette” says you might reap what you sow. To be honest, I fully recognize that this is a digital age, so ALL of my correspondence is written with the idea that it is one button click from being forwarded to the entire online world. I imagine most editors should know this, too.

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.