I was going through the 'likes' over at Greater Than Lapsed, and came across the following post from a blog called wtfwhiteprivilege:
"Just so we're clear: Lovecraft's racism doesn't make his work null and void. I just won't be reading any of it.
I think about what it would mean to have his work on my bookshelf. I am not a person of color, but my children will be.
What if they were to find that poem? What if they came to me,
“Mama, look at this. Did you know about this?”
I’m not going to lie to them, yes I did know. I disregarded what this man thought about my children for the sake of art. I knowingly read to them from a book by a person who thought they were sub-human. I hurt my children. Do you really think saying,
“Well, the author’s beliefs are separate from his work” is going to undo that hurt? Really?
Didn’t think so."
I should clarify that I don't find his work appealing in the voyeuristic way some folks find Wesley Willis appealing; I think Lovecraft was a true artist--not a sideshow act to gawk and laugh at. Through his art, he gave expression to his deepest fears and neuroses, and allows us to experience a taste of them when we read his work. I also believe that Lovecraft used art--as many mentally ill people do--as therapy, and what we witness in his writing is a kind of momentary exorcism.
So his racism doesn't bother me; not because I separate it from his work, but because I understand it in the context of his psychology, and his biography. If I ever had to answer the kind of hypothetical question the writer of the above quote imagined their young bi-racial child asking them, I hope this explanation would suffice.