Maybe it won't mean as much because for an alleged "Big Name Pagan / BNP", my name is pretty small outside a relatively tiny circle of Hellenists and other traditional polytheists, and it's not like I've moved my spiritual blogging to mostly over here... hell, I can barely keep to the minimum of a single post here a month, but I've researched some recent drama, weighed the words and intent (or at least likely intent) of all sides, and I've decided to step down from PaganSquare.

Racism is the gigantic elephant in the room for traditional polytheism -- too many use their religious practises as an excuse for racism and vice-versa.  While, true, Heathenry has the biggest reputation for racism, here's the thing:  There is not a single recon religion without its racist baggage in some form.  I've met Neonazi Celtic Recons passing out literature at the Celtic Festival in Saline, Michigan, back when I was in high school.  In more recent years, I've seen Hellenists in North America describe Hellenismos as "kinda like Asatru, but for the Greek pantheon and, best of all -- no Nazis! ^_^" and then ten minutes later encounter Hellenic polytheists from all over the globe say some of the most appallingly racist filth.  Hell, at least the LaVeyans and Boyd Rice fanboys I used to hang with during my misspent youth had the decency to try and hide it.

This is an issue that is a HUGE deal to me, for lots of reasons.

My father was no more casually racist than most people his age; remember that old Chris Rock joke about the differences between Black People and "The Big N"?  Yeah, my father grew up IN Detroit, not metro-Detroit, DETROIT-Detroit, and I heard that from him, first, and he was a squirrley little white boy.  My mother was VERY anti-racist, and I clearly remember a fight that erupted when my father took my younger sister and I to the cinema to see Song of the South the last time it ever had a cinematic release.  Between the two of them, plus the predominantly Black neighbourhood I grew up in, I learned real quickly that certain behaviours are not to be tolerated, and when those things DO happen, call it out.

I'm a Mod and Ska DJ, and I've been involved with a couple S.H.A.R.P. protests -- no-one calls out racism like a skinhead, le me tell you (no, really, follow that link), and we called it out.

That's the ideology I've maintained, even when i couldn't do much else:  When bad things happen, call it out.  Call it out repeatedly, if you need to.  If you did it, learn and change.  If some-one you care about does it, help them to learn and change.

But some people don't change, and like calls to like.  Now, when I say like calls to like, I'm speaking of a certain mindset --or rather, the part of the human psyche that is drawn to forming communities and special interest groups.  Just look at the website for any night club, and you'll find at least three or four themed nights, and at least one of them is likely to focus on one subculture or another -- cos like calls to like.  Hell, this community blogging project wouldn't exist if like didn't call to like.  And this is really the sort of place where I would hope that things could get called out in an effort to foster growth in the good, commendable qualities in ourselves, our smaller religious communities, and the wider pagan community as a whole.

Unfortunately, for reasons I've taken note of and further speculated on, and thought deeply about, that doesn't happen here.  Now, I'm not faulting Anne Newkirk Niven or any of the other editorial staff.  As I understand it, the ultimate desire was to avoid any potential trouble that could come from naming names in the desire to call out bad behaviour.  Times are lean in the publishing world, and I can understand that -- I was the music editor for a magazine that folded with barely the first issue completed, cos we just had the damnedest time securing advertisers.  Unfortunately, I'm a loudmouth on the Internet, and that may prove a liability for PaganSquare.

I do fault those who've fostered a culture of fear.  I fault those who use double-speak to hide their true feelings and make things harder to call out.

So, I don't know -- maybe I'll be back, if it ever becomes safe for bloggers at PaganSquare to name names rather than feel forced to dance around the elephant in the room.  I may be queer, but I dance like any other white boy, and making me do that around the elephant in the room is going to be torturous.  For all of us.  No, really, I'm terrible at dancing, and you don't want to see me try.  I still have a handful of PaganSquare blogs on my feeds, and will keep reading and commenting as I feel the need to, but I cannot stay on as a blogger.

The editors can keep my current contributions up in archive, if they like, or not --all I ask for is 24hour advance warning, so I can finish the copy-pasta and keep the entries and drafts I was working on.

If you have any interest in my blogging after this, my religious blogging is at Of Thespiae; it's a bit more personal than I've been here, and the main foci tend to be Eros worship, traditional Hellenism, Queer spirituality, and Classical Hedonist philosophy and the reconstruction of said.