Monday, January 18, 2010

Celebrating MLK with A Protest

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.

39 comments:

Lenore said...

It feels wrong to me to boycott a publisher that IS publishing POC manuscripts. By not buying Magic Under Glass you are mainly hurting the author who wrote a POC character and fought to get it published.

Ask yourself if your outrage at Bloomsbury might not be more constructively directed at another source... I don't know...perhaps publishers that don't publish POC manuscripts at all?

I'm not saying you shouldn't let Bloomsbury know you are angry. That's your right. But how about a positive public relations stunt like getting someone who knows photoshop to design a racially correct cover and then have bloggers go to bookstores in their hometowns and tape the cover to copies of MAGIC UNDER GLASS in the bookstore? And then take a picture and put in on their blogs? That would even get the attention of non-bloggers and could even increase sales and show Bloomsbury that people WILL buy books with POC individuals on covers.

I know you've aggressively pushed for bloggers to read and review more POC books. I know change is frustratingly slow to come.

But consider this:

I am reading Bleeding Violet right now. It features a POC main character and a POC on a beautiful, appealing cover.

I almost skipped over it because the premise didn't appeal to me that much, but then I thought of you. And just the contact that we had encouraged me to pick it up and give it a chance.

I think that's worth something. It's not a lot, ok. But it's a start.

susan said...

Lenore,

Publishing is a business. Money talks. Boycotting might not work but sending letters hasn't worked and frankly, I doubt that Bloomsbury is worried that readers will actively boycott them.

Writers should have more control over covers. If readers continue to buy what the publisher decides, how is that helping the writer or the audience?

I appreciate you weighing in. I encouraged that our interaction has impacted your reading habits.

Change is often slow and painful. When black people stopped riding the bus, that got attention.

There may be other, effective options. I'm open to them but I feel strongly about the boycott even if it is symbolic only.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Susan,

I agree with you all the way. And if authors get hurt, maybe they will join the fight for honest representation through cover art instead of capitulating to the pandering to stereotypes in order to make money.

MissAttitude said...

I agree with this post, hwoever I do not want to get personal with bloggers. I was being general and I'm not into naming names because after all "you catch more flies with honey."

I'm encouraged by Lenore's comment and I like her idea. And we should boycott publishing houses that don't publish books about poc, most have at least a few. But the publishing houses that do publish books about poc have accurate covers, even if there's no one on there. But to whitewash a cover, twice?! Unacceptable and they need to be called out. I'm not going to stop with Bloomsbury, but they are first.

On a sienote, I'm reading the Rock & The River and that along with today being MLK Day seem to go hand in hand and are really making me think.

Jodie said...

Susan I totally get where you're coming from with bloggers. I think a lot of us came expecting to be able to hang out and talk about the books we like, it seemed like reading was one of the few places where the skewed politics of the world did not have to interfer with appreciation, but the book industry it turns out is vastly political and reading choices can have wider implications, just like everything else you do in life. This year I'm going to really commit to take that into account, rather than letting my reading be totally down to what is easiest to obtain, or what gets more press. It takes a bit more time and effort, but should yeild just as much pleasure and with bloggers like you and Ari and Doret I really don't want for guidance do I?

lauramanivong said...

I really do think all of you bloggers writing about POC books ARE making a difference. Yes, change is slow and painful, but keep at it. Many, many people are listening. You're making us stop and think. You're keeping the discussion going. You're not letting us forget. Thank you.

Color Online said...

Ari,

I'm not making this personal. Identifying parties in the conversation is not a personal attack.

I do wish I could find that quote about polite women not making history.

It takes all kind of folks to make things happen. If honey works for you, ain't madatcha. I prefer my own brand: candor.

Thank you all for joining the conversation.

Angela Craft said...

Color Online - I believe the quotation you're looking for is "Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Susan, I like your point that a prominent person's absence in a debate can be just as noticeable as their presence. Especially since there are only a dozen or so visible POC blogging, every single voice counts. Those of us who want to be allies in the struggle against racism have to raise our voices as well, which is why I was so quick to join in the outrage. I'm not a prominent blogger by any means, but I believe my silence would have been damning in the small circle I am read in.

I'm on a limited budget, so I wasn't buying a lot of books anyway before this happened. I've been considering buying a copy of LIAR for myself, since it's a crazy twisty book, but I think if I do now I'll be buying it used. My protest will be coming in the form of continuing to speak out against whitewashing, and actively publicizing positive and accurate portrayals of POC, especially on covers.

susan said...

Hi Angela,

I'm Color Online/Susan. That is the quote I had in mine. I love it.

Like you, I have a modest book budget, but I have a big mouth and few folks do buy and read what I recommend.

I like and respect your input not because you agree, but because you took time to speak up.

Join us at Color Online. We are inclusive. The more, the greater the diversity and opportunity for learning.

Thank you,
S

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

@Lenore,

I see where you're coming from, but to support a publisher that's willing to take on a book with POC protagonist and whitewash the cover of said manuscript is kinda like, oh we'll use you 'cause your story is marketable but we sure won't give you proper representation when we put you out to the market! Or, in other words, we'll exploit you without giving the representation you deserve. I'm not sure how well those analogies worked, but that's the gist of how I feel and one of the reasons why I find Bloomsbury's whitewashing so despicable, and won't buy from them, etc etc.

I'm glad you gave Bleeding Violet a shot. I love that novel.

@Susan,

Excellent post. And I see you have a Bloomsbury poll to the sidebar, will fill it. =D

Also, now this post reminds me, Happy MLK day to all U.S. Citizens here! =D

thestonebow said...

Susan, thank you for this post, and thank you for not backing down over at The Story Siren. I commented there, too, but as you pointed out, many of the people commenting there were not allies waiting to happen.

Bloomsbury's "offense is rank, it smells to heaven" (sorry, Shakespeare). Especially after the problems with the cover for "Liar," there is absolutely no excuse for this new insult. I hope some positive change can come from this incident, but I'm not optimistic.

Happy MLK Day, all.

The Story Siren said...

I felt the need to post about what I did was because I was embarrassed with myself. If someone would have asked me if I was consciously aware of the issues with race I would have said yes, and yet obviously I'm not as aware as I think.

In that same breath, I don't think I nor anyone else should be condemned for having the same reaction.

That was the point I was trying to get across.

I never meant to make the issue about me, or have people come to my rescue. The questions I asked were meant to be rhetorical.

And furthermore I never dismissed the issue in my post I loved the fact that people were posting about it.

You say you respect everyone's right to not respond yet at the same time you accuse those that did not of being complicit? That doesn't make sense to me.

I however do respect your opinion to respond, and never meant to make you feel otherwise.

Angela Craft said...

Susan - sorry about the confusion there! Thanks for the pointer to Color Online - I had briefly read the Tongue In Cheek post earlier today while at work, but I'm going to take more time to look around tonight! And I see we have another similarity - big mouths ;-) So long as a debate is fun and respectful, I see no reason to let it drop!

Story Siren - I do commend you for speaking up and acknowledging your embarrassment over missing the racial discrepancy between the cover image and the described character. It's never easy to admit when we're blinded by our own privilege. And if you're willing to be more aware in the future, then I think the collective outrage over the cover has already done some good.

thestonebow said...

Story Siren, let me be clear that what I am about to post is written in calmness, and with no intent to put you or anyone else on the defensive. We're all here to learn and grow, and those two things happen best when everyone involved feels safe.

By choosing not to use your position as a prominent blogger to unequivocally condemn Bloomsbury's whitewashing, you willingly pass up an opportunity to criticize the marginalization of people of color in the publishing industry. No one disputes that you are well within your rights as a blogger to make that choice. You "have the right to not post about it", as you said.

Since you "feel that it was wrong", though, it is disappointing to people of color and their allies that you are not choosing to channel that awareness of injustice into a call for change. Instead, you chose to become an apologist for Bloomsbury, citing other YA book covers that do not accurately reflect the book's protagonists.

If you would like to stand in solidarity with people of color and their allies, you may find it helpful to ask what you can do differently, rather than defend what you have done. If you are not interested in taking such a stand, you are within your rights to refuse, but you should be prepared to own that refusal.

Thank you for your time.

Neesha Meminger said...

Just want to point out that you can respect someone's right to not respond AND know they are being complicit in a system that forces us to either be part of the problem, or part of the solution. For instance, I know there are racist people out there. I can respect (and even argue for) their right to speak their minds -- AND I can also know that what they say is racist. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Thanks to you, Susan, (and to Ari) for bringing yet another Bloomsbury cover debacle to light.

Rebecca :) said...

I wanted to say that I think just by posting about the Bloomsbury protest and about the discussion of whitewashing and complicity is going to be more helpful than you will ever even find out.

While I am not a POC, I try to do my part in sharing books that have POC in the stories (and the covers). I participate (when I can and remember, which is a by-product of my disability) in Ali's Diversity Role Call. I also do Take Me Away Saturdays, which focus only on books in other countries and cultures, but these often include stories about POC.

I fight racism every day where I work. Not racism towards me, of course, but towards POC, including the children in our care, including the Hispanic children. That's right. I work in a early education center where some of the teachers are racist- even if they don't mean to be. I think they are a sad product of their environment and the fact they never left their county and discovered the world outside of it. I make sure the children in their care, as well as in mine, are treated equally. So far, it seems that they mostly make fun of the adults and of the cultures in general without harming the children. But I cannot be around them 24/7 as we do not share a classroom. My co-teacher and I do everything we can to promote racial equality but it is hard to teach "old dogs new tricks", if you will.

It is so depressing to me that this kind of attitude is so prevalent still. That people are so slow to incorporate change into their lives (I know a couple of these teachers were raised to hate and are trying to change but it is still a problem as they learn) is frustrating.

I think that education is always the key to everything. Ignorance on issues is where we get into trouble. By continuing to talk about the issues of race in literature and elsewhere, more people become educated and more people are enlightened.

Tarie said...

"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."

That got me teary-eyed, Susan. I feel sad. If MLK were still alive today, would he be really disappointed in us? :( The thought of it makes me teary-eyed again. :(

But don't worry, I won't mope around. I will boycott Bloomsbury USA books (they are available here in the Philippines!) and I have already been telling my friends to do the same. I will also read more books by POC with POC characters.

Amy said...

I'm not sure I have anything new to say but that I'm thick and I can now understand the significance of the boycott a little better than I did at first.

Renay said...

I understand boycotts for personal reasons, but simply worry that there's not yet enough education in the YA sphere that would lead to a call for a boycott of a huge publisher being effective without having to waste breath defending that choice against the arguments people tend to throw at it. I wish it wasn't this way; I think an organized boycott would make this publishers (and perhaps others) go, "well, damn!" I do not have that hope in the face of the ignorance I have seen, both in the case of Liar, and now this title. It might be that I am cynical; thank you for outlining your reasons, because as a movement it makes much more sense to me now. Thank you for taking the time to educate. I apologize for dismissing the idea of a boycott elsewhere and using racist arguments.

In reading this, it made me think of a recent journal post I read elsewhere: The Cost of Engaging. The end hit me particularly hard, because there are so few PoC YA book bloggers.

To sum up, basically: thank you for engaging.

Olugbemisola (Mrs. Pilkington) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olugbemisola (Mrs. Pilkington) said...

To me, this is not about a particular book, or a particular blogger, but larger issues. This dialogue is good, thank you for providing a space for it. Readers may speak up online, they may speak up at home, they may speak with action instead of words. But while we're paying attention, I want to continue to point readers to blogger/reviewers like Ari and Doret and Nathalie, to authors like Zetta Elliot, Kekla Magoon, Neesha Meminger and Marguerite Abouet. I hate to post a comment that is mostly redundant, but...what Neesha said. And what Laura Manivong said. And this, that you said: "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." And especially this, that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

susan said...

Thank you all for joining the discussion. I will lead a boycott. I will call on allies.

I understand the cynicism and worry but neither will deter me. And I hope you all are moved to respond in a way that reflects your own conscience.

Aarti said...

This is a very well thought-out argument. I am a POC, though part of the South Asian diaspora.

I have been reading through a lot of people's opinions on the cover debate since it started with Liar. I agree it's a horrible, terrifying practice. I said on Amy's blog that what worries me is that apparently, publishing companies feel they can make a lot more money with a Caucasian person on the cover than a POC on it. Which means people of ALL races must buy books with white people on the cover more than they buy books with other people, no? That disturbs me.

I wonder if a lot of us can confront Bloomsbury on this issue and make them issue a statement of some sort for the future? I don't know how much power we have, really, but if we work collectively and ask the publisher to explain its past reasoning and its plan of action for the future, then maybe we can at least have some sort of documentation to cite.

caitieflum said...

It seems to me that a lot of people don't understand what goes into choosing the cover. It is not just the publisher, it is not just the author. A TON of people are involved in the decisions...agents, editors, art, marketing, publicity, authors, budgets...and two of the biggest deciders are Barnes and Noble and Amazon. An author and a publisher can pick a cover and the bookseller sees it and says that it needs to be changed.

If you were able to go into the process for the choice of this cover and found that it was a top level decision from Bloomsbury, then I would say a boycott is completely appropriate. But what if it was Amazon? What if it was Barnes and Noble? If they say no to a cover and the publisher still uses it, they won't sell it. Those sales are about 80% of all sales. And, as you have said correctly, money is what matters.

I wish there was a way that we could all found out where the decision was made. Then the right people could be talked to and boycotted.

I want to let you know that even though I don't agree with your boycott, I think it is great that you and everyone else (including Story Siren) has brought this to the book bloggers attention.

Liz B said...

I'm late to the conversation, because all of this happened during ALA Midwinter, and I know other librarian book bloggers who blog ya & kids were also there. So please keep in mind of who responds when -- we weren't around.

And at this point, given that this is about so many blog posts and comments and what was said when and how much has been said... well, it almost feels like it's both too late to contribute, anything I say has been said, or there is something I haven't read so I'd be commenting uninformed.

Seriously, this and Jezebel and a handful of twitter references are all I've read so far. So I'm going to keep reading, and post if I think I can contribute something meaningful (and have the time -- i'm one person, work calls, etc).

But what to add? The blogosphere is a small area of the world. Many readers, librarians, etc were totally unaware of the LIAR cover issue, and still are unaware. (No, really.)

What I try to do, as reader, blogger, librarian? Make a conscious decision to balance my reading to include more diverse titles (including poc). Look for those books to review. Recommend and talk about those books, on blogs and in person. Think a bit more about covers than I may otherwise. Be open to what I hear and ask myself, would I have noticed the cover issue, and be open to similar comments and feedbacks for future reviews. Make sure people understand the value of books as mirrors and windows, so yes, kids of color need books about themselves but this is also about white kids needing books about kids of color and how do we work with the parent who won't buy the book?

I don't mean to take the focus off koc, but I have to be honest about hearing/seeing the white parents think their kids "won't" read about kids who aren't just like themselves and seeing part of my responsibility as to change that belief.

Chris said...

Hey Susan! Thanks for this awesome post. I just read your comment over at Amy's blog and I'm one of those people who read over here ALL THE TIME but I just lurk :( I've commented one or two times, but I'm going to make an effort to comment more! The truth is, you've pushed me to be more aware of people of color in literature. And you've done that through amazing posts like these that make me think and make me reevaluate myself. Like I said over at Amy's blog, I've always loved the diversity that this world has to offer..I think it's such a beautiful thing, but I haven't fully embraced it until meeting so many wonderful bloggers who have helped me to see past the blinders...bloggers like yourself. Thanks, Susan :)

BrownGirl said...

I can't believe that Amazon and B&N and any other booksellers would carry books with such glorious titles as "Queen Bitch" or those with half naked women on the cover but refuse books with brown or olive skinned people on the cover. Why aren't they replacing all the naked Black women on the covers of urban fiction with naked white women? Because it's all part of the blatant racism and stereotyping. It's okay for a Black woman to be depicted as a stripper on a book cover but not a fully clothed girl next door type. I call foul on that notion and any other that wants to pigeon-hole any POC.

At the end of the day, authors and publishers have the final say on a cover. So, view this as a protest for Bloomsbury to give their authors more control and not making them believe they have so little choice in the matter. You know, publishing with some integrity.

Nymeth said...

I've been giving this some thought ever since I read your post yesterday, and I think you're right: a boycott is probably the only way to get their attention at this point. I like Aarti's idea too, but...if there was no statement after Liar, I don't think there's much of a chance there will be one now. Of course, I'd love to be wrong.

Vasilly said...

For those who feel it's wrong to boycott Bloomsbury don't understand that not only is whitewashing wrong, it's also racist, cruel, and hurtful! Bloomsbury whitewashing the cover of Liar and now Magic Under Glass is their way of showing me, a human being with brown skin, that I am not important. I do not matter. I am invisible and I should take whatever books I can get from them.

Money talks. It's as simple as that. By taking my money and spending it on the publisher's rivals, I am using my power as a consumer to speak up. I plan on writing to Bloomsbury but it isn't good enough. Nowadays so many corporations don't know how to say they were wrong and will do better in the future. Instead they are sorry if they "offended" anyone. I very much doubt if Bloomsbury will ever apologize.

For those who think it's wrong to boycott Bloomsbury, don't. Read and review more books of all ages, genres, and formats about people who are different from you. Doing so will help to change the atmosphere of the blogisphere, showing ALL publishers that books by and about POC are welcomed and read.

I Heart Monster said...

I just want to say, that ignorant as I may be, a character's race doesn't weigh with me. It doesn't even register. So whatever color the person is on the cover doesn't weigh either. What gets me to buy a book is the description of the story, not the depiction on its cover.

Honestly, I'm going to picture a character in my head the way I'm going to picture him/her. I regularly find that the picture that comes alive to me is not at all what the author describes, so I find that I enjoy my stories more if I just go with it and don't try to correct myself. Rarely does that person match the cover either.

However, I totally applaud your efforts to boycott based on your perceived injustice. I wish you luck in getting the industry at large to notice and correct the issue.

Renay said...

@I Heart Monster. You said: "I just want to say, that ignorant as I may be, a character's race doesn't weigh with me. It doesn't even register."

Claiming that race doesn't register is like saying "I don't see race" and that is just patently false, period. Everyone sees race; it is built into our many, many cultures to see race. It matters; it especially matters if what you see in your head is white, when the author or the cover tells you differently. That is a problem. To not demand change because "it doesn't matter to me what's on the cover" because even if it is a PoC or the author tells you it's a PoC you're going to imagine them the way you want, even if that imagining changes their race?

I hope I don't have to get explicit with why this is so, so problematic phrased the way it is. :|

"BLIND is not a moral positive. BLIND is an inability to perceive what the non-blind people around you can clearly .... see." [source]

I Heart Monster said...

I did not claim to not see race... I do see race - it's impossible not to. But I get lost in my reading and when my mind takes a character one way, I don't try to correct it - I just let it be.

Hopefully my honesty is not offensive to you, but if it is, oh well.

I often imagine characters being of races that they are not written as. I see main characters as black or latina or asian when they're written as white. I am just saying that I let my imagination do what it does and don't try to correct it.

I also never said that there is nothing wrong with the practice. It's just under my perception radar, and I don't intend to change the way I do things and jump into action on this front. I applaud those of you who do, but I have many more things that are more important to me, like having a planet to live on, no matter what race you are, 100 years from now... that I'll focus my boycotting efforts on. Like I said above, I applaud your efforts. I neglected to say that I support them - but I do support them, and wish you luck.

Sorry for any misconceptions my comment burgeoned.

mythicagirl said...

To those who may think its only a cover, I believe some historical perspective is needed. There are a couple of ways African Americans, or those thought to be descendants of Africans were depicted in past American culture. First, there was a time that offensive renderings were plentiful (smiling lawn jockeys, artwork with exaggerated features, whites in blackface, blacks in blackface) Second, even when Hollywood made movies with black characters who were paired with white love interests, they chose white women to play them (Ava Gardner in Showboat, Jeane Crain in Pinky, Natalie Wood in Kings Go Forth)

African American musical acts had happy white faces on their album covers, the thought being white listeners would more readily pick up their album with people who looked like them.

Reminders of those days gone past can be found each time you see Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. Blacks were addressed as "uncle" and "auntie" in the familiar, so as not to call them Mr. or Mrs, a form of respect not to be granted.

If blacks were present at all, then a smile on the face was mandatory (that's why AJ and UB are smiling)

What Bloomsbury, and any other publisher who does this is falling back on is the cultural norms of the past, ones that no longer are talked about, but are still with us, perhaps subtlely to some, but still here none the less.

It's either a crude caracature, or not used at all, or a white/near white version (eventually used on the LIAR cover)

The info I've listed above isn't something readily taught in schools, though it should be so people realize why all the anger.


So there's more to all this, whether it was innocently done, or an intentional business decision. Unfortunately, you can't change history. But you sure can keep on repeating it.

Chris said...

Hello

Not sure what I can add here but I did want to say that today I picked up a POC book at the used book store. Plus, I'm on the hunt for some Nalo Hopkinson books because of the events of the last couple of days.

I clicked "Read and Review POC" on your poll up there.

Thanks.

susan said...

Liz,
I hope you don't feel anyway any of my criticism was aimed at you. How could it be when you have demonstrated a commitment to supporting PoC and spend a lot of your time trying to get others to read more broadly.

Chris,
That's what I'm talking about: showing up and taking action. That's all I ask. Thank you.

I Heart,

Let me share with you in the most sincere, calm way I can, to tell a person of color that you don't see race, or you're colorblind or you don't think about race is not a compliment. It does not help. It does not build understanding.

I see people fully. I make no attempts to discount, dismiss anything about them. I want to you to look at me and see black, think about differences and likeness and being comfortable with both.
Thanks for coming by.

jennysbooks said...

Thank you for posting this. I really appreciate your efforts to raise awareness of racial issues in reading. This year I am trying to be much more conscious of the racial makeup of my reading list - I think it's incredibly important for us bloggers to be reading (and writing about!) books by people of color.

The Rejectionist said...

Dear Susan, we have nothing to add to this conversation that hasn't already been said by some real smart people here and all over the internets in the last couple of days. Just: thank you for being so awesome, and you let us know if you need us to, like, behead someone.
xo le r.

saveophelia said...

Everything has been said that I could say in support of this. I was coveting quite a few Bloomsbury books but they are off of my list - I will be joining the boycott along with all of you until they show REAL change instead of damage control.

The one thing that I did want to add is something that both the Story Siren and you brought up. On top of the issue we have with underrepresentation of PoC in fiction, we also have an underrepresentation of body types.

Unlike some bloggers, I also take offense to this - fat people are people and if they're fat in the story, they should be fat on the cover. In fact, I think I'd prefer this - normal body types on covers tell me about the kind of story that I'll be encountering and give me a great visual image of the character.

Thank you for taking the time to resopnd to everyone and to persist in making this something that we recognize and talk about.

Liz B said...

Susan, just stopping by to say I do plan on posting something but want to be able to say something, well, that isn't "me me me." Digesting it all, want to give it the time it demands (ie the weekend, not at the end of a workday & busy work weekend); silence here isn't not caring, or thinking. And of course just when things gell in my head, there is a new post to read!