Dear YA Community: We Need To Do Better

Twitter. The place I spend most of my time. Mostly because of procrastination and the rest because of the fascination of what’s happening in the world and last week a lot of things happened in the world. We had Shriver’s (insensitive drivel) speech, I got to meet authors including Justine Larbalestier, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, twitter saw Yassmin’sYen- Rong Wong’s blog posts, RT’d it, a troll had some words about Indigenous people (in relation to the speech), I responded in the early hours of the morning, then insensitive garbage was directed at me by the troll, they tried to waste my time but left them with a boy bye and lastly, an author was attacked and her book (which is still being edited) was rated by hundreds of trolls, after trolls attacked her on twitter spewing up hate and all that goes with it. Out of all that has happened this week and the last, I’d like to focus on the last incident (as I write about Shriver later on this month).

See guys, I am happy to help authors out who are in need of help, I woke up and saw that a wonderful author, Laura, was being attacked by trolls. So, what do I do? I scroll through her mentions and report as many hateful disgusting accounts as possible, to help. But as I was doing so, as I was helping her out, I realised, that Laura was getting a lot of help. A lot of people and ‘big time’ authors, some with verified accounts mind you, were coming in, helping, reporting, boosting and all I could think about was but where were you when Angela was getting trolls?. Some may ask, What do you mean, ‘What about Angela’ and some may even ask Who is Angela?. I can answer with this. She’s a WoC. She is also an author. She was also attacked by trolls but by the masses. 
WoC are always targeted on twitter when they speak up, so these trolls were harsh and just down right racist. I saw her attacks because I was there. I saw what we did as a community, I saw how we got that hashtag trending and then I saw most of you go silent when she was being attacked by trolls. Seeing her being attacked was heart breaking. Seeing the difference of the response in the YA book community on twitter was, without a doubt, even more heartbreaking and disappointing.

I saw the difference and many of you have too. I saw the huge amount of support and the preferences we as a community have. I saw how Angela had to give up verification and have her life threatened by multiple white supremacists and racists. I saw more WoC backing her up and more friends doing the same, boosting out “Please report *Angela’s* trolls”. But I didn’t see much of the YA community, the ‘big time’ authors and the booktubers who’ve stepped in to help with Laura, say ANYTHING when the trolls were threatening Angela. I saw the YA community just brush her aside, and only really, truly care and come together when Laura was attacked. As I write this, I’m definitely not saying ‘Don’t help Laura now, make it even’ or ‘Laura doesn’t deserve our help’, she certainly does need our help, all I’m saying is ‘DO BLOODY BETTER!’. I saw who stepped in. I saw the people who had a voice with Laura’s incident but nothing with Angela’s and I’m telling you, your silence isn’t helping. We had a WoC be viciously attacked whilst the majority of the YA community thought it’d be better to twiddle their thumbs and pretend it wasn’t happening.

Like, yeah, it’s TOTALLY acceptable if you weren’t online and didn’t see Angela’s trolls, but as a WHOLE COMMUNITY, we failed.

We have this trend where, when WoC are speaking up and are fighting the damn good fight, tweets start popping up that are along the lines of “Oh look, there’s drama again” and “There’s a drama storm brewing”.

To those who say this, speaking up does not equal to drama. Saying “I miss the old YA twitter community” let’s me know that you wished that these WoC stayed quiet. Stayed oppressed. What I say to that is, HELL NAH. I ain’t down for that. I’m sick and tired of staying quiet and I bet every other PoC feels the same, especially the WoC who are always attacked.

Don’t tell me you miss the old twitter, that just informs me you don’t want to listen, don’t want to learn.

See guys, the saddest part of this whole thing is that, Angela wasn’t and hasn’t been the only WoC who’s been attacked. What’s gets me more upset is that I only ever hear about other incidents days or weeks after they happen because the news gets around slowly but by then the damage has already been done. Can you see why this community has to be better. Why we need to up our game. We’re only supportive and effective as a whole when it suits us, when it’s easy and when the person isn’t a PoC and especially a WoC. I’d like for us to grow together. I want us all to help and especially if the victim is a WoC because they get targeted all the damn time. The reason why I’m writing about this is because this needs to be boosted. This needs to be read. This needs to be known; The online YA Community need to step up and support our authors/readers/bloggers when they’re being attacked, especially those who are WoC. We cannot just support those in need when it’s just easy.

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