Against Diversity.

Given the further ramping up of racism in the lit world, I have to confess something.

In recent weeks I’ve watched digital yellowface, more White lady authors defending each other from us savage Brown, Black, Queer, Disabled and countless others, I have seen White people do intellectual 10.0 tumbling routines in order to make sure everyone knows that it’s never their fault, they aren’t racists, they are just trying to get what we others have.

I have witnessed male poets sexually harass, objectify and gaslight women.

I haven’t commented on every single thing because I was busy putting out a book.

Here is something I’ve come to understand.

When they say they aren’t against, diversity they just are against censorship and racial nepotism they want us others around but quiet.

Yes, it’s reassuring to know that we Wise Old Negresses exists, but naturally only a precious few of us should be visible or audible at any one time.

If more than one of us speaks at one time, it’s just PCness taking over and tantamount to murderous terrorism and censorship on the level of book burnings and religious extremism.

Right.

I see exactly what’s happening.

Solidarity amongst us others is threatening to Whiteness because we have our own voices, and will not only have our own spaces but will be heard in those spaces as well.

I see the patterns in this behavior.

The fear based posturing. The apparently righteous cause of freedom of speech. The White Flight. The victim pose, oh poor picked on White people being held accountable for their words and actions. All of it.

And it is exhausting.

I endure the micro aggressions. I quietly unfollow, unfriend, put literary magazines on my verboten list. I note who I will and won’t EVER work with at my own peril.

And yet, YET I am still right here.

I wrote an amazing book that is vital and important and yes, it is fucking expensive. 

I’ve stood up for my work because god damn it, this is years of my life, deep life changing work for both my publisher and I. And yes, it is that valuable.

I do this work in the face of the wall of White tears, White outrage, Silencing, Othering, and cowpie dodging that is the publishing industry.

I do this work because it is what I am meant to do.

I don’t do it in order to lead White folks and publishers by the hand into the land of milk, honey & diversity.

I do it because I have things to say. Because my voice, the voice that I have struggled to find and learn how to wield like a machete and like a lover’s hand is important.

So yes, YES, by all means keep tumbling and cartwheeling to justify why I should remain silent.

I will not name you all.

But I see you.

I see you.

 

 

Trouble Mind, Aching heart.

Amid the excitement of me getting a new computer, (I DID IT. I almost cried because I was afraid some financial catastrophe would happen, but I did it), releasing Self Care Like a Boss with Milcah, doing two amazing readings with other QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color), getting PAID for one reading. Meeting and connecting with some WOC locally, having people walk up to me after my reading to tell me thank you for doing what I do and using my big fat mouth, life has been pretty overwhelming and beautiful.

I’ve been sharing inspiration and solidarity with other writers. Tears and angst and nerves.

It has been everything and draining and dreamy.

The dark side of this rainbow is having to come back to the reality of the literary world I live in.

An organization I pay money to belong to continually show it’s ass. From relegating the very real concerns of people of color to “controversy” and rather than engaging us nasty ole brown folks who pay to be a member of that community, we were brushed aside and at least I personally was called a bully, a racist, among other things. That led me to write this piece at Medium about the new coded language of racism in the lit world. That was in May. Just recently a woman decided to satirize the idea of someone in a position of power hunting indigenous people (because genocide IS SO FUCKING FUNNY) in order to “stand up” for AWP against all us bullies. This was in response to calls for AWP to be more transparent and have better disability/access policies.

Because obviously, if people who aren’t White Cis Able bodied people with money, they are just pushing around a huge organization that they pay to be members of.

Asking for transparency and to be listened to and treated like human beings is bullying now.

I come back from the daylight into the darkness of well intentioned White magazine editors publishing blatantly joyously Islamaphobic rants disguised as poetry, and their response is we didn’t mean it that way.

I come back to said same poet, traumatizing a friend with his hateful poetry. White men coming out of the woodwork to cry about censorship and how mean and evil every woman or other person is for objecting to their shitty pants art.

I come back to having to add yet more publishers and magazines to my growing list of places I will never submit to because when they fuck up, the answer is always I didn’t mean it that way, I am committed to diversity, our intentions were good.

I come back to online literary communities where, you can be that guy who is colorblind and it’s fine.

I have so many questions that I know will go unanswered.

I come back to the certain knowledge that the honest, I really need to know the questions I have, don’t get answered because I have the audacity to ask them and thus I become the aggressive enemy and the artists, editors and organizations must be shielded from my prying eyes.

It doesn’t matter how I ask. If I say please, if I say fuck you. They never take full honest responsibility.

Here are some of my questions.

Why exactly is it satirical to imagine someone in a position of power hunting human beings?

What exactly was the line that said, hey, this poem is going to be our statement on ISIS?

At what point, if any, does someone- fuck ANYONE an editor someone say, hey, maybe this subject doesn’t need another White man to be the face and voice of it?

Why don’t people of color submit to us?

I sit with these questions constantly. Sometimes I ask them of the appropriate people and have yet to get an honest thoughtful reply.

The thing I’ve said over and over again is this. You have to be honest. You have to sit in your discomfort and understand that you can shout out of one side of your mouth about how much you love diversity and representation and how welcome all of us others are welcome at your magazine or press, but understand that when the people in positions of power demonstrate both by word and deed how few fucks they give about all us others, we see it.

If you want to be an ally, you can’t just say oops, my bad a la Clueless and think it’s all okay. You have to be uncomfortable and be honest and be responsible for what you’ve done or said.

Contrary to the cries of shitmouth artists everywhere, when we say this is a racist thing that you printed, wrote or otherwise supported it is not the knee jerk reactions of silly brown people who can’t think critically. It is not the cry of unpublishable others, it is not a cry for censorship.

It is a demand for accountability.

It is not that it’s popular for POC or the countless others to stick our necks out and risk our careers just to “accuse” someone of bias or racism.

The situation is that many of us are tired of this shit.

We are tired of being colonized.

We are tired of our stories, our lives, our histories and current struggles being relegated to “controversy”.

We are tired of being silenced unless we are nice.

We are tired of this shit.

I am tired of this shit.

I don’t want to vet my submissions because I don’t want to be associated with publishers or magazines that are actively participating in my oppression.

I don’t want to come down from my literary dream dates and land face first in racism and shit fuckery.

There’s an extra layer to this involving publishing my book, but we’ll get to that another day.

That’s all for right now I have art to make.

Another day, more racism.

Earlier this morning I read yet another spectacularly racist piece of literature. Published by a magazine I’ve read on occasion. I have read how the editors responded and frankly, maybe I’m just too jaded, but I have so many questions.

The editors have said on tweeter that they had no intention of causing harm.

However.

I have questions.

At some point, there was editorial discretion. There was intent. This is not magical. I want to know what part of the editorial process made it so that this could happen yet again?

Why is it gringpo constantly thinks that the White voice is always the right voice? Want to show the horrors of racism or extremism? Ask White people.

If the intent is to in this instance put a spotlight on the horrors of ISIS, why use what boils down to an Islamaphobic rant? Why not ask you know an actual Muslim person?

Don’t answer, I know why.

The White Voice is the Right Voice.

Is this magic? Where does editorial discretion come in? At what point can some editor, any editor rather than apologize and state their intent, say, well I read this line and thought hot damn this is exactly what we want to say. And take responsibility beyond trying to mop up afterward?

I ask these questions knowing the answers already.

Whiteness is always given the benefit of the doubt.

We meant no harm…

We’re trying…

I’m not racist…

Always.

Regardless of how deep the fuck up or offense, those of us outside of Whiteness who are harmed by it at most and at the least benefit from it, we know.

I know.

And y’all, right now I’m just so tired. I’m tired of feeling the need to investigate beyond aesthetics anywhere I submit. I’m tired of watching editors say really racist shit under their own names then “openly” call for minority submissions.

I’m tired of saying, not yelling or begging, of just saying, hey, this is pretty fucked up and watching people just like me get called names and attacked on the basis of our bodies, of work (well you’re not getting published because maybe you aren’t good enough) to how we choose to speak (maybe if you were nice about it..) and then FINALLY someone White says, hey them mean ass Brown folks really mean “can you pretty please listen to use Mista, we just wants a chance to shine” and suddenly, everything makes sense.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of professional organizations showing their Anti Blackness.

I’m tired of literary magazines that are full of The Right Voice.

Gringpo, I’m tired of you.

I don’t even literally talk to these publications or these editors. I’m too tired. I’m exhausted.

I just want…shit I don’t even know at this point.

The only thing I can say for sure is I don’t want to keep up my guard against this sort of thing. I don’t want to keep adding publications to my do not submit list because I don’t want to deal with their anti Blackness, their Whiteness etc.

I don’t want to see more writers I’ve liked and supported suddenly lose respect because POC spoke up.

This is not the literary world, I want to live in.

But it is the one I live in and I have to deal with that.

So I’ll be tired. I’ll write more. I’ll watch. I’ll add to my verboten list.

And I guess that’s really all I can do.

 

 

Dragons, Wights, Giants, White Walkers yes! Brown people Not so Much.

First read this where George R.R Martin sort of addresses his franchises race problem.

This jumped out at me:

In June, a fan asked Martin: “There are a white race, a black race in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and many other races. Why there is no Asian race (Chinese-like, Japanese-like) in the Game of Thrones show and ASOIAF books?”

Martin replied:

Well, Westeros is the fantasy analogue of the British Isles in its world, so it is a long long way from the Asia analogue. There weren’t a lot of Asians in Yorkish England either.

That is not to suggest that such places don’t exist, however. You will want to get THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE when it comes out in October. In the “Other Places” section you will find a lot of material about Yi Ti, the island of Leng, and the plains of the Jogos Nhai, which you may find of interest,

Wait..hold up.

So in a fantasy realm that is an analogue of the British Isles…that if you do non racist research you’ll learn is not the fantasy bastion of pure whiteness. We have:

  • Dragons
  • White Walkers
  • Giants
  • Gigantic Wolves
  • Children of the Forest
  • Krakens

ETC

That totally works because well, what is fantasy without fantastical creatures.

But it is so hard to not erase the POC or to use them in deeply racist and problematic ways in the books?

Thinly veiled Latina (hot spicy slutty) stereotypes, people coded as Black referred to as “mongrels” by one of the Whitest White Savioring (Mother) slave lover/dehumanizer, rape rapity rape rape RAPE…all that is completely perfect for an Analogue of some time period in the British Isles that doesn’t fucking exist and that’s all okay BUT it is not okay to put Asian or Black folks in the story?

…………really?

Yes really. It is something I have heard from White fantasy readers since I first wanted to talk about fantasy with other fans when I was a kid.

POC make the story unbelievable.

Even if the people (problematic or not) in the story are described as Black or Asian or Latina they are read as White or if the thing is moved to a visual medium they are magically white or as we found out when the Hunger Games came out, people are disappointed that a character is of color.

Look White authors, white readers this is why POC fans can’t trust you and why we are pissed off.

Look.

If you are going to rely on stereotypes that are harmful to actual readers because you can’t look at POC as full humans or you just won’t, don’t bother.

Stop.

A lot of White authors wring their hands about how “hard” it is to write POC. Look it’s not really that fucking hard if you look at people of color as fully functional human beings. If you don’t actually do that and seriously honest with yourself, I question your motives and everything else.

One of the fundamental ideas about character is that they are in essence fully made beings and if you are a pretty good author you write them with depth.

If you write every other character (even to the non human) with depth and feeling and reduce your token POC to bed warmers, tongueless slaves, slaves or other two dimensional characters I don’t trust you.

As readers if you can legit believe in the perils of White Walkers and that winter is fucking coming and having non white fully formed characters in a story ruins it, well as they say you might be a racist.

Being both a fan and a creator let me show you how I feel about this in a nutshell:

OFFTOFUCK

God damn it.

We live in the fucking future.

It is 20 mother fucking 14 and White people still often act like POC are aliens and there’s no way to actually hear us speak or learn about us without colonizing or assimilating.

Come on now.

Try the fuck harder.

That’s all.

Dear Authors an Open Letter to Writers

Dear Authors,

I recently finished reading Ghost Story by Peter Straub.(This is an affiliate link sorry)

Overall it was an entertaining yarn. I’m not super familiar with his ouevre but some of what I’ve read was pretty good.

And then this.

Okay look, can we stop with the mystical magical negro?

Also can we not denote said mystical magical negro with some heavily antiquated shuck n jive, minstrel (yeah the one Black man in this book…minstrel..you know) every old black man is a blues man who speaks in raspy jazzy baritone with a lot of I be’s and shit.

Fuck.

Really?

REALLY?

I just, y’all.

Can you not?

Just don’t bother if that is the only thing you can think of. Even for a novel with a timeless ageless mystical magical negro, there are other ways of expressing blackness even antiquated blackness.

White writers this is a problem.

So really if you’re not even going to really try to do something outside of the mystical magical shuck n jive I be playin dem blues boss negro, stop.

Maybe I have too much expectation. Or faith in writers who have made more money than I have ever seen in my lifetime that they could (Straub, King, I am looking at you two) think of something else to do.

Mr. Bunny…Bones…whatever his name was from this book was the evil version of the Black man in the book he did with King.

Literally the same rhythms and cadences and manners of speech.

Authors at large, y’all know there are many different accents and types of Black people speech right?

Frankly anything written after the year 2000, come on now.

I feel like these things are again ruining my love of horror.

Ruining it.

I mean okay if you can build a world within the modern world where there are ancient mythological beings who will fuck up your whole life only because they can and they are bored, and you can populate an entire town with interesting people, and you can research enough so that behaviors from specific time periods make sense why is there only that Black man in so many horror stories.

I feel the same way about fantasy stories.

I got two books into the Shannara series and had to quit.

Not too long ago I went on a mission to check out some online horror/sf/f zines.

So much with the Whiteness. To the point where I wonder if classic horror tropes treated outside of European roots would be understood? Accepted?

What is even…ugh.

I’m so frustrated. I want to read shit I like and not feel shitty about it.

Something outside of Whiteness or nah?

Apparently nah.

I don’t want to read another mystical magical minstrelized blues playing shuck n jive negro.

So a lot of stuff is just out.

I am seriously feeling some type of way about this right now. I have a lot of horror/sf/f/ related stuff on my writing bucketlist but I feel like there is no place for me in genre fiction and it hurts my fucking heart.

So really, dear other authors can you not?

Sincerely,

Shannon Barber

A few things.

Okay first if some strange dude contacts you about how awful I am as a human being and/or about my writing feel free to ignore or harass him back.

There is a dude out there who has dedicated himself to “stopping” me and my work because I hurt his feefees.

Second thing.

Men and White people are exhausting me right now. I keep seeing people I actually like saying really gross things and it is tiring. I’m not engaging because given what I’ve seen it’s not worth my time and fucks given.

That said, it does make me feel very uncomfortable speaking/being myself around them.

I’m not hurt or angry I’m just tired. And that being what it is I did another mass social media purge of people I follow/am friends with. No notes just quiet unfollowing/muting etc.

So last week I think I saw this review on Strange Horizons for a spec fic book by for and about POC. Find the anthology Long Hidden here. This part of the review keeps playing in my head:

A bigger issue—not necessarily a problem—arises from seeing all of these stories together, as a collection. They are a staggeringly diverse bunch of stories by a staggeringly diverse posse of authors, and the brief the authors worked to is broad enough to encompass the entire world and all of history up to a hundred years ago, other than the paths which are already so well-trodden as to be clichéd. 

Here’s the thing.

The  “not necessarily a problem” doesn’t work because frankly is it SO fucking staggering and uh, off putting that a very diverse group of authors for an anthology that is for by and about POC is very diverse?

I keep seeing this sort of white people shock that POC are ever talking, writing or doing stuff amongst ourself. Granted Strange Horizons did apologize after a lot of the people involved with

I saw it in um, I forget the film but one of the reaons the director gave for not having POC was that diversity is “distracting to audiences”.

Are white people so delicate and so unable to see past the norm (whiteness) that more than one brown or non white person just throws them all off?

So I keep seeing this sort of discourse especially in sf/f arenas.

Why do so many people insist on, no wait white people let’s be real, seem to think that inclusion is some conspiracy by us left wing crazed POC?

This is why the whole idea of POC doing things for and amongst ourselves is often just not going to get off the ground. When we do our spaces and the things we create are still filtered through a lens of whiteness that then faults us for not adhering to some “norm” (read: whiteness).

I have this same issue with most “feminist” magazines and a lot of literary magazines as well.

I earnestly wish I was not such a critically thinking person. I wish I could just not see these things and not think about them. I wish I could let it roll off of my back but the fact is, these things effect me.

A lot of people who have told me to ignore it etc don’t seem to understand that these things aren’t isolated. They don’t occur in a vacuum.

These are things that intersect, knot up and become a problem that spreads from my writing to my walking around in meat space and being really not okay with shit people say to me because whiteness says it is okay.

It is just exhausting.

I try to limit my exposure/engagement but honestly when it is a matter of me knowing where in the greater writing industry I might be okay to submit or not.

This is another moment where I feel like I’m shouting into the void aka the dirty asshole of the universe and it is just farting on me.

That said it does ease my mind a bit to just get it out.

So yeah.

In other news that isn’t filed under things that make my asshole itch, I’m almost done reading Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex. Honestly it is a really great collection. If you are interested in the lives of sex workers told not as pain porn or serving anti sex work read it.

Also I picked up some free stuff for my kindle and so far I’ve read some great things. AND I just saw recently some of the indie books that are now out of print I can still get for my kindle so fuck yeah.

Okay that’s all. I have many work to do and lots of feelings to hurt.

 

Trouble Mind.

This is really not my week.

I am going to try not to be super specific so if this comes across kinda vague yeah.

So to start my week I was invited to participate in a sooper sekrit speshul invite only writing group.

So on going to said writing group and following their rule of posting 1-2 polished works, I checked out the other writers.

There was one other woman who wasn’t active and a whole lot of White men.

So I posted links to this and this and as per instructed waited for my “critiques”. I did not mention that the second piece was nominated for a Pushcart thingy, I did not mention really anything about myself.

My “critiques” were pretty much that I should write about White people (“normal”) and that my Lesbian narrator from the first story wasn’t “sexy” (mainstream porno lesbian for straight dudes basically).

Not one word about craft, no suggestions where lines could have been tightened up. It was a long thread about how “off putting” and totally not racist it is to expect that I a Black Queer Author should keep things White n Right.

I did not comment I pm’d the moderator/the person who invited me and expressed my discomfort and judging from other threads I did not want to turn shit political because that is not what I was there for and I am kind of at political saturation.

The response was to tell me not to be so sensitive and that I should be “professional” and take the critiques and say thanks. There was also mention of the race card, social justice having a place and time and writing for a “broad audience”.

I deleted my original post and left the group without a word.

Then I got a message on facebooks from a rando dude type who mentioned being interested in my work. I said thank you and accepted the friend request  (I don’t have an actual author page and accept most requests) so lalalala new fb friend lala.

Today I woke up to two messages one saying Hi Ms. Barber (always a bad sign) followed by a fucking unwanted and unasked for dick picture.

Fucking christ.

I responded by saying a.) fuck off and b.) I’m reporting you. Before I could figure out how to block and report there was another message telling me how much he “loves and respects Black Women” and he “Didn’t mean it”.

I finally got his ass blocked and reported to facebook. By the time I got to work his page was gone. Lucky for him I guess because I had intended on putting his ass on blast all over social media.

I was hoping nothing else would happen today and planned on doing some stuff.

THEN i get a very long email from an etsy customer who is very very angry at me.

She purchased my essay about why I don’t identify as a feminist a couple of weeks ago and apparently just read it this morning. She had also purchased a few other things.

So in this note she lost her shit because not “all” white feminists “are that way” and there’s no such thing as Black and White feminists, about how she “used” to be such a huge fan and was rooting for me.

Now she will never read my work again, which is fine it’s obviously not for her anyway. And demanded I return her two dollars which I did.

All this combined with last night spending about an hour screening and deleting racist messages across my social media accounts and everything right now I just feel so down.

I feel some type of way about all this.

I mean that writing group thing.

Of the authors in the group, I was among the mot widely published. I have experience, I have insights but I don’t write for White dudes so I’m not good?

I feel a lot of things and they all mush up into fatigue and dismay.

It makes me wonder that regardless of how hard I work, how good my shit may be, this is just going to keep happening.

I have decreased how much I engage with these things but that does not protect me from shit.

This is why I talk about Black women have no safe space.

This kind of stress and fatigue makes it really hard for me to work on my Self Care book because I don’t want all this badness to infect it.

So I am going to try and hide out.

Listen to music and play with some other stories that White people will probably tell me are terrible because they are outside of Whiteness. I will strengthen myself from that. I will read some good poetry and listen to it on youtube.

I am going to protect myself as best I can because I have to.

I have to survive.

I have to write.

If I don’ write these stories who will?

A Few Thoughts.

I’m really tired and feeling beyond crazy.

My brain is full of fuck and I’ve been unable to work on the self care thing the way I’d like so I’m leaving it alone until I can do it without fucking it up.

Rather than fuck up my thing I did some editing and submitting today.

I was pointed towards a couple of zines and I just, y’all.

I did some research as you do when you are checking out a new venue. The first thing that leapt out at me was I saw the word diversity in the about and faq a lot.

What I did not find in about 8 issues and the editors interview on Duotrope was the diversity.

So honestly if your diversity is made up of a textbook example of the Western Literary Canon excluding the few women, what the real fuck are you even talking about?

Real talk.

Since I have not been submitting, going back to it I just- I am growing this jaded disinterest that makes me so sad.

It is so exhausting to me to be reading magazines and understanding so keenly that my AAVE filled, no White people in sight stories don’t belong.

On the other hand I want to submit just to see if they get it or if I get another maybe if you adjust the language type rejection.

To say I am feeling some type of way about the publishing industry on the whole right now is an understatement.

This post is also brought to you by a situation I found myself in this week.

I don’t want to go into a lot of specifics but suffice to say, again my work was questioned on the basis of it not being about/in the realm of white men and it just makes me really sad and tired.

I’m feeling this way while trying to write uplifting beautiful things that come from my fucking soul and I just…I am so angry.

So yeah.

I will slog on but today, man.

Fuck publishing.

Fuck the literary world and the white dudebros who can’t see past their own dicks.

That’s all.

Nothing like being punched in the face by White Privilege.

Recently I have been talking a lot about White privilege in my other blog. If you’re not familiar with or misunderstand the term before you read this post, please read what I’ve said here and here.

Today via tumblr this seriously award winning YA fantasy/romance book was brought to my attention.

For a taste let’s go over some things that even before I read the synopsis made me angry.

  • Heavy use of Blackface as both the cover art AND as a plot device.
  • Playing on the atavistic White fear of not being in charge of everything.
  • This book is for fucking children.

Now a part of the synopsis as printed at Goodreads.

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe.

Further to quote from the book website itself. From a blog post by the author titled:

Blackface or Cautionary Tale?

A bit from that entry:

In the novel I aimed to turn racism on its head, hoping to portray its horrors and its inevitable road to violence. The dust jacket photo shows Eden’s face half white and half dark. She is shedding a false cover, and learning to accept herself—a journey we all must take, regardless of race.

Okay.

First of all. Let’s have a look at the language of this book.

The protagonist is a young White woman, young White women in almost every instance are the saveable heroines who must be protected but are also always incredibly heroic and beautiful. Now this young White saveable woman is part of the minority in this dystopia called Pearls.

What is a Pearl?

If one is an accomplished acclaimed author I would imagine the author knew god damn well what the connotation is. Pearls are smooth, white, and precious delicate things.

The People of Color or as the author calls them Coals. They are the ruling class. Let’s think about the word Coal. Coal is dirty, coal is dangerous.

So we get the set up of oh poor white people.

At some point on the website (which I can’t palate anymore) there is something about Eden’s Father being the last hope for “humanity” and yet through the website it is the “Pearls” who need saving. Is it hard to make the conclusion that Coals are then inhuman?

Now let’s be real.

This color blind White bullshit is damaging and awful. Pretending that because you didn’t intend for something to be racist doesn’t make it okay to be rampantly racist and rewarded for your blind racism by winning book awards.

This is what White Privilege in baseball bat form looks like.

The language across the websites involved with this book go from Pearls and Coals, to Pearls (Eden the protagonist) needing to save “humanity” that does not apparently involve the Coals. To a “man beast” she is attracted to and by the rules of the world this author created this beast is a Coal.

What galls me is not only have a lot of the well reasoned crituqie gone unheard because the author “didn’t mean it” or POC are being “too sensitive and playing the race card” is that the fact is when people of color encounter this, most White people are silent. And this is a problem because as I have experienced time and again for the last 30 years of my life, when it comes to race and racism most White people believe the word of another White person over what a person of color says.

Yes. That is how it is.

In an era when an author of color has to battle with fans at their back to get a person on the cover of their book who is a person of color (google it I still can’t deal with what happened), to Racefail 09 , to things like having to deal with the fact that if you write  a story about or heavily featuring people of color you stand a good chance at being shunted into some microcosm of literature when it’s not appropriate and there’s not a lot you can do about it. White authors “flipping” racism are rewarded by:

2012 Eric Hoffer Award

Los Angeles Book Festival

What the fuck are we actually supposed to do?

Prior to this book hitting tumblr, it looks like most of the White reviewers said nothing about being at all uncomfortable with it.

Not. One. Question.

Rave reviews. SO refreshing, so new, so original.

Are you fucking serious?

This is what privilege is. You get lauded and cookies and raves for “flipping” something that quite literally millions of people are talking and writing about every single day.

Dear White People who have some handle on privilege,

This is a moment when you need to collect your people. Grab them by the hand, by the back of the pants or whatever and tell them that they are hurting us.

I honestly literally wanted to throw up after reading the glowing commentary and rave reviews. Yes, POC voices are loud and strong but we all know, our voices are not enough. They never have been. When the “voice” that puts racism in a spotlight says things like:

I’m white, and except for our housekeeper, everyone I knew in my hometown in the Southeast was white. 

What the fuck are we supposed to do?

This is why I have no plans ever to fuck with mainstream literature. Things like this are why sometimes being a writer of color or a reader of color hurts.

I won’t even go into the Mandingo archetype and how problematic that is nor the “someday we’ll all be beige” bullshit. I can’t even.

Right now, even if I was still interested in mainstream publication or genre lit I’d still say fuck you lit world. Fuck you in your racist fucking eye.