Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Mother's Open Letter To Bloomsbury

Dear Bloomsbury:

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
For your convenience and the convenience of all those who want to read the growing legion of dissent, visit our Boycott page.

13 comments:

Eva said...

This was so well written! Go Susan! :)

Michelle (su[shu]) said...

That's a very strong letter, and a very strong message.

Tarie said...

Thank you for these arguments, Susan. I have a young friend (13 years old). She has dark skin (Filipinos come in all colors because we are, in many ways, a multicultural society). Sometimes it can be tiring to fight. But then I think of my friend and I think, "I don't want her to ever feel that there is something wrong with her skin color. I don't want her to ever feel that she is worthless." And so I am energized. :)

Chris said...

This is just perfect, Susan! Perfect!

Nymeth said...

Wonderfully said, Susan.

Tea said...

Susan, thanks for helping us to stay more in tune and aware of happenings around us and around the world.

hcmurdoch said...

Well said. I hope you'll post their response

Jessie Carty said...

way to take a stand!!

Emidy said...

What a powerful letter! It's great to take initiative and try to change things. Way to go! :D

thestonebow said...

Beautiful, Susan. I hope that Bloomsbury will hear you, and hear all of us, and change. They're not getting any of my money until they do.

April said...

I am in awe of your beautiful, wonderful writing.

susan said...

Thank you all.

Let's continue to work for change.

Villager said...

I will add link to this blog post to my blog in hopes that my blog readers will join your boycott...

I must admit that I had never heard of Bloomsbury until now...

peace, Villager