This really is the core issue for anyone still wanting to “debate” anything around last year’s controversy about the SFWA Bulletin or the people who are trying to re-argue it again. (I said this in a comment over here, but thought it was worth copying to my own blog to refer back to later.) I’m kind of done talking about it, because I don’t see what more there is to say besides what follows.
That said, comments are open.
In a professional organization and professional writing you should err on the side of caution.
And if that means you stop and consider that maybe that cover art – even if it’s satirical or a pastiche of an older, no longer appropriate style – could come across the wrong way, leading you to choose some different artwork… then that’s okay by me.
And if that means that you cautiously avoid remarking on someone’s attractive appearance when talking about their writing and editing career because someone might take it the wrong way… then that’s okay by me.
And if that means that when you screw up – because you will – that you mindfully say “I’m sorry I offended you” instead of trying to tell someone else their feelings are less important than your own… then that’s okay by me.
And if you can’t understand why an author in a professional, non-fiction publication might need to consider the sensibilities of their audience… well, good luck with that in your writing career.