Monday, July 27, 2009

Diversity Roll Call Part A

This week's Diversity Roll Call is being hosted by Ali @ Worducopia. Its been a very busy week within the children's blogger world. There's the cover controversy with the upcoming YA release Liar by Justine Larbaleister's. The main character is Black, yet there is a White girl on the cover. That didn't go over to well. Another hot topic (look out Whoopi, here I come) was books for boys. Do in part to an open letter from an educator to the School Library Journal. Which so much going on Ali's given us a choice this week.

Topic A- Talk about the cover controversy
Topic B Talk about or list books that appeal to both genders.

I am doing A & B. I want to do B but I feel I can't ignore A. I would hope that since I tend to review books featuring characters of color, writing this unnecessary, but I don't want to skip over A and give the impression that I don't care. I don't want it to appear as if I am not making myself heard with regards to this cover controversy. I didn't do a post on my blog, because I don't get enough traffic, so I decided to make myself heard on other blogs. Where I spoke out - The Brown Bookshelf Chasing Ray Color Online Taste Life Twice
Larbaleister's blog (comment # 98, top 100, sweet). There were a few others.

I am going to take this opportunity to say I am sadden but not surprised that many of the teen bloggers, didn't talk about this. I don't know how any blogger could avoid this issue. My not doing a post about the Liar controversy, hurts no one. My reviews speak for me, besides publishers aren't listening to me, hell they don't even know me. But they know the bloggers with over 100, 200, sometimes 400 followers. These bloggers felt this was someone else's issue and decided no talk about. Publishers, hear this silence as loud as our protest of outrage maybe more so. Their silence helps answer the question, why did Bloomsbury decide to put a White girl on the cover of a book with a Black protagonist.

With over 100 bloggers at least, I know these It bloggers (air quotes please) have some teens of color, followers. This next part goes out to those followers. Please teens of color, stop allowing these It bloggers (air quotes) to whitewash your bookshelves. Do you have to limit your reading to author's of the same race or religion? No. But claim and embrace stories with characters that look like you. Embrace stories with characters who don't.

White readers who refuse to discover authors of color may think they have everything they need but they're so wrong. Adult readers of color know this, and we laugh at their colorless reading, we mock their inability to appreciate the artistic beauty of others, we pity them for missing out on - Diane Mckinney-Whetstone, Junot Diaz, Gail Tsukiyama, Christina Garcia, Kim Sunee, Bernice L Mcfadden, Octavia E Butler, Colson Whitehead, and all the others wonderful authors some White readers will never know because they are limited by their excess amount of choices. We don't have the luxury of exculsive reading, and I don't want it because the price is too heavy.

As a reader of color reading versatility is your birth right. You should be able to go from
Jacqueline Woodson - Sarah Dessen -Mitali Perkins - Coert Voorhees - Francisco Stork - Sara Zarr -Julia Alvarez- Dream Jordan - Sheba Karim- Maureen Johnson- Dene Low- Beth Kephart- Tia Williams - Libba Bray like its the most natural thing in the world. As a reader of color you should be embracing the stories some of your peers are so foolishly overlooking. I get it there's pressure to keep up with hot titles (as a blogger I face that as well) but sometimes you have to discover you own hot titles.

3 comments:

Ali said...

As a white reader, I so agree with this: we pity them for missing out on - Diane Mckinney-Whetstone, Junot Diaz, Gail Tsukiyama, Christina Garcia, Kim Sunee, Bernice L Mcfadden, Octavia E Butler, Colson Whitehead, and all the others wonderful authors some White readers will never know because they are limited by their excess amount of choices. Then again, there are 5 authors on that particular list who I haven't yet read, so clearly I, too, have more to do.

Doret said...

Ali, no one can or wants to read everything but I get tired of some White readers not being knowing besting selling authors of color. I live in Atlanta, and I get tired of White readers not knowing who local besting author Pearl Cleage is. I am not saying they have to read her but at least know who she is.

zettaelliott said...

Great post, Doret! And yes--showing LOCAL authors some love is just as important as reading big names like Toni Morrison or Walter Mosely.