Monday, March 6, 2017

Sensitivity Readers or Censorship Tools?

The other day I came across this complete and utter bullshit: 

"Publishers are hiring 'sensitivity readers' to flag potentially offensive content."


You can read the post here if you want, but I'll give you a quick rundown of the details. 

Essentially, Veronica Roth was called a racist when her book "Carve the Mark" came out- because reasons (the post really doesn't spell it out for the reader). Oh and people bitched her for her "incorrect" portrayal of someone living/suffering with chronic pain. (Which may or may not be true)

Add to this a bunch of writers that are so freaked out about bad press and not writing a character that is a minority or a special interest group correctly, and you get opportunistic vultures knocking on your digital door.

"Oh, hey there writer friend. It's OK. Don't be scared. I'm an EXPERT because I am (insert SJW LABEL HERE). Let me read your book and EDUCATE YOU on what you are DOING WRONG YOU MISOGYNISTIC RACIST HOMOPHOBE (etc etc etc). This will ensure more sales!"

(No. No it won't. Hint: Bad publicity will increase sales. People love to gossip about books, and word of them will spread like wildfire. Other people will buy the taboo book of the day, just to see what it is all about. Instant multiplication of revenue!)

Publishers and authors think that this is a great idea. It's all good because you can PAY  SENSITIVITY READERS RANSOMS (I mean, FEES) to ensure that your book doesn't OFFEND anyone. Plus you get to fork over $250+ per sensitivity reader!

Wow what a deal...I mean rip off.

*gasp* You mean people are out there trying to exploit writer's fears and get money for it?

You're darn skippy they are, and they want you to pay them to censor your own voice in the process.


This is CENSORSHIP.  And if I want to get hyperbolic- it is a form of  blackmail- write this the way we say you should write it or we'll trash you and end your career. (Oh and you have to pay us to make sure you do it right.)

Yeah. Fuck that shit.

All of the bullshit these writers are utterly terrified of doing wrong in their books can easily be avoided if they do this one simple thing.

It's crazy. You don't even have to pay anyone for it. You can do it yourself! Yes! You!

It's called:

There's forums, support groups, Wikipedia, expert columns, websites, other BOOKS, and so on that you can read. Places you can visit to contact people and make sure it's legit before you finish your manuscript. Even...the LIBRARY! Whaaaaaat?!

FFS, you guys. You can even put a request up on Craig's List asking for anonymous interviews with people that have experienced the subject you wish to write about.

It's not that hard. Come on now.

Do yourself a HUGE favor. Don't hire a sensitivity reader. They just want to take your money and run. 

Oh...and just to give you a visual on what the current culture and political climate is right now, and where the idea of the sensitivity reader comes from:

Yeahhhh... I hope that helps.

Don't let them silence you. Don't let them invalidate your worldview just because it doesn't fit into their little box of blind authoritarianism.

Need help protecting your freedom of speech? Have any thoughts on this subject? Please, feel free to comment below. 😉

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