Orson Scott Card: The quotable ALA-honored Homophobe

Orson Scott card was recently awarded the Margaret A. Edwards award for “lifetime achievement in writing for young adults”, and I am sort of torn on the issue. It is really hard for me to justify the ALA’s stance in looking at books for the merit of the writing, and to ignore the personal politics of the author. I completely stand behind the idea that it is important that we do not ban books or writers. But then again, I also wonder if Card were writing racist propaganda if he would have even been nominated. I am in no way saying that racism doesn’t exist in the ALA; on the contrary, I believe that it is so embedded in our culture that we often don’t even notice it. No one wants to be called out as a racist, so white people will do all kinds of stupid things, like naming their friends who are persons of color and attempting to be an ally while still not acknowledging the fact that all white people in the US are racist. It is so completely part of our American culture that there is no way we cannot be not racist. POC are targeted by police and incarcerated and basically still enslaved in this country, but it is totally cool to pretend that racism doesn’t exist.

But for some reason, homophobia continues to stand as one of the remaining acceptable -isms. Which is why we are even having these stupid marriage debates, or why I feel like I have to keep calling out dumbasses for saying horrible shit. Because there are no real repercussions for being homophobic (or racist, for that matter).

I don’t think we should ban Orson Scott Card whatsoever, but do I think there could’ve probably been another writer, possibly not a homophobic white male, that was worthy of receiving such a prestigious award? Of course.

Brian Kenney wrote an editorial in the School Library Journal about this conflict of interest, which is worth checking out. Also, here are links to some of Card’s homophobic articles, if you’re in the mood for fighting:

The Hypocrites of Homosexuality Really, there are so many good quotes here. He says gays are mentally ill hypocrites for not changing their behavior, but wanting to change the laws, and thus destroying the church (because obviously you can’t be religious and gay). Some favorite quotes:

“The Church has no room for those who, instead of repenting of homosexuality, wish it to become an acceptable behavior in the society of the Saints. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, preaching meekness while attempting to devour the flock.” Again with the accusations of gay recruiters. I really need to get on this gay army thing…

and

“The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity’s ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships.”

Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization in which he discusses that gay people already have marriage rights because they can get married to people of the opposite sex. Um…yeah.

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    • ERFette
    • April 16th, 2008

    I vow from this day forward to proceed with my homosexuality discreetly, so that I may not disturb the sacred dependability of heterosexual marriage and family — I don’t want to rock the straight boat, you see. Oh, and by “discreetly,” I mean: getting fisted in public, wearing a rainbow flag as a cape, associating only with drag kings and queens, espousing my sincere love for and devotion to Rosie O’Donnell, having promiscuous gay sex (loudly and visibly) at as many hetero marriage ceremonies as possible, taking ecstasy and waving around glow sticks at places where straight singles find life partners, teaching children that satan (homosexuality) is the answer by writing gay recruitment children’s books, appearing in PSA’s about dental dams and latex gloves, and single-handeldy sabotaging marriages, and civilization as we know it, with my sheer gayness. As a queer person, discretion as always been important to me.

    • hermionedanger
    • April 16th, 2008

    Boo-ya!

    • lamanyana
    • May 2nd, 2008

    Damn you queers – always trying to ruin my marriage with your sheer gayness!

    I liked the anti-war pro-cultural-understanding message of Enders Game books when I read them. And I had a tape of one of Orson Scott Card’s “secular humanist revival” meetings as a teenager and was pretty inspired by his anti-fundamentalist/pro-reason rants. What’s the deal – does this guy have some sort of crazy split persona or did he do some sort of 180 and turn into a reactionary asshole while I wasn’t paying attention? (..or is it that he somehow doesn’t see that homophobia is just another aspect of the fundamentalist craziness he made a name for himself by opposing in the 80s?)

    And yeah, I agree with your basic point – we shouldn’t be giving lifetime achievement awards to people who publish bigoted rants. A lifetime achievement award at least has connotations of honoring the someone’s life – and should take into account the totality of that life.

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