We’ve been discussing our views on racism, transphobia, homophobia, misogynism, and other harmful perspectives for some time. We’ve talked about it amongst the staff, and we’ve publicly engaged in conversation about it on Twitter, but it’s become obvious that we need to have a written statement where everyone can find it.
First, let me begin by saying a couple of things:
- This statement reflects the professional practices of Dagan Books, and may or may not reflect the individual personal practices of our staff or contributors.
- There is a difference between harmful attitudes, such as believing that people of the same sex should not be allowed to marry, and “hate speech”, such as suggesting that gays should be set on fire.
- We are based in the United States, which holds two ideas dear:
- The first is freedom of speech, which allows for you to speak your mind about any topic no matter how unpopular, provided that you are not making libelous statements, not inciting people to violence, and understand that freedom of speech doesn’t mean no one will disagree with you. It just means that you have the right to speak.
- The second is that we live in a capitalist society, which values the power of the dollar, and change is often made by choosing to purchase or not purchase an item. Choosing not to spend your money somewhere is not prohibiting someone from earning a living, it’s just not giving them your money.
Are we clear on these things? Okay.
We at Dagan Books believe in the right of consenting adults to make decisions for themselves. We believe that as long as government is going to regulate marriage, all consenting adults should have the right to partake of the institute of marriage, regardless of sex, orientation, gender, race, or religion. We believe that having freedom of religion means that all religions should be offered the same rights and freedoms, not just yours. We believe that you can make any decision for yourself that you want, but you don’t have the right to make that decision for other people. This doesn’t just mean that you have to accept that others may be different from you. It’s also important to realize that others are equal to you, even if their gender or religion or skin color is not the same as your own.
This means that a woman can do a man’s job, thanks, and stop wondering whether she can or not. This means that a person of color has just as much intelligence, morality, strength, or any other positive characteristic as someone who is white. This means that a person who is gay, or bisexual, or asexual, or questioning their orientation or gender is still a person – not broken, or wrong, or sick, or scary, or sinning.
This means that gays can marry if they want to. This means that people of different skin colors can marry if they want to. This means that a person has the right to decide for themselves what their name, their sexual orientation, their gender, their physical appearance, or their religion is. This means that if you don’t like something then you have every right to stop doing it yourself or stay away from others that are, but as long as it’s not hurting you, you don’t have a right to stop others from doing it (and “it bothers me” is not the same as “hurting you”).
If your neighbor Steve wants to set your car on fire, you have a right to stop him. If your neighbor Steve wants to marry his boyfriend Bob, you have no right to stop them. If your neighbor Justin decides that she’d rather be known as Justine, you have no right to stop her.
And yes, technically, you do have a right to complain about it, but other people have a right to think you’re a jackass. That’s how free speech works.
We do not just support these ideas in our publications – which strive to show a diverse human population, because humanity is diverse – we also support them in how we choose to do business.
We will not purchase or promote works that cast non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-Christian, or non-CISgendered characters as being less than white-male-straight-Christian-CISgendered characters if that difference is the only thing which makes them “less”.
More than that, we will not purchase work from those who publicly participate in hate speech of any kind. While you are free to hold whatever viewpoints you wish, and we will not publicly disclose the names of those we choose not to buy from in the future, we will not support people who suggest violence against those that are different. Even if you think it’s funny, even if you didn’t realize we’d find out, even if your religion or spouse or parents said it was okay. If you say it in public, and it encourages others to commit violent acts, then we’re done with you.
If you don’t use hate speech but you still say hateful and harmful things, well, we may respect your right to say it, but we think you’re wrong, and as individuals, we may invoke our right to say so. If you don’t like our perspective you’re welcome to use your right to not purchase our products in the future. That’s the American way.
We’re willing to take our chances.
– Carrie Cuinn, Publisher