Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?
I am celebrating MLK in true form: I am protesting. I am calling for a boycott of Bloomsbury because of their continued whitewashing practice.
At the Story Siren several bloggers have rallied around her when she asked if she were wrong for not noticing race is an issue. Her supporters not only supported her but criticized bloggers like me for publicly calling the collective to task for failing to express outrage about the racist practice of whitewashing.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
I respect and will defend everyone's right to speak and not to respond as they please. And I will passionately express my own right to speak out, calling on people to do the right thing. Bloomsbury is wrong and bloggers are complicit when they say nothing.
I do not expect everyone to share my opinion. I do not expect you to become activists. But I will unapologetically tell you that I feel disrespected and failed by members of the YA blogging community when you tell me that whitewashing is not a big deal.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
There are visibly less than a dozen POC book bloggers. For months I visited your blogs and commented. I posted regularly to Kristi's Mailbox meme and when a handful of you did show up here (versus my weekly visits up in double digits), you all said the same thing, you never heard of the POC books I promoted on my blog. And I never saw these books reviewed on any of your blogs so tell me how practices like whitewashing is not social, not a political issue? Why we shouldn't be blogging about race in publishing?
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
The issue isn't about Kristi and coming to her rescue (which is what anyone would want from her friends) is to be expected. The Story Siren is a major presence in the blogosphere. Is she obligated to express outrage, no. Is her absence in the debate, noticeable, yes. Kristi has influence as evidenced by how many came to her rescue. If we could only get a fraction of that kind of concern for promoting POC and holding Bloomsbury and others accountable for failing POC writers and writers who create POC characters.
I am under no obligation nor am I wrong for calling the collective to task. Almost 50 of you felt defending Kristi is important. But the majority of you said nothing about Liar and you're dismissing the real issue which is whitewashing is racist. Is it possible to talk about issues and not defending one individual but if you have to make it personal: Doret, Ari and Ah Yuan and I are real people. People of color are equally important. The covers do not reflect the reality of this world. That is wrong. When a publisher purposely misrepresents a character because of race, they are saying we don't matter.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
I specifically asked teen girls why aren't you outraged about how the publishing industry is disrespecting you. To Robby, our blogs are extensions of us. Images and public behavior does matter. Exclusion and stereotyping is wrong. Covers are not an innocuous issue. Race is not an innocuous issue in this country.
I don't expect or need agreement. Today is MLK day. He fought for a world where I could be black and celebrated because I matter as much as the next human being.
He didn't wait for the majority to embrace him and neither am I.