Guest Post: Solace Ames on Requires Hate/Winterfox

Posted: November 11, 2014 in Critical Hit, Guest Posts & Interviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion in the SFF community about the revelation that blogger Requires Hate and LJ user winterfox are aliases of Campbell-nominated author Benjanun Sriduangkaew. I haven’t written about this myself, largely because I haven’t felt my opinions would contribute anything new to the conversation, which is currently dominated – unhelpfully, I believe, given the context – by white people in general and white women in particular. After reading this excellent piece on the topic by @sunita_p, I made the decision that the best thing I could do, rather than write a response myself, was to offer my blogspace as a platform to any POC writers who wished, either anonymously or under their own names, to speak to my usual audience, in order to signal boost their side of the discussion. This offer still stands to anyone else who would like to be heard; feel free to contact me either via email (philippa dot meadows at gmail dot com) or through social media.

The following piece is from writer Solace Ames, who has given permission for it to appear with attribution.

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A Perspective on Requires Hate

I’m Solace Ames, a WoC (Japanese-American) writer of multicultural romance, including urban fantasy romance under a different pen name. I use pen names, but I’ve always been upfront about my ethnicity, my priorities, where I come from and where I am. I’ve done videos on Youtube. I follow a lot of SFF discussion and have ambitions of writing it. I volunteer with Crossed Genres. I’ve been around on LJ when it was active, then moved to Tumblr. I’ve moved in some of the same internet groups as RequiresHate/Winterfox and read her blog. Our contact has been minimal and irregular. I’ve butted heads with her once that I know of, and possibly other times when she was under different pseudonyms. She’s supportively tweeted me on one occasion, and I’ve done the same for her a couple times, but I wouldn’t call her either a friend or an enemy, or say that she’s abused me.

I’ve watched her be very abusive to others, and I’ve spoken up about it before. The last straw, for me, was her apology. She apologized to only three people by name: Cindy Pon, Saladin Ahmed and N.K. Jemisin. Not surprisingly, those are the three most famous and influential writers of color in SFF that she’s attacked. It’s rather galling that there’s not another word to the many other writers of color that she’s attacked that don’t happen to be so influential in her field. They’re just a nameless mass she’s vaguely wronged. I respected her, in a measured and arm’s-length way, before the disclosure of her “nice” alternate personality and that apology. Now I don’t.

I have a lot of problems with the white supporters of RH who seem to be defending her in a knee-jerk way, and silencing the many people of color she’s attacked in what seems now to be a very calculated “there can be only ONE and that’s ME” literary strategy.

I also have a lot of her problems with her attackers. Not all of them. There are people with very real grudges. There’s also a huge group of racist white women from fandom who strategize together on anon communities (like faux-progressive 4chans) who magnify her abilities, think she’s Satan, and try whatever it takes to try to bring her down, including pretending to be WoC. That’s the reason I established I was who I really said I was in the beginning.

Some people are after her because she gave their favorite writer a bad review. In many cases, especially for the most popular writers, those were deservedly bad reviews. And they were the kind of reviews pointing out basic flaws that a lot of critics are too scared to make. I’ll admit to fist-pumping after reading quite a few of them.

I hope the takeaway from all this is for writers of color to support each other in more organized ways. Criticize each other, YES, because a healthy critical culture helps everyone, but we need to stick together in the face of our overwhelming disadvantages. And I hope white people will think twice about using PoC pain to act out their psychodramas and engage in internet battles with us as the footballs, although that probably won’t happen, because it’s a dynamic that pre-existed RH. I still hold out hope. I’m not interested in engaging in any debate or discussion about this where we’re the helpless voiceless victims to be defended… by either side.

Lastly, I think it’s up to everyone individually to decide whether to read a writer who displays such objectionable behavior. Everyone has different places where they draw the line. A lot of writers are self-centered narcissistic assholes, but still good writers. I’ll probably read her story at some point, because I’ve heard it’s good. But I’m glad all this stuff is coming out so that people have more information to make their own decisions according to their own lines.
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ETA 12/11/14 – At the request of the poster, comments are now closed on this post. Solace has asked that anyone wanting to discuss the issue further do so at Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s blog, here.
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Comments
  1. […] Guest Post: Solace Ames on Requires Hate/Winterfox at Foz Meadow’s blog with foreward by Fox Meadows […]

    • “There’s also a huge group of racist white women from fandom who strategize together on anon communities (like faux-progressive 4chans) who magnify her abilities, think she’s Satan, and try whatever it takes to try to bring her down, including pretending to be WoC.”

      I presume you mean Fail Fandom Anon which was also singled out by K Tempest Bradford as a source to be shunned.

      However, as Foz herself and Sunita in her post pointed out how hard it is for PoC voices to be heard, or to speak out unanonymously, I wonder why you are so quick to assume that (a) anonymous comments by PoC about abuse by RH are fake and that (b) the only people commenting on RH critically are white?

      I keep hearing this accusation. I have no idea how people can prove it one way or the other. But since I’ve seen people speaking out anon here> about RH, I don’t know how we can assume that this person, for instance, isn’t telling the bare truth. (Disclaimer, I’m reading FFA at the moment to get links for my round up, but I don’t participate.)

      I’m disturbed by all this, and disturbed by people using the whole matter as yet another excuse to hate on those of us using pseudonyms. You don’t have to be PoC to be afraid on the internet. Just not a straight white man.

      I’m all in favour of more spaces being opened up for PoC to speak about this. But I am not in favour of people deciding that PoC can only speak up according to rules *they* set – e.g. they can only post unanon, or where some blog owner can track an IP address. I mean, come *on*. Do we need to thrash out why, in the light of Laura Mixon’s report, if nothing else, why some people just *can’t* do this?

  2. anonymous says:

    For someone who claims to be interested in promoting POC voices, Ann Somerville you sure are (1) taking up a huge amount of space in this discussion and (2) very eager to argue with any WOC who observes the very real racism being displayed by white people against RH/BS. Maybe take a thought about that.

    • “taking up a huge amount of space in this discussion”

      How so, nonny? I’ve collected links on my own blog and commented on maybe four posts about it. Interesting that you consider a woman is taking up too much space, but not the men who’ve posted about this in multiple spaces.

      “argue with any WOC who observes the very real racism being displayed by white people against RH/BS. ”

      That’s a malicious representation of my comment, and I disdain to defend my remark.

      • Teresa says:

        Ann Somerville,

        This is a post apparently created for PoC to come here and talk about their views on the topic…and you are the first to respond. I agree with everything the comment above says. You are hindering the discussion for me (since I do not speak for others), not helping.

        • Lucie says:

          Um… she is linking a WOC who’s been blackmailed by RH. This blog is by a person not POC, by the way. And actually, hers is the only comment so far that cites a POC’s point of view.

        • “This is a post apparently created for PoC to come here and talk about their views on the topic…”

          Foz opened up her space for PoC to make *posts* about the subject. I can’t see as of the time of writing the smallest note about PoC only being allowed to *comment* on the post.

          All her posts are moderated. If I was violating the comment policy on this post, my comment would not have been approved (or she would have commented on it.)

          “you are the first to respond.”

          All her posts are moderated. I can’t tell when I post if mine is first or the tenth. And so what? Time differences mean I’m going to see it earlier than a lot of other people.

          “You are hindering the discussion for me.”

          There is no discussion. Apart from my comment, there are two bitching at me. And neither of you have addressed my problem with Solace’s post – which is that she is (and others taking this line) actively silencing and diminishing those PoC using *their* safe places to comment.

          You have nothing to say about my message, you just want to attack me. “Look, whitey” is the tactic RH and her supporters have used from day one to silence critics, white or PoC.

          And you both have done more to draw attention away from Solace’s post than I could ever have done. At least I addressed it directly.

  3. […] Solace Ames on Requires Hate/Winterfox (Guest post on Foz Meadows’ site): “I hope the takeaway from all this is for writers of color to support each other in more organized ways. Criticize each other, YES, because a healthy critical culture helps everyone, but we need to stick together in the face of our overwhelming disadvantages. And I hope white people will think twice about using PoC pain to act out their psychodramas and engage in internet battles with us as the footballs…” […]

  4. […] when she was Violetta Vane, she and I were pretty friendly on Twitter) was on her post at Foz Meadow’s blog, is also claiming I am ‘harassing’ her. This is the sum total of that […]

  5. […] when she was Violetta Vane, she and I were pretty friendly on Twitter) was on her post at Foz Meadow’s blog, is also claiming I am ‘harassing’ her. This is the sum total of that ‘harassment’ (some of […]

  6. […] I listen to the WOC who talks repeatedly about racist white people pretending to be POC, and dismissing them on that basis, or the WOC who […]