So, I’m going to talk about writers and artists and politics and those who think we should keep our mouths shut and stick to writing books. And my simple response is: Bullshit. All art is political to some degree–all books have a connection to the author. Over the millennia, writers have tackled social issues in their books–both fiction and nonfiction, and whether right or left wing, have created utopias/dystopias/societies that mirror their ideals or their fears, and sometimes a combination of both. The minute you pick up a pen, you run the risk of influencing someone, and sometimes that’s our goal. But what I want to address is the current idea some readers have that writers, artists, musicians, should keep their mouths shut about politics.
To that I say: bullshit. We are human, we have ideals, we have ethics (some have pretty poor ethics), we have causes we believe in, and to bury those out of fear that we’ll lose readers is –to me–the coward’s way out. Now, I am NOT saying that all writers should be shouting about politics, the environment, religion, etc.. Not at all. Some people are just geared differently. But for those of us who feel we can’t stand by and watch something horrendous unfolding without speaking out about it, we need to exercise our human rights to speak up.
I, for one, feel that if my readers are appalled by my views on human rights, on racism, sexism, ableism, and other subjects of that matter, then they probably aren’t meant to be my readers. Because you see, all those things are addressed in my books. For another thing, so many marginalized people are drowned out in this world, that I feel that those of us who do have a voice, have some responsibility to use it. And if someone doesn’t want to hear my views? That’s fine, (but stay off my Twitter feed). I do keep my FB relatively politics-free, and my YouTube channel, and my newsletter.
“But Yasmine, you write fantasy and paranormal–stuff that’s not set in the ‘real world.'”
To which I answer “Yes, I do. But you’ll notice running themes in my work: LBGTQ rights are the norm. Gay marriage? Was legal in my books before it was in our country. Hate groups are cast in the light I see them in–pure trash. Disability? Exists and is addressed (and will be addressed even more in future books). For me, all those things are part of reality, are part of humanity, and so I address it. Yes, the hate group may be anti-Fae or anti-Shifter, but they’re still a hate group and they still hold unacceptable beliefs. You’ll also notice that all of my work contains a family-of-choice kind of set up, where the characters come together, most of them outcasts or misfits of some sort, to find a loving, caring, and yes–bickering–connection as a family unit, even if it’s not labeled as such.
And my readers know what side I’m on–they don’t have to second guess most of my beliefs, because I’m open about it. I figure that way, I can speak out without shocking people, and when you read my books, you know what kind of person your money is supporting.
Now, do I read only liberal authors/watch liberal movies? No, I don’t. Most of the time, I can set aside the differences because they aren’t so horribly vast. But if I were to find out my favorite author was an uber-right-wing fascist supporter? No matter how much I like their books, I couldn’t support that kind of attitude.
So yes, I speak out, because I feel that when I keep silent, I’m making a statement of a different kind. It only takes silence to turn someone from a good hearted person into someone supporting a fascist regime by inaction.
So yeah, I speak out. That’s just who I am. And as always, comments trying to pick a war/fight/whatever will be deleted and banned. My website, my rules.
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