Short Story Censored by Vocal.Media, but not here!
"Freedom is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear."- George Orwell
In August 2021, Vocal.Media, which is owned by Jerrick Media of New Jersey
banned Brego's Short Story,
Broken Matrix: The Story of the Brown Box
I suppose it is somewhat of an honor to have your writing banned. I hope someone who cares would ask Vocal.Media why they demanded I censor this story and yet other stories use the same word and are not banned. They replied they do not allow racial epithets to be used in stories they publish. I responded that the word is used frequently in stories they publish, and they were choosing to censor my usage, not the world.
"Broken Matrix" Takes place in an alternate reality where Whites are the oppressed minority under the dystopian rule of Blacks. In the story, John Locke, a wrongly imprisoned white man, upon being called Mr. Locke asks his jailers, "What happened to N______?" In this world, like ours the word is used to dehumanize. And that is the usage Vocal.Media had a problem with. Brego has been called that word, and while it is triggering it is also part of our culture and cannot be forbidden by some and not others. In writing Broken Matrix, Brego was attempting commentary on the issue from his unique perspective as a person who is half black and half white (with some quantum of Native American ancestry) If one does a quick search of Vocal.media's stories and you can see the word is used more daringly and disparagingly in other stories than it is within Broken Matrix. While I admit, they are free to curate and publish as they wish, they are clearly in violation of the law when they order certain people to censor and not others. And by allowing some to monetize their stories on their platform, and not others, it would have an impact on them, outside the scope of hurt feelings. And this is where we are. Companies are very much allowed to break the law because there is no political will or motivation among lawyers to stop them from doing so. One would hope that Vocal.Media would not be so superficial in their interpretation of fiction, but that doesn't seem to be a priority.
If Vocal.Media is going to entice a generation of authors with the promise of "Cash Prizes" one must wonder what they are censoring and why. Further, if their contests are legitimate, wouldn't all stories be equally accessible under their search feature? (They were not at the time of this incident)
Can one fight racism without in some way, becoming a racist? Perhaps the solution isn't to fight, but to create an alternate paradigm, one built upon inclusion. One which openly mocks the ridiculous nature of race and race politics. Vocal.media reinstated my account, but we'll see if they reinstate my story "Broken Matrix". I am willing to capitalize the N word for them..., but remove it from my story? Never. Especially since others are using it left and right in more daring and demeaning ways, by the dozens if not hundreds. This is a double standard I can't be silent on. Companies cannot encroach on free expression and art. Never. They also have no right to dictate content to publishers that does not harm others (or animals). And when they do I will name them publicly. You can Google "Broken Matrix: Story of the brown box." to see why they banned my story and not others.
We would urge all young writers to not sell your freedoms, on the contrary, fight for them with everything you've got.
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