Posted by Joshua M. Young
So back in the book of Leviticus, God instructs the Hebrew tribes in the way that they’re to live their lives. There’s been more than one kerfuffle over passage from the books of the Law (of which Leviticus is), but there’s at least one that echoes a sentiment we can all get behind: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Lev 19:34, NIV)
Love those who are different and strange, and treat them justly. It’s a verse we don’t always see brought into play in conversations these days, which is a shame. It’s both profoundly wise and one of those things that the Israelites later forgot, only to have God spend a lot of time harping on them through the prophets.
It’s also inclusive.
I’ve written before on the perversion of social justice that’s becoming pervasive in a lot of circles. About how it’s become a machine of hate, not love. Exclusion, not inclusion. A woman by the name of K. Tempest Bradford illustrated that very same point earlier this week when she challenged people to stop reading works by “white, straight, cis male authors for one year.” Later on, she specifically suggests skipping Christian authors.
All this is predicated on the fact that she read a lot of stories she didn’t enjoy. Which is cool. We all do that, but as Larry Coreia notes, normal people just go find something else to read when that happens.
But that’s not the way of those who understand social justice and diversity in this modern perversion. Having lived as the “other,” the foreigner, they choose to other those that they don’t like. In the name of social justice, they’re unjust. In the name of diversity, they lop off a portion of the diversity.
Now, I have a horse in this race. I’m a white, straight, cis male author, with a novel coming out this year and at least another couple of short stories. And maybe that’s what’s bugging me. We all have our own struggles, and this woman would cheerfully shut out mine because of the circumstances of my birth, among other things. I don’t appreciate that. Ms. Bradford has a dozen stories or so listed on wiki, so she should know how hard it is to sell a short story.
If you want to branch out in your reading, awesome. Go for it. But branch out all over the place. Embrace diversity, genuine diversity. Read the people you disagree with. I do; it’s enlightening. Sometimes, they make awesome things regardless of how you feel about their politics or religion.
There will be no list from of authors I will not be reading. There will be no rationale behind my choices, save for “I like stories from this person” or “I don’t like the way this person writes” or maybe “It doesn’t sound interesting.” It will be without hate and rancor.
And lastly, a challenge: Ms. Bradford: I invested the time to read some of your work, even though you’ve lobbed a grenade of hate at my camp. Invest the time in mine. Is it really that traumatizing for you?