I was going to write about this whole ordeal today, but by the time I got the chance to do so, I saw that Charles Tan had beat me to the punch (and by “beat me to the punch” I mean “he blogged about it and in no way actually beat me to anything because I own nothing”). Instead of going on about the same things and repeating brilliant points already made by Charles, I’ll send you all over to his essay: “Bigotry, Cognitive Dissonance, and Submission Guidelines.” Here’s a quote:
Wait, wait, a privileged Western white writer writing about Africa? This hasn’t been done before.
And Mike Resnick has written about Africa before. He must get it right, right?
In many ways, the editor’s oversight of this fact is part of a larger, arguably unconscious, racism on his part. Take for example his blog entry titled Broadening The Toolbox Through Cross Cultural Encounters: On Resnick, Africa & Opportunity. Instead of talking about writers from the continent of Africa (and it’s a large continent, so there’s a large pool of writers like Chinua Achebe, Lauren Beukes, and Joan De La Haye), we get Mike Resnick. Nnedi Okorafor gets mentioned but only as an off-hand comment, rather than the focus of the article.
So when talking about an anthology that’s diverse and inclusive, neither Mike Resnick, Kay Kenyon, or Jack McDevitt are what I’d consider the examples you should be touting as a contributors. Because to many, it appears that you are favoring the already privileged writers instead of those marginalized.
(For the record, I have also written on things said by the editor mentioned in Charle’s post. My post was on misery tourism, which may be of interest to some of you.)