It has taken me several days to compose this letter. It took time to stop reeling from your latest whitewashing incident. I was so affected by this abhorrent act that my rage constricted my throat but silence doesn’t serve us. I have given considerable thought to what I want to express here. I want my message to be clear. I’m a woman on a mission. I am a parent who has been stunned by the emotional and psychological assault you have waged on my children. Whitewashing is the marginalization and disregard for children of color. Whitewashing sends a clear message: people of color do not matter. Our children's psyches have been bruised. Your systematic erasure of their images has warped their sense of self. Your failure to recognize the harm you cause has provoked my most fierce stance against you.
Let me share with you some of my background. I’m a reader, an activist and literacy advocate. I’ve been pushing back against marginalization for more than thirty-five years. I have been publicly involved in diversity issues for more than twenty years. I am blue-collar, union stock, an urban child born during one of the most significant periods of American history. I was baptized in the waters of activism. I am tenacious, committed and seasoned. I am a black woman with scars from marginalization. I know firsthand the sting of having my image absent, distorted and trivialized. This boycott is no temporary tantrum; it will not blow over. More than money is at stake here for me so we will do this whitewashing tango until one of us gives. I have the lungs and the legs to go the distance. This boycott is personal and political and that is a formidable combination.
I, LaTonya M. Baldwin, founder of Color Online am giving you notice, Bloomsbury. I am leading a boycott against your publishing house because of your failure to discontinue the racially charged practice of whitewashing which:
- Contributes to the poor self-image among children of color
- Fails to accurately represent race and diversity
- Says people of color do not matter
- Denies readers positive and diverse representation
- Is socially and morally wrong