**My apologies, but I didn’t know the Blogging in Black site would be down for maintenance today, so for those who have emailed me, I have updated this post to include the entire article. So, feel free to comment here if the BIB site isn’t up.**
For those who know me, you know I try to steer toward the positivity in things, stay away from drama, and do my absolute best in everything I do.Â I am the same with my family, with friends, and with business.Â Iâ€™m passionate about the literary industry and also when it comes to raising my children.Â Sometimes though, I just want to tell folks off, rant and rave, and throw up my hands in frustration. Talking it through helps at times; other times Iâ€™m too in shock to even wrap my mind around an issue. But lately Iâ€™ve been through both and keep finding myself at the OH NO THEY DIDNâ€™T realm of things.
I have been completely pissed off over the last two weeks and while Iâ€™m pretty vocal about a lot of things, to be pissed off to this level had to take something major; especially when I didnâ€™t get over it in a day or two, say what I had to say and move on.Â Shoot, Iâ€™m getting worked up now typing this up.Â To make matters worse, itâ€™s not something Iâ€™ll be getting over any time soon because it affects me day-to-day on two levels.
First, on the literary level.Â Yes, I’ve been in the literary industry coming up on a decade and I’ve done a great deal of work championing authors, supporting their efforts and getting the word out to readers and book enthusiasts alike about great Black books. In addition to the promotional side of RAWSISTAZ, I’ve done work as an editor, reviewer, and a literary agent, so I have more than one view of things.Â This comes in handy, yet it has fueled the flames for the most recent things happening in the literary industry.
Secondly, I am a mother and while I’m passionate about the lit world, me being a mother trumps everything else.Â I’d give up all of the literary stuff if I had to choose between sitting quiet over an issue or speaking out when it comes to something that affects my child(ren).Â Folks want to combine the two and think I’m going to sit quiet?Â Oh no…that is not going to happen.Â Mama Tee don’t play!
What had happened was…
Bloomsbury, once again, decided that a book with a protagonist who was a POC (person of color) couldn’t have a book cover with a POC on it.Â Instead, once again, they published the book (Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore) with a white girl on the cover?Â WHAT? They did this just last year with Justine Larbalestier’s book, Liar.Â The internet was buzzing and Bloomsbury (in this case, their Children/YA imprint) eventually backed down and replaced the cover (for their financial benefit, no doubt).Â BTW, Ms Larbalestier was also against the cover.Â And now, here they (Bloomsbury) go again with the whitewashing.Â WHAT?Â They didn’t learn from their past mistake a mere 6 or so months ago?
Excuse me…but as a mother, I am NOT trying to hear “this is a business and books with people of color on the cover don’t sell.”Â Because, what you’re telling me (and my daughter who loves reading) is that she is not good enough to have a cover which represents her on a book (even when the main character may look like her), that it’s normal not to see covers reflective of our diverse world (because publishers won’t make the covers match and because librarians won’t order books that do show us), and that you don’t respect the book buyer enough to remember the whole issue with Liar (and no, we didn’t forget).Â I’m sorry, but this is NOT ACCEPTABLE to me as a mother or as a lit industry professional. How dare they!Â :::taking a deep breath:::
I’m going to end here and continue this on a post later this week, because I am no where near done with my thoughts on this and other literary happenings.Â I’ve been sharing bits and pieces via threads on my Facebook account and via the RAWSISTAZ Fan Page.Â I would also encourage those concerned with the Bloomsbury issue to join the Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW) group, to buy more books with POC on the covers, to talk to librarians at the schools or in your communities and to donate books reflective of our diverse world to your child’s classroom.Â My children are going to be okay because I do these things already, but what about the rest of our children? This is simply not okay…
**Posted via my column at Blogging in Black.