Yesterday, I had a pleasant afternoon, talking with a local writers group (shown above). I asked if the group had a name and, after some hesitation, was told, "Universal Dominance Collaborators," and then, in a lower voice, "or more conventionally PhillySpecFic." So I think it's a case of not really having a formal name, but only a common determination to write better. (And, since I just now misplaced my notebook somewhere in the room, I may have gotten the names wrong anyway.)
One thing I found particularly engaging was how extremely interested they all were in methods to avoid imbuing imagined races with old racial stereotypes. To somebody of my age, this is remarkable, because I can remember when the stereotypes weren't relegated to the subtext at all -- they were right on the surface. So the thought of somebody saying, "Yeah, we have Jews and African Americans in our country club. But no orcs!" strikes me as genuine progress.
Musing it over afterwards, I formulated my thoughts into two rules:
1. Writers should be extremely sensitive to avoid stereotypes, not only regarding race, gender, age, and ethnicity, but in every other possible category as well: People from California, white guys who chew gum, bocci players, women electrical engineers, members of their own families . . . Not for reasons of "political correctness" but simply because it's our job to record the world as it is, rather than as we were told it is.
2. Readers should cut us all the slack in the world, and always assume the best of our intentions.
And right now I'm off to D.C.! I'll report back on the experience soon.