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Tasha&Kamali
07-28-2012, 06:35 AM
http://www.sanddollarpress.com/wp-content/themes/SandPressTheme/images/save-the-pearls-revealing-eden-book-cover.jpg

A few articles have come out today, completely bashing the young adult novel about a distopian society where white people are the minority.

Here's a youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=v0AT6qxYBI4) of a white woman in blackface promoting the book.

I think this book, and the chatter around it, is a pretty good example of white privilege. The articles def reminded me of some of the threads on this board.


Hoping to capitalize off of the popularity of dystopian young adult novels like The Hunger Games, Foyt constructed a narrative in which, she explains, “Solar radiation has wiped out most of the white race whose lack of melanin causes them to succumb to the Heat.

The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.” In the new world, Eden must rely on Bramford, a Coal. As Foyt describes it, Pearls is “a Beauty and the Beast story in which both parties must find self-acceptance before they can discover true love.”

Say what?


http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-07-27/today-in-racism-ya-series-save-the-pearls-employs-offensive-blackface-and-bizarre-racist-stereotypes-plot/


Victoria Foyt is failing readers of color. What is in this novel for black and brown children other than self hate? We’re talking about a society where images of beautiful women of color are rarely shown in mass media. Hell, there are barely any women of color in mass media to begin with.

The novel rings forth as not only harmful, but intentionally spiteful. Either Victoria Foyt is the most naive, backward thinking author since Joseph Conrad, or she’s a thoroughgoing racist. I can’t find an in between here.

http://theblackkidstable.com/2012/07/27/save-the-pearls-a-white-womans-worst-nightmare/

My question to the board. Have you read it? What do you think?

Alessandra Kelley
07-28-2012, 06:56 AM
I have never heard of her, or of this book. I looked at this thread thinking she was perhaps under fire for standing up for PoC.

But even before I started reading the thread, that cover disturbed me. Is that ... is that girl's face ridiculously Caucasian on one side and offensively blackface on the other? Oh, dear.

It looks and from the description sounds terribly offensive. But who is publishing it? Who is behind it? Sand Dollar Press, the publisher, has no books but this one.

veinglory
07-28-2012, 07:07 AM
I'd have to read it to know. I assumed the point was to help kids think about being a minority if they aren't one. There is also an adult historical where a historical advanced African nation invades the US and keeps white people as slaves. Role reversal can be thought provoking. It undermines assumptions that majority traits are innately linked to being dominant.

Cyia
07-28-2012, 07:09 AM
Is this self-published? I looked it up on Goodreads, read through some of the comments, and I really can't tell.

Tasha&Kamali
07-28-2012, 07:10 AM
I'd never heard of her before today either. I read that she's a screenwriter and actress in addition to being a novelist.

This is the authors second novel. Her first was published by HarperTeen in 2007.

Maybe it makes sense why this wasn't published by them.

veinglory
07-28-2012, 07:13 AM
I've read about it in mainstream sources, I would say it was reasonably well known.

Invincibility
07-28-2012, 11:13 AM
Here's (http://theblackkidstable.com/2012/07/27/save-the-pearls-a-white-womans-worst-nightmare/) a pretty good article about the problems with the book.


Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash.
This is something the author apparently said, which... yikes???

TudorRose
07-28-2012, 12:13 PM
The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.The race reversal isn't a new premise in YA by any stretch. UK author Malorie Blackman's NOUGHTS AND CROSSES was published here a decade ago... and to some critical acclaim. From Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noughts_%26_Crosses_%28novel_series%29):


This novel describes an alternate history where humans evolved while Pangaea was still intact. Without the barriers to exchange of domesticable animals, among other factors, the natives of Africa gained a technological and organizational advantage over the humans of Europe rather than the other way around, and made Europeans their slaves. At the time of the story, slavery has been abolished, but Jim-Crow type segregation operates to keep the Crosses (the Africans) in control...

Persephone 'Sephy' Hadley is a Cross (meaning that she has dark skin) and the daughter of a wealthy politician. Callum McGregor is a nought (meaning that he has light skin). Malorie Blackman describes herself as "a black woman writer" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malorie_Blackman), so she's not writing from a position of white privilege. I haven't read either book, so I can't comment on how the subject matter is approached in both or what I perceive the authorial intent to be, but it might be interesting to compare and contrast how perceptions of white privilege might impact on the kneejerk reactions of other people who just hear the premise and haven't read them either.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 01:35 PM
I thought this thread would be here. I was about to post a link in another thread. I think there is something telling that she named the white people 'pearls' and the PoC 'coals'.

This is what the blurb on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Revealing-Eden-Save-Pearls-Pt/dp/0983650322)says

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she will 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 per cent? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's colouring 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. Just may be one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.


I liked Kira's review (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/378561904) on it. She talks about aspects of the novel as she read it:

I digress. But it's just this sort of thing I abhor: dressing up racism to make it look like some kind of beautiful amazing metaphor. The girl in this book WANTS to go back to a world where the white people reign supreme. She has dreams about black men attacking her and all the black men are portrayed as monsters or "beasts".

All sounds horribly racist.

ETA: this review signals out how I feel about the authors naming of races in the novel so I thought I'd post this snippet:

The terms for POC are offensive and ill-issued. Black individuals are referred to as Coals (the image draws to mind dirty, undesirable, disposable); Asian individuals are referred to as Ambers; Latino and Hispanic individuals are referred to as Tiger's-Eyes; meanwhile, caucasians are referred to as Pearls (precious, rare, etc.). THIS IS RACISM. It's not even masked racism; it's in your face, on the page. On page nine, it shines through clear as day--our protagonist refers to a POC as "them." (Italicized, by the way.) (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/378293917)


ETFA: Oh man I can't believe that this series title is called Save the Pearls = Save the Whites. What? Seriously?

ETFA2: Her characters are played by actors in blackface on her youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/savethepearls).

And she seems to think that the only problem with her characters she will face backlash of is the interracial relationship in this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)by her.

To quote Victoria Foyt's anecdote about her childhood in this article:

Imagine this: a fourth grade girl with wild curly hair, huge green eyes and large bee-stung lips, her skin perpetually tanned from the Florida sun, stands alone waiting for her mother to pick her up after school. A large yellow school bus begins to pull away when a young boy sticks his head out of the window and hurls a racial slur at the girl.

Her first reaction is shame. He has slandered her with an ugly epithet -- a disgusting remark about her lips. Later, she wonders how he could possibly have mistaken her race. She is white, the remark usually targeted at blacks. (The term "African American" did not exist in that day.)

Confused and hurt, she wonders why her appearance should elicit such hatred. She hides this incident in the back of her mind and never repeats it to anyone until many years later when she writes a book in which she turns racial stereotypes upside down.

Only when I began to answer interview question and answers, did I recall the incident, and wonder how it had informed the story. Writers pluck bits and pieces from their lives and weave them, often unconsciously, only hoping the seams between reality and fiction do not show.

_Sian_
07-28-2012, 02:15 PM
The race reversal isn't a new premise in YA by any stretch. UK author Malorie Blackman's NOUGHTS AND CROSSES was published here a decade ago... and to some critical acclaim. From Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noughts_%26_Crosses_%28novel_series%29):

Malorie Blackman describes herself as "a black woman writer" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malorie_Blackman), so she's not writing from a position of white privilege. I haven't read either book, so I can't comment on how the subject matter is approached in both or what I perceive the authorial intent to be, but it might be interesting to compare and contrast how perceptions of white privilege might impact on the kneejerk reactions of other people who just hear the premise and haven't read them either.

A bit of a deviation...

I read this book when I was .... 14? And I went on to read the other three. And the reversal was complete, utterly complete, and it was never actually spelled out "a is white, b is black", but you picked it up from descriptions.

I have never thought more in my teenaged years than after reading that book, and it especially made me look at young male POCs in a different way. I had subconsious ideas about the danger related to guys that had darker skin then I did, and this book made me look at how I thought, and changed how I acted. It was an amazing book, it really was. Said so much to me about positions of power and how we treat people in this world.

Sorry for the deviation from the OP - this book sounds horrible, it really does - but I just had to say what a impact noughts and Crosses made on me and on my ideas about race and how we treat each other.

Silver-Midnight
07-28-2012, 02:48 PM
After reading through mostly everything, I can say my reaction is :eek: and :Jaw:.

Alessandra Kelley
07-28-2012, 02:53 PM
I suspect this book is self published.

The website for Sand Dollar Press says they have a background in independent filmmaking which gives them "a fresh outlook on marketing ... video book trailers and viral campaigns, coupled with expertise in marketing, public relations, and social media strategy, that results in the unrivalled execution of book launches."

Given what Tasha&Kamali said about her being a screenwriter and actress, that suggests it's the author herself behind all this.

The site talks grandly about "quality novels in the area of science fiction, mystery and romance," but there's no sign of any other book except this one.

I think we're all being played for a PR campaign.

And the book sounds appalling, not only offensive, but laughably unlikely both in sf and social history. "We run the world and have chosen a really obnoxious and filth-related name for ourselves and a literally precious jewel name for the dwindled remnants of our ancient oppressors." Yeah, that happens.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 02:55 PM
After reading through mostly everything, I can say my reaction is :eek: and :Jaw:.

Exactly it's like the more I searched for her name, the more I read articles by her about her books, the more any positivity about this vanished. Like umm wow it's like the grave was being dug deeper. And the reviews about what is actually in the book is very insightful from what I gathered the 'coals' become 'beasts' like through a rite of passage and ritual.

aruna
07-28-2012, 02:56 PM
The race reversal isn't a new premise in YA by any stretch. UK author Malorie Blackman's NOUGHTS AND CROSSES was published here a decade ago... and to some critical acclaim. From Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noughts_%26_Crosses_%28novel_series%29):

Malorie Blackman describes herself as "a black woman writer" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malorie_Blackman), so she's not writing from a position of white privilege. I haven't read either book, so I can't comment on how the subject matter is approached in both or what I perceive the authorial intent to be, but it might be interesting to compare and contrast how perceptions of white privilege might impact on the kneejerk reactions of other people who just hear the premise and haven't read them either.


I was just about to post a link to Noughts and Crosses -- you beat me to it! :poke:

I also have not read either book so cannot comment. My daughter read N&C years ago and loved it.

However, to me whites being a minority is not anything in the least dystopian. I come from exactly such a society. Whites made up less than 1% of the society I grew up in, and yet they still managed to keep us "in our places". It's not always about being a minority, you see!

Silver-Midnight
07-28-2012, 03:21 PM
Exactly it's like the more I searched for her name, the more I read articles by her about her books, the more any positivity about this vanished. Like umm wow it's like the grave was being dug deeper. And the reviews about what is actually in the book is very insightful from what I gathered the 'coals' become 'beasts' like through a rite of passage and ritual.

Not only that, but her quotes make it much. much worse.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 03:24 PM
Not only that, but her quotes make it much. much worse.

Yea I agree. Her comments are worth a thousand :Jaw:

Oh lord the website http://www.savethepearls.com/

Silver-Midnight
07-28-2012, 03:38 PM
Yea I agree. Her comments are worth a thousand :Jaw:

Oh lord the website http://www.savethepearls.com/

I don't even want to comment on the "mating profiles" thing.

thebloodfiend
07-28-2012, 06:12 PM
Oh, lord. I saw Kira's review yesterday. That's all I needed.

Cyia
07-28-2012, 06:26 PM
Exactly it's like the more I searched for her name, the more I read articles by her about her books, the more any positivity about this vanished. Like umm wow it's like the grave was being dug deeper. And the reviews about what is actually in the book is very insightful from what I gathered the 'coals' become 'beasts' like through a rite of passage and ritual.


Yea I agree. Her comments are worth a thousand :Jaw:

Oh lord the website http://www.savethepearls.com/


I don't even want to comment on the "mating profiles" thing.

Ditto.

I started reading through some of this last night and COULDN'T STOP CLICKING LINKS. I kept waiting for the "gotcha" to appear.

The "save the whites" thing is just... :Wha:

But, did you see where she's pitching this as "beauty and the beast" and a "dystopian romance?" Exactly what life-altering change is the "beast" supposed to undergo by the end of the tale?

Or that it's not just "pearls" and "coals," but "ambers" for Asians, and "tiger-eyes" for Latinos, which means the only non-precious material is "coal." (This is supposed to be "upturned" racism? Really?) And what about POC who are light-skinned, or Caucasians who are naturally darker? What about those with a mixed heritage?

Or the "mate rate" video where the MC's speaking about her only two mating offers (which actually adds a whole 'nother layer of creepy to this, considering 18 is the UPPER LIMIT for age before one is mated) She says "I'd rather die than mate with another one of my kind." "I want to be protected." "I reek of inferiority."

o...k... backing away from the book very slowly. Not giving it my back.

I'm not sure who the target audience is for this thing, because I've seen reviews from readers identifying themselves as POC who are appalled, and reviews from Caucasian readers like me who are likewise appalled. It's an equal-opportunity fail. (and I'm with the reviewer who was stunned at the idea that this book has won awards or praise of any kind.)

crunchyblanket
07-28-2012, 06:58 PM
Or that Or that it's not just "pearls" and "coals," but "ambers" for Asians, and "tiger-eyes" for Latinos, which means the only non-precious material is "coal." (This is supposed to be "upturned" racism? Really?) it's not just "pearls" and "coals," but "ambers" for Asians, and "tiger-eyes" for Latinos, which means the only non-precious material is "coal." (This is supposed to be "upturned" racism? Really?)


I'm confused, if she's going for the 'precious stone' thing, why she didn't go with obsidian or onyx or...anything more pleasant-sounding than 'coal'. I mean, surely the unfortunate implications there were loud and clear??

This sounds like a very poor, short-sighted attempt at doing what Malorie Blackman (several others already mentioned her) did with Noughts and Crosses. I don't have a problem with the role-reversal - done well, it can be very thought provoking and, as Noughts and Crosses did for me at a young age, a sharp jolt out of ambivalence towards racial issues.

But this doesn't even look remotely well done.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 09:58 PM
I'm confused, if she's going for the 'precious stone' thing, why she didn't go with obsidian or onyx or...anything more pleasant-sounding than 'coal'. I mean, surely the unfortunate implications there were loud and clear??

This sounds like a very poor, short-sighted attempt at doing what Malorie Blackman (several others already mentioned her) did with Noughts and Crosses. I don't have a problem with the role-reversal - done well, it can be very thought provoking and, as Noughts and Crosses did for me at a young age, a sharp jolt out of ambivalence towards racial issues.

But this doesn't even look remotely well done.

It's not just the implications of the word coal, it's actually a slur which was used against black people too. She didn't research her book or care enough about the representations to avoid using a slur considering the other names she came up with. Someone pointed out in one review that why would the 'lower class minority' have such a nicer name than the ruling class? Why would the ruling majority call themselves such a slur and the minority a nicer name?

The thing between Malorie Blackman's book and this is, Malorie Blackman is obviously not racist, her book was highly controversial but she explored and researched the topic well, she has actual experience, whereas it's quite obvious that Victoria Foyt doesn't. Her racism is blatantly obvious and she comes from a place of white privilege.

cryaegm
07-28-2012, 10:22 PM
I saw this book a long while back, and the website for it (I think there's a website?). When I saw the video with the blonde, blue eyed girl in blackface, I was utterly shocked and disgusted. :/ I don't even remember how I came across it, but good lord.

And the whole pearls = white and coals = black? Really? The author never once thought that "coals" would've been a bad idea?

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 10:28 PM
She posted it on her goodreads page http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2673697-white-and-in-the-minority

Uhm one of the comments:

by Niki (new) Jul 12, 2012 06:22am
interesting. i think white people are already the minority. i'm in Virginia right now and I'm seeing a heavy block community not much different from Los Angeles. Ironically, I am in a coffee shop filled with white people, but I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years time, blacks and latinos will become the majority compared to whites.

ummm no.

Also someone on tumblr did some digging (http://lalondes.tumblr.com/post/28133131882/okay-in-other-news-i-did-some-googling-and)

They found out the reviews she talks of in her articles are fake.

Cyia
07-28-2012, 10:29 PM
You can also add the "required" mating to the list of creepiness. The upper limit of 18 is bad enough, but if you follow the requirement out, you've got a society based solely on procreation, where unmatched teens who refuse to link up with a hetero partner are tossed out of the civilization. And from the "mate rate" profiles, it seems that these lifetime hook-ups are with strangers.

(And that cover is seriously disturbing in context. The eyes belong to a green-eyed jungle cat, and I haven't seen any mention of shape-shifting among any tier of this society, which means the only explanation is that they're supposed to represent the male MC.)

crunchyblanket
07-28-2012, 10:33 PM
by Niki (new) Jul 12, 2012 06:22am
interesting. i think white people are already the minority. i'm in Virginia right now and I'm seeing a heavy block community not much different from Los Angeles. Ironically, I am in a coffee shop filled with white people, but I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years time, blacks and latinos will become the majority compared to whites.


Oh FFS. See, there's the other problem with this book. There are morons out there who'll see it as a prophecy.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 10:33 PM
You can also add the "required" mating to the list of creepiness. The upper limit of 18 is bad enough, but if you follow the requirement out, you've got a society based solely on procreation, where unmatched teens who refuse to link up with a hetero partner are tossed out of the civilization. And from the "mate rate" profiles, it seems that these lifetime hook-ups are with strangers.

(And that cover is seriously disturbing in context. The eyes belong to a green-eyed jungle cat, and I haven't seen any mention of shape-shifting among any tier of this society, which means the only explanation is that they're supposed to represent the male MC.)

There is this thing in the books where the poc become 'beasts' (as she calls them) to adapt to The Heat through a kind of genetic mutuation done by the MC's dad. Hence the author calling it a romantic 'beauty and the beast story' and he becomes like half panther or something and she also becomes half animal at the end.

DarthPanda
07-28-2012, 10:40 PM
There is this thing in the books where the poc become 'beasts' (as she calls them) to adapt to The Heat through a kind of genetic mutuation done by the MC's dad. Hence the author calling it a romantic 'beauty and the beast story' and he becomes like half panther or something and she also becomes half animal at the end.

I was wondering what the panther on the cover was all about.

crunchyblanket
07-28-2012, 10:45 PM
There is this thing in the books where the poc become 'beasts' (as she calls them) to adapt to The Heat through a kind of genetic mutuation done by the MC's dad. Hence the author calling it a romantic 'beauty and the beast story' and he becomes like half panther or something and she also becomes half animal at the end.


*facepalm*

Allusions of bestiality. Brilliant. She has not done her 'negative racial stereotypes' research at all, has she?

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 10:49 PM
*facepalm*

Allusions of bestiality. Brilliant. She has not done her 'negative racial stereotypes' research at all, has she?

No see... like she says she is 'colour blind' she doesn't see race, you see. And that she hopes for a caramel coloured future and that she once was called a slur because of her frizzy hair, so she understands racism. And lol she made an advert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UbY4xtFRpXU)for her blackface make up called 'midnight luster'.

I am facepalming all over the place Crunchy!

backslashbaby
07-28-2012, 10:49 PM
OMG. Y'all have said it all, I think. What is it about coal and beasts that remain in the collective unconscious of racists? It makes me nauseous that she didn't even see it and that's the focus of her work.

She's basically just saying the fears out loud of those racists who think they need to fear being the minority in places like the US. That part is very sad and misguided at best.

It sounds foul. I really don't want a peek into minds like hers must be.

Cyia
07-28-2012, 10:49 PM
There is this thing in the books where the poc become 'beasts' (as she calls them) to adapt to The Heat through a kind of genetic mutuation done by the MC's dad. .

So that sort of negates her original claim that it's the melanin that makes darker skinned people the ones who survive. It was genetic mutation... ugh, this book is making less and less sense.

(Do you mean the female MC's dad? Because if it is, that's ANOTHER WHOLE OTHER dimension of creepiness.)

And why is "The Heat" capitalized? Isn't it just solar radiation minus the ozone layer or something. Please tell me that's what it means and not something tied to the mating rituals in the book. Please.

I'm going to need some serious brain bleach for this, aren't I?

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 10:54 PM
So that sort of negates her original claim that it's the melanin that makes darker skinned people the ones who survive. It was genetic mutation... ugh, this book is making less and less sense.

(Do you mean the female MC's dad? Because if it is, that's ANOTHER WHOLE OTHER dimension of creepiness.)

And why is "The Heat" capitalized? Isn't it just solar radiation minus the ozone layer or something. Please tell me that's what it means and not something tied to the mating rituals in the book. Please.

I'm going to need some serious brain bleach for this, aren't I?

Yea the female MC's dad. It's on the savethepeals website somewhere that her dad is also white but he is favoured because he's a scientist who does these mutations or something. Idk it's so confusing.

The Heat is capitalised because that's what they call the atmosphere in the book? I don't even know.

I don't even want to look it up but I probably will in a minute for you, once I've finished my lunch. :)

Cyia
07-28-2012, 10:56 PM
It's not worth it, fire. You can't make sense out of a senseless situation.

crunchyblanket
07-28-2012, 10:56 PM
I just went to the website. I'm having one of those 'ashamed to be white' moments.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 10:58 PM
Ok I looked it up because I was curious this is direct from the source so take from it what you will.

She capitalises The Heat and she's talking about the atmosphere on the surface not the mating I think.

http://www.savethepearls.com/avoid-the-heat-or-face-a-romantic-apocalypse/

What you can do is to try to help save the Pearls and do your personal best to avoid the havoc that exposure to the Heat can cause. You won’t find answers or guidelines to follow in any post apocalyptic books or films; fiction will not save you. What will save you is one basic tenet—STAY INDOORS AT ALL TIMES.

But how will you get supplies when you run out or the latest copies of that series of fantasy romance novels you’ve been dying to read? Stock piling and abstinence, my Pearl friends. No supplies or books, not even Revealing Eden, are worth the wrath of the Heat.

In addition to avoiding the outside world, you should apply Midnight Luster every single day. I strongly suggest applying several coats, and re-applying later in the day if it starts to wear off. Take your time and put it on carefully so you can avoid a streaky looking finish. Several coats will make you look more Coal-like and therefore much more attractive. If you’re looking for a mate or are under the delusion that you can find the kind of love you read about in fantasy romance novels, than Midnight Luster is an absolute must. As soon as I apply it, I feel better and definitely look more appealing.

Another good rule to follow is to keep physical activity to a minimum. Getting overheated can make you more susceptible to those who already have the Heat but may not yet be showing symptoms. If you do engage in any sort of physical activity, thoroughly re-apply Midnight Luster.

Last but not least, if you truly want to avoid a romantic apocalypse and not suffer an early demise, do not make physical contact with anyone who has the Heat. If you see someone showing any of the signs, RUN like there’s no tomorrow—if you don’t, there will be no tomorrow for you.

fireluxlou
07-28-2012, 11:20 PM
I'm just going to post another post because this is all kinds of messed up this is from the 1st chapter. Warning she says 'haughty coal' which haughty means 'uppity' so you can kind of guess what she really means. And this doesn't sound YA safe.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u0nkJuFC1rzx3czo1_500.jpg

Also why does she italicise them?

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7tyu3GSGT1rzx3czo1_500.jpg


And she hired an artist to do a rendition of the main character's love interest as half-coal half-beast man. http://www.goodreads.com/photo/group/68773-pearls-of-wisdom-with-victoria-foyt?photo=485983

Tumblr is all over this.

ETA: Actually got the panther thing wrong but I was recalling from memory here is someones summary of it:


martinigrl (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/70709064.html?thread=12388295752#t12388295752)28th-Jul-2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Ok so it doesn't make any logical sense (like the rest of this book) but the main guy who is a super rich black dude aka. her secret love interest owns this lab where she and her dad work and her dad is working on this experiment to make white people have more melanin via panther dna (there's an anaconda and eagle dna in this too) so they were going to shoot up two white test subjects to see how it rolls.

Then a bunch of "coal terrorists" who want to eliminate all the "pearls" (one of whom the main girl thinks is gonna make her his wifey thus saving herself from being thrown into the nuclear wasteland) attack b/c this dumb bitch tells the terrorist what's up. So the tests subjects die and the lab explodes and rich boss guy is like SHOOT ME UP.

So they do.

And he becomes some weird half man half panther and move to the amazon where all the locals somehow speak spanish (because you know it's not like brazilians speak portuguese or their actual native tribal language IRL or anything) and then she falls for him with a lot of creepy exotic language and then she decides at the end she wants to be a half panther too.

I WAS LIKE o.O the whole time. I also drank heavily throughout.

DarthPanda
07-28-2012, 11:48 PM
I'm just going to post another post because this is all kinds of messed up this is from the 1st chapter. Warning she says 'haughty coal' which haughty means 'uppity' so you can kind of guess what she really means. And this doesn't sound YA safe.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u0nkJuFC1rzx3czo1_500.jpg

Also why does she italicise them?

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7tyu3GSGT1rzx3czo1_500.jpg


And she hired an artist to do a rendition of the main character's love interest as half-coal half-beast man. http://www.goodreads.com/photo/group/68773-pearls-of-wisdom-with-victoria-foyt?photo=485983

Tumblr is all over this.

And this may be nit-picking, but in a reality where the role-reversal was complete, wouldn't the language reflect it better? Like, dark skin would be the new "default". The narrator wouldn't point it out like that. The language is still pointing out "them" like they are the "other". Know what I mean?

Kitty27
07-28-2012, 11:59 PM
Good Lord.

I saw a link to this on Twitter and all I can say is what in the entire fuck was this woman thinking?

The attitude that an African American readership doesn't exist is frankly and sadly one that many believe to be true.

Turning a black man into a beast? Blackface? Saying ONE Black reader loved the book aka he or she wasn't like those other Blacks?

This woman is racist or at the very least,so wrapped up in privilege that she doesn't believe she's done anything wrong or offensive as hell. No self respecting publisher or agent would touch this with a ten foot pole.Her comments are something else and prove what POC preach relentlessly and I've said many times before.

If you have fucked up attitudes about people of color and attempt to write about such characters,it WILL show in the writing. This woman is the embodiment of that. Chile,further words fail me.

Cyia
07-29-2012, 12:10 AM
,so wrapped up in privilege that she doesn't believe she's done anything wrong or offensive as hell.

I really think it's this.


I'm white, and except for our housekeeper, everyone I knew in my hometown in the Southeast was white. It was a white world with white actors on TV and white models and white teachers and a white president. There were a few Cuban kids in my private high school, but just a few.I think, in her mind, she's done something *amazing* by her own estimation.
That skewed view is evident here:


However, the trend is clear, considering the aging white population, and the median age of Latinos in their peak fertility years.The median age of ANY group in their peak fertility years is going to be nearly the same when compared to a group that's aging. If you compared "peak fertility year" Caucasians to aging Latinos, you'd get the same result. The median age in the older group will be older than the median age in the younger group.

And these two statements:


I don't harbor fears that the existing minority races are waiting for the day they can take revenge on whites. I hope that we are as a whole more evolved, and have learned vital lessons during the Civil Rights era.
I like to imagine a caramel-colored future where racial lines are indistinct and issues of prejudice a thing of the past.show how out of touch the author seems to be.

The Civil War era was hardly the end of any civil lessons to be learned about race or equality. Similarly blending all races into one "caramel-colored" group isn't anything but a fantasy. Why should it take homogenization for racism to cease?

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 12:16 AM
And this may be nit-picking, but in a reality where the role-reversal was complete, wouldn't the language reflect it better? Like, dark skin would be the new "default". The narrator wouldn't point it out like that. The language is still pointing out "them" like they are the "other". Know what I mean?

Yea well you'd think so. Here's another bit from the same chapter her character is just an embodiment of the author, to be able to be racist in this case under the guise of a 'post-apocolyptic' world.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u3uuTiuf1rzx3czo1_500.jpg

DarthPanda
07-29-2012, 12:19 AM
Yea well you'd think so. Here's another bit from the same chapter her character is just an embodiment of the author, to be able to be racist in this case under the guise of a 'post-apocolyptic' world.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u3uuTiuf1rzx3czo1_500.jpg

Wait... I thought "Coal" wasn't supposed to be a slur?

i are confused.

aruna
07-29-2012, 12:30 AM
One of the comments to her blog:

interesting. i think white people are already the minority. i'm in Virginia right now and I'm seeing a heavy block community not much different from Los Angeles. Ironically, I am in a coffee shop filled with white people, but I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years time, blacks and latinos will become the majority compared to whites. White fear of being in the minority? Is it that fear that (subconsciously) inspired this book?

As I said before, racism has nothing to do with the dominant, default race being the majority.
In Guyana, the tiny minority white elite owned all the plantations, all the businesses, shipping, shops, everything. In the mid-1950's were supported by Britain and the US. When we voted for a POC leader, Britain sent in the army and deposed him after 100 days, with the aid of the US, and made sure that their own black puppet was the one to get the votes. Don't even ask how.

Even in a POC majority country, white was (and still is) the default. White beauty is the standard for women. If you are white you will have an easier time in romance, job seeking, getting served at restaurants, and generally in being deferred to. See my story, somewhere else in this forum, about being served last at a table I shared with two white men -- even though I had been waiting half an hour before they came. Instituionalised racism has nothing to do with majorities or minorities. It's an internalised attitude, and damn hard to dig out of an affected person's brain. And so subtle they don't even notice it. I'm sure those guys who shared my table are not racist, yet theyhad no idea what was going on.

backslashbaby
07-29-2012, 12:44 AM
Wait... I thought "Coal" wasn't supposed to be a slur?

i are confused.

I think the little game here is that 'they' are now the evil oppressors, so it's cool if you hate 'them'. The set-up allows her to spew racist BS by pretending to switch the roles.

As aruna points out, it doesn't work like that. The MC would not think the Coals were ugly, even if they were in the 'evil oppressor' role. That's not how racial power has worked historically, anyway. The oppressed usually aspire to the powerful view of beauty, etc. Well, beauty is still power so it's about how to get ahead, on a subconscious level, of course, imho.

Racial issues like that don't have to go the historical way in spec fic, imho. There are a lot of things to ponder and explore via fiction. But I think this author just used everything as an excuse for racist bullshit. But she thinks she is being 'deep'. Aaack. Just No.

Kitty27
07-29-2012, 01:00 AM
I really think it's this.



I think, in her mind, she's done something *amazing* by her own estimation. Considering she also went into detail about the coffee shop she's writing in being full of only white people, but that it's totally not a reflection of the world outside, she's got a skewed view of her surroundings.

(Sort of like those studies where a conversation that's 50/50 male and female is perceived as overwhelmingly female by the males.)

That skewed view is evident here:



The median age of ANY group in their peak fertility years is going to be nearly the same when compared to a group that's aging. If you compared "peak fertility year" Caucasians to aging Latinos, you'd get the same result. The median age in the older group will be older than the median age in the younger group.

And these two statements:





show how out of touch the author seems to be.

The Civil War era was hardly the end of any civil lessons to be learned about race or equality. Similarly blending all races into one "caramel-colored" group isn't anything but a fantasy. Why should it take homogenization for racism to cease?


Again,Good Lord. I can't think of anything else to say about this level of cray.

I have written some true lunacy in my day but never have I approached this level. Privilege is very real but many don't even see that they have it because it's so ingrained.

The fact that this poor soul can't see anything wrong with what she has written and said is proof of it.

I expect quite the reading for filth to come her way as news of this spreads.

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 01:08 AM
186 reviews on Amazon omg (http://www.amazon.com/Revealing-Eden-Save-Pearls-ebook/dp/B005TOMV6S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343507645&sr=8-2&keywords=save+the+pearls)

From one of her other articles (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/please-no-more-metrosexua_b_1381531.html)talking about Bramford.


Personally, I prefer a more beastly fellow. And yet, I admit to being turned on by a well-tailored suit on buff male a la Don Draper.

...

Lucky me, as I writer I often channel my musings and questions into themes in my work. Thus, in Save The Pearls Part One, Revealing Eden, I created Ronson Bramford, beastly but intelligent, honorable and one helluva sexy guy. By the end of the book, I had gained greater clarity about what I was looking for in a man.

...

Getting back to my literary exploration of the beastly nature of man, in my dystopian fantasy novel, Revealing Eden, Bramford is transformed into a jaguar man. And our heroine, Eden Newman, falls head over heels in love with him, although she detested the hip, sought after titan he once was.
Fighting for their survival in the last patch of the rainforest, their values become very elemental. Finally, in that simple world, they each get in touch with their true selves, and yes, find true love.

If Bramford were here, he might change the oil in my car or cook an intimate dinner for us. In either role, he would know who he is, his confidence would sweep me off his feet, and not his tailored suit.

...

Fortunately, I've found a new model. The ecosexual male: a man who is not afraid of his masculinity or his feminine side, as naturally at ease with himself as an animal in the jungle.

Kitty27
07-29-2012, 01:37 AM
186 reviews on Amazon omg (http://www.amazon.com/Revealing-Eden-Save-Pearls-ebook/dp/B005TOMV6S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343507645&sr=8-2&keywords=save+the+pearls)

From one of her other articles (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/please-no-more-metrosexua_b_1381531.html)talking about Bramford.


They read her for filth. Good.


If Bramford were here, he might change the oil in my car or cook an intimate dinner for us. In either role, he would know who he is, his confidence would sweep me off his feet, and not his tailored suit.

...

Fortunately, I've found a new model. The ecosexual male: a man who is not afraid of his masculinity or his feminine side, as naturally at ease with himself as an animal in the jungle.


http://i604.photobucket.com/albums/tt122/Kitty27_Album/wave.gif

thothguard51
07-29-2012, 02:25 AM
by Niki (new) Jul 12, 2012 06:22am
interesting. i think white people are already the minority. i'm in Virginia right now and I'm seeing a heavy block community not much different from Los Angeles. Ironically, I am in a coffee shop filled with white people, but I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years time, blacks and latinos will become the majority compared to whites.

Please trust me, not all southern, white Virginians think this way. This comment disgust me...

Silver-Midnight
07-29-2012, 02:31 AM
The more I read this, the more confused and shocked I get. The excerpts from the actual book were just....just, I don't even know if we have a smiley that can show a proper reaction but I'll try. :eek::Jaw::censored:chair:chair :rant:

And that still isn't enough. Truthfully, I am not white (which honestly doesn't matter, I just felt like saying it), but the this whole thing is just enough to make me :rant:. I don't....I just....just what was she thinking?

Amadan
07-29-2012, 04:38 AM
This has to be the biggest literary trolling stunt ever. I have a hard time believing this woman wasn't fully aware of what she was doing.

Rachel Udin
07-29-2012, 04:40 AM
Ditto.

I started reading through some of this last night and COULDN'T STOP CLICKING LINKS. I kept waiting for the "gotcha" to appear.

The "save the whites" thing is just... :Wha:

But, did you see where she's pitching this as "beauty and the beast" and a "dystopian romance?" Exactly what life-altering change is the "beast" supposed to undergo by the end of the tale?

Or that it's not just "pearls" and "coals," but "ambers" for Asians, and "tiger-eyes" for Latinos, which means the only non-precious material is "coal." (This is supposed to be "upturned" racism? Really?) And what about POC who are light-skinned, or Caucasians who are naturally darker? What about those with a mixed heritage?

Or the "mate rate" video where the MC's speaking about her only two mating offers (which actually adds a whole 'nother layer of creepy to this, considering 18 is the UPPER LIMIT for age before one is mated) She says "I'd rather die than mate with another one of my kind." "I want to be protected." "I reek of inferiority."

o...k... backing away from the book very slowly. Not giving it my back.

I'm not sure who the target audience is for this thing, because I've seen reviews from readers identifying themselves as POC who are appalled, and reviews from Caucasian readers like me who are likewise appalled. It's an equal-opportunity fail. (and I'm with the reviewer who was stunned at the idea that this book has won awards or praise of any kind.)

The target is white racists who fear "extinction" of the white race through interracial marriage. I know~ It's all so scary... people from other races are marrying each other. *heavy sarcasm* ('cause if I didn't use sarcasm I would be ranting nonstop...)

Oh and I think it's kinda brilliant that she thinks that Latinos and Asians made it in society somehow as a model race because they get gemstone names. (Gag me) And of course Coal. What? the internet was broken that day that you couldn't look up "Black gemstones"? and then you said Oh well, let's choose something else black--hmmm... my non-white housekeeper can help me write this book.... let me ask her. Wait, the door is (F*ing) jammed I got this black soot on my hands. I'll have to use words with my house keeper. Wait... soot, dust... but I need a solid object... COAL! Yes. Wasn't that a slur...? No matter. Short, coal it is. My Housekeeper will have my back later. I can use her as an excuse to use this, because she's a person of color--wait I don't see color except Barrack Obama.

*Arrggghhh*


One of the comments to her blog:
White fear of being in the minority? Is it that fear that (subconsciously) inspired this book?

As I said before, racism has nothing to do with the dominant, default race being the majority.
In Guyana, the tiny minority white elite owned all the plantations, all the businesses, shipping, shops, everything. In the mid-1950's were supported by Britain and the US. When we voted for a POC leader, Britain sent in the army and deposed him after 100 days, with the aid of the US, and made sure that their own black puppet was the one to get the votes. Don't even ask how.

Even in a POC majority country, white was (and still is) the default. White beauty is the standard for women. If you are white you will have an easier time in romance, job seeking, getting served at restaurants, and generally in being deferred to. See my story, somewhere else in this forum, about being served last at a table I shared with two white men -- even though I had been waiting half an hour before they came. Instituionalised racism has nothing to do with majorities or minorities. It's an internalised attitude, and damn hard to dig out of an affected person's brain. And so subtle they don't even notice it. I'm sure those guys who shared my table are not racist, yet theyhad no idea what was going on.

Yes, I found this in Korea, Japan and China too. Makes me sad...

So, for example, in Korea, if you know English, you are more likely to get a job. Went to a White US college? (Which is how Koreans viewed America before Barrack Obama... I've been tracking it...) You are more likely to get a job. Freckles are considered ugly. Nose jobs are done to make people look more white. Eye surgery for the double eye lid (Korea, Japan and China). Lighter skin is treasured more in all three mentioned countries. If you speak English they want to hire you. English shows play at least some part of the day all day around. (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea--parts of China, though this is from reports more I've gotten.)

In fact, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan do a lot more cultural exchange than Canada and the US does... there are TV shows that are imported wholesale between the countries and subbed freely. One of the biggest hits in Japan was a Korean TV show, Winter Sonata. Korea, in turn, imported a bunch of Japanese TV shows which also were popular.

Apartheid anyone?

US? No. Could they import, say Mexican shows on TV. Sure. They could also import French Canadian. Run subtitles on Japanese anime late in the night. Run subtitles on something *not* in English. But you get the point. White is often considered default in other countries and they are aware of the pervasiveness of English and see it as a "White" language.
***

There is this thing among white extremists where they are afraid their race will go "extinct". (Which gives me a whole other type of headache several parts cultural anthropology...). This book seems to be an embodiment of that thinking.

From her article... (Which is not a good read--it gives me a massive headache):

Whites will remain a majority for some time. However, the trend is clear, considering the aging white population, and the median age of Latinos in their peak fertility years.

I don't even... what... where... *shakes head* I'm crying out how could someone even go here? AND then make it worse by blackface? Can I say it? WTF is wrong with her?

I'm glad it's getting slammed on amazon and goodreads. I wonder if the 30-something odd good reviews are her friends who are also racist, but I'll try to be mature and not go there. Though her article on Huffington post also makes her seem like she's against QUILTBAG too. (And no, I didn't miss the bit where she's all blacks are only good for changing oil.)

Did she even research? I feel like I need bleach for my brain, a strong sledge hammer, a lobotomy, and a good fetal position to get this trash out of my head. I can't think of a time that I didn't know better.

And I hope that someone would have the sense to outright call me racist if I ever pulled any kind of S*t like this. Seriously. Please.

leahzero
07-29-2012, 04:48 AM
Just thought I should point out that Victoria Foyt (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=55073) is a member of AW and has advertised her book here (1 (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=227665), 2 (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=234500), etc.).

Foinah
07-29-2012, 07:32 AM
I'm absolutely gob-smacked by this whole surreal mind-f*ck of a book.
I haven't read it. I've read the posted excerpts and her blog spew.
That's enough.
This author has embarrassed herself beyond recovery. And you know what's sad? She doesn't even recognize that fact.
This is the most dangerous form of hate speech: the innocent, wide-eyed, 'oh...no, that's not what I'm saying at all. I just looooove black people. What ever do you mean???? I got called black once.'

My sister is black. We faced this kind of passive aggressive (often overt) racism almost daily growing up in both Ireland and the States. This book needs to have a serious "come to Jesus*" moment with a reality slap up along side the head as far as plot and veiled content goes.
And I really hope that someday the author learns from her mistakes. I doubt it. But I can hope.

ETA: * or any other deity that would appropriately remedy the situation. Maybe a come to Kali moment. Mayhaps Zule. Something Omnipotent to point out the error of her ways.

third person
07-29-2012, 07:38 AM
Victoria Foyt is the (white) author of a new young adult book series called Save the Pearls. The book chronicles the adventures of Eden Newman, a white woman, or a “Pearl,” whose entire race has been enslaved by the dominant race of “Coals” — or dark-skinned people. Hoping to capitalize off of the popularity of dystopian young adult novels like The Hunger Games, Foyt constructed a narrative in which, she explains, “Solar radiation has wiped out most of the white race whose lack of melanin causes them to succumb to the Heat. The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.” In the new world, Eden must rely on Bramford, a Coal. As Foyt describes it, Pearls is “a Beauty and the Beast story in which both parties must find self-acceptance before they can discover true love.”

Read more at ONTD: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/70709064.html#ixzz21ydJX3Vj

Also for your enjoyment, the author's essay on "Inte (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)rracial Relationships Through Eyes of Young Adults" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)

Well...I just...well. Wow. Are we in 1955 or 2012?

LJD
07-29-2012, 07:47 AM
There's a thread about this in PoC.... (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250845)

EarlyBird
07-29-2012, 08:09 AM
Also for your enjoyment, the author's essay on "Inte (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)rracial Relationships Through Eyes of Young Adults" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)



Not having read the book, I cannot comment on the content, but this quote from the blog? Oi.


Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash.
If such a category still exists? What, like AA's have stopped reading fiction? Um, WHAT??

Rachel Udin
07-29-2012, 08:18 AM
Just thought I should point out that Victoria Foyt (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=55073) is a member of AW and has advertised her book here (1 (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=227665), 2 (http://adult.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=234500), etc.).
I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. Dammit. Why did you have to post those links? I need a new mantra.

meowzbark
07-29-2012, 08:46 AM
The target is white racists who fear "extinction" of the white race through interracial marriage. I know~ It's all so scary... people from other races are marrying each other. *heavy sarcasm* ('cause if I didn't use sarcasm I would be ranting nonstop...)

Oh and I think it's kinda brilliant that she thinks that Latinos and Asians made it in society somehow as a model race because they get gemstone names. (Gag me) And of course Coal. What? the internet was broken that day that you couldn't look up "Black gemstones"? and then you said Oh well, let's choose something else black--hmmm... my non-white housekeeper can help me write this book.... let me ask her. Wait, the door is (F*ing) jammed I got this black soot on my hands. I'll have to use words with my house keeper. Wait... soot, dust... but I need a solid object... COAL! Yes. Wasn't that a slur...? No matter. Short, coal it is. My Housekeeper will have my back later. I can use her as an excuse to use this, because she's a person of color--wait I don't see color except Barrack Obama.

*Arrggghhh*



Yes, I found this in Korea, Japan and China too. Makes me sad...

So, for example, in Korea, if you know English, you are more likely to get a job. Went to a White US college? (Which is how Koreans viewed America before Barrack Obama... I've been tracking it...) You are more likely to get a job. Freckles are considered ugly. Nose jobs are done to make people look more white. Eye surgery for the double eye lid (Korea, Japan and China). Lighter skin is treasured more in all three mentioned countries. If you speak English they want to hire you. English shows play at least some part of the day all day around. (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea--parts of China, though this is from reports more I've gotten.)

In fact, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan do a lot more cultural exchange than Canada and the US does... there are TV shows that are imported wholesale between the countries and subbed freely. One of the biggest hits in Japan was a Korean TV show, Winter Sonata. Korea, in turn, imported a bunch of Japanese TV shows which also were popular.

Apartheid anyone?

US? No. Could they import, say Mexican shows on TV. Sure. They could also import French Canadian. Run subtitles on Japanese anime late in the night. Run subtitles on something *not* in English. But you get the point. White is often considered default in other countries and they are aware of the pervasiveness of English and see it as a "White" language.
***

There is this thing among white extremists where they are afraid their race will go "extinct". (Which gives me a whole other type of headache several parts cultural anthropology...). This book seems to be an embodiment of that thinking.

From her article... (Which is not a good read--it gives me a massive headache):


I don't even... what... where... *shakes head* I'm crying out how could someone even go here? AND then make it worse by blackface? Can I say it? WTF is wrong with her?

I'm glad it's getting slammed on amazon and goodreads. I wonder if the 30-something odd good reviews are her friends who are also racist, but I'll try to be mature and not go there. Though her article on Huffington post also makes her seem like she's against QUILTBAG too. (And no, I didn't miss the bit where she's all blacks are only good for changing oil.)

Did she even research? I feel like I need bleach for my brain, a strong sledge hammer, a lobotomy, and a good fetal position to get this trash out of my head. I can't think of a time that I didn't know better.

And I hope that someone would have the sense to outright call me racist if I ever pulled any kind of S*t like this. Seriously. Please.

I think few Americans would tolerate a mainstream television show NOT in English and its not because of racism. Its also the same reason we are practically the only country that doesn't use the metric system. Also not because of racism. We'd rather the rest of the world change than for us to change. Americans are proud to be "English" but this pride doesn't necessarily equal "white and English." So please don't lump everyone into that.

And I think the author isn't knowingly racist, but I think her remarks are incredibly racist. I think she's ignorant and short-sighted. She didn't do her research at all. She doesn't understand how sensitive people are on this issue. She has no comprehension as to how much "blackface" offended people when a child did it earlier in the year as a costume and that people will be way less tolerant of an adult doing the same thing.

I think that there's a possibility that her book is also good (as in entertaining and thought provoking). Many dystopian books are inherently racist, political, and emphasize the dangers of censorship and communism. It's part of the genre to offend people.

BUT, I think she's damaging the imaging of her book just as fast as Sarah Palin damaged John McCain's run for president. This is not going to end well for her.

third person
07-29-2012, 08:48 AM
There's a thread about this in PoC.... (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250845)

Thanks, looked everywhere but that section for where to put this. Mods, merge or delete--up to you!

Libbie
07-29-2012, 08:50 AM
Delurking just for a moment to say: What the fuck? Seriously? Who thought this was a good idea?

cryaegm
07-29-2012, 08:50 AM
The more I read about this--from what I did earlier today--the more I become sad and can't figure out what she was thinking. I'm not sure if I want to know what she was thinking. There's so much what-the-fuckery going on, it hurts my head.

And a lot of the excerpts that have been posted don't make a lot of sense or go with the premise/blurb.

I want to say sorry that this exists. :(

ETA: Might not be much and sort of off-topic, but Web of Trust (an add-on for Firefox, and I think Chrome) has a "Warning! This site has poor reputation" thing for Sand Dollar Press. I just thought I'd share.

third person
07-29-2012, 08:52 AM
And yet the more people breathe fire about it.....the more popular it will become. Nothing sells in America like controversy. Sigh.

Pyekett
07-29-2012, 09:05 AM
The website for Sand Dollar Press says they have a background in independent filmmaking which gives them "a fresh outlook on marketing ... video book trailers and viral campaigns, coupled with expertise in marketing, public relations, and social media strategy, that results in the unrivalled execution of book launches."

Hold on. That sounds familiar. Wasn't there a start-up company essentially soliciting here with the same self-description, oh, about April-wise?

Soccer Mom
07-29-2012, 09:14 AM
I'll transfer this to the PoC room for a merge. I believe that thread has quite a bit of response already.

Xelebes
07-29-2012, 09:29 AM
I think that there's a possibility that her book is also good (as in entertaining and thought provoking). Many dystopian books are inherently racist, political, and emphasize the dangers of censorship and communism. It's part of the genre to offend people.

Particularly why I avoid the dystopian genre. It is ego-stroke fodder for the unsoddened.

aruna
07-29-2012, 10:27 AM
Also for your enjoyment, the author's essay on "Inte (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)rracial Relationships Through Eyes of Young Adults" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/interracial-relationships_b_1312303.html)

Well...I just...well. Wow. Are we in 1955 or 2012?



In that article she says this:
Otherwise, I'm happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest.

Give it time, honey!

I'm glad to see the backlash is coming hard and thick now.

Jessianodel
07-29-2012, 11:11 AM
Okay I have to admit I haven't read the article, but this is just a reaction to the original post.

One, it sounds horrible and insensitive. Save the Pearls? From the big bad mean Coals who want to kill them off or some shit? Really? Really?

I cannot even fathom that someone went through the whole difficult process of creating this series and it never once occurred to them that it may be, um, a bad idea? And blackface models? I'm not even going to watch that video.

How can anyone honestly think this would all go over smoothly?

Okay I'm going to go somewhere else now because I'm agitated.

aruna
07-29-2012, 11:31 AM
I checked out another entry on her HuffPost blog. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/enter-eden-newmans-online_b_1119563.html)


This sentence is a stark reminder of where the author comes from:


The actress, Claire Pfister, a real find with the right amount of edge and appeal, is the perfect Eden Newman. Stunningly beautiful as she is, in the post-apocalyptic world of the book, she'd be considered ugly and oppressed. Note how the actresses beauty, as Eden, is taken as a given; it IS so. Just the Coals' perception of her beauty is false! So, white beauty is the real beauty.

This is the attitude that has had black girls self-hating themselves from the very beginning, and is still very much in place. I know: I was one of those girls.

It's interesting how a statement no doubt written in all innocence can reveal subtle layers of racism!

I notice, too, that comments to her HP blog posts have been blocked. I wonder if she did this herself, or HuffPost?

bettielee
07-29-2012, 11:45 AM
I pretty much have many things to say... most of them not nice. Those videos on youtube, by the way, all white folk. Many with half their face in blackface. Oh my gawd. The insanity. I just ... oh gawd....


I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. I will take the mature path. Dammit. Why did you have to post those links? I need a new mantra.

See... I said this to myself over and over and then... I read that "essay" and pretty much wanted to vomit.... this below


Otherwise, I'm happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest.

made me go to Amazon....and after scrolled through pages and pages of filibuster of the "editorial reviews" section, usually supplied by the "publisher" I came to the user reviews

and

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/reviews.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/35g6pn.jpg

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 11:51 AM
Here are a few more excerpts from the book. I see that she is a member and has recently been active here but this book.. just because you have good intent, good intent doesn't mean a thing by the way. Many people who have done and said horrible things had 'good intent'. These are all from separate places in the book. One's I posted earlier were from Chapter 1.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u85q7jyL1rzx3czo1_500.jpg
.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u98cdE6K1rzx3czo1_500.jpg
.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u77v9ZUK1rzx3czo1_500.jpg
.
Colour blindness is a thing white people tend to say a lot. It's insulting. It's harmful and it's a luxury only white people can have being the dominant race and all.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u6z7qH9m1rzx3czo1_500.jpg
.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u41b9JOl1rzx3czo1_500.jpg
.
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7u3huQVto1rzx3czo1_500.jpg

The problem with this book isn't that it's 'post-apolocyptic' or to quote someone earlier, "I think that there's a possibility that her book is also good (as in entertaining and thought provoking). Many dystopian books are inherently racist, political, and emphasize the dangers of censorship and communism. It's part of the genre to offend people.". The problem is that from passages in this book she is speaking from a very uneducated privileged position.

Yes dystopians are controversial but the difference between this and Malorie Blackman's is Marlorie knows her subject, she constructed a believable world. It's an actual dystopian, it won't really offend anyone because of how good Marlorie Blackman is as a writer, she knows her stuff.

But if you read the passages from the first chapter, it's quite obvious the authors is using the world as an excuse to use racial words against PoC because even in this world shes created she hasn't reversed the roles at all. Eden speaks from a place of white privilege regardless, she treats PoC exactly the same as PoC are treated in this world. Nothing has really changed except the scenery.

Rachel Udin
07-29-2012, 12:10 PM
I think few Americans would tolerate a mainstream television show NOT in English and its not because of racism. Its also the same reason we are practically the only country that doesn't use the metric system. Also not because of racism. We'd rather the rest of the world change than for us to change. Americans are proud to be "English" but this pride doesn't necessarily equal "white and English." So please don't lump everyone into that.

And I think the author isn't knowingly racist, but I think her remarks are incredibly racist. I think she's ignorant and short-sighted. She didn't do her research at all. She doesn't understand how sensitive people are on this issue. She has no comprehension as to how much "blackface" offended people when a child did it earlier in the year as a costume and that people will be way less tolerant of an adult doing the same thing.

I think that there's a possibility that her book is also good (as in entertaining and thought provoking). Many dystopian books are inherently racist, political, and emphasize the dangers of censorship and communism. It's part of the genre to offend people.

BUT, I think she's damaging the imaging of her book just as fast as Sarah Palin damaged John McCain's run for president. This is not going to end well for her.

As for English, I would refer you to the whole debate about language being a tool for oppression. You can find such things on Ted talks, talks about the validity of Spanglish, and also refer you to the whole Hispanics must learn English. (Or as my ex-co-workers put it, white people calling them from the Mid US and telling them straight to their fluent speaking mouths/hearing ears, "Learn English. Go back to Mexico [racist slur]") Or how the Japanese tried to ban the use of Korean and Korean names in Korea during the Japanese occupation. Or as some people like to tell me (and you'll see this often with Asian racism) "This is America." and "You speak English good." (Dearie, it's "well") Like I wasn't speaking it for years. Language is a tool for expressing racism and superiority, or did you forget the whole BAE arguments of the late 1990's. (For the uneducated they termed it "Ebonics" in the news, but I'm more PC than that) I sure didn't.

Language can be used to erase culture and identity... it teaches ways to think about the world... and I know that because when I learned Japanese, Korean, French and other languages, I find myself trying to adjust the way I think and move through space. Language and the insistence of language is often used to erase cultures, as was often debated in the Phillipino movies where the discussion about Taglish v. Tagalog and how that has played into perceptions of class and the pervasiveness of English does dominate the upper class. (Which, BTW, is the SAE version). Singapore movies (because I was watching worldwide movies) also addresses these problems. And I spotted it in Indian movies too...

As I said, Korea is a DIFFERENT country from China with an unrelated language. Spanish is closer related to English than Chinese to Korean, so it's not practicality insomuch as it is naiveté and enjoying being at the top of the economic class with a language that is a lingua franca and imposing what is SAE (Which, for the most part is dominated by a White Middle Class... didn't see that coming, did you?) before that is was SBE (also dominated by the Working class, for the most part... but that goes more to classicism in Great Britain.)

In reverse, when you learn a foreign language, you have to learn about the culture and usages too. By the majority of Americans not having to remember a foreign language (I believe it was 70% by last count didn't know a foreign language) and learning by and large the SAE version of English, it means that one doesn't have to think too hard about racial/cultural differences if one is not exposed to a different culture. (When I learned French, I also learned about Creole and thus deepened my love and understanding of Zora Neale Hurston, for example.) Language can open new doors... so I don't think it's practicality insomuch as deliberate ignorance. (See naive)

But this is getting more into the anthropology of things. I also had this extensively covered in Ethnic Studies Classes. So I'll leave it with hopefully you thinking.

Quality of the book beyond the racism... see me at the end of the post. I got words for the first chapter, even if you remove all of the racism. (Which, BTW is hard).


In that article she says this:

Give it time, honey!

I'm glad to see the backlash is coming hard and thick now.
She's getting slammed. But I fear for our lives, because she says this is a SERIES.
***
Going through the first chapter on Writing Quality:
1. Peach? Really?
Besides the obvious racism... you know... why the hell did you choose Peach? I know, I know... internet was broken that day and your white readers didn't spank you in the first round.
2. By page 3, she's right into a flashback and info dump for a whole few pages. Is this a no-no or what? You are forced to dillute your verbs with had.
3. By page 4: All right, oppressed white people can afford to ride a hovercraft--If I remember right, when I was a kid and rode a hovercraft it was expensive. My mom actually bitched about the price to ride one. The fact that someone poor could ride a hovercraft when they are expensive to upkeep for all extensive purposes... What is that? They seem to be living the rich life to me. (When I rode one, once in my entire life, my WHITE parents (I ain't white--my adoptive parents are.) spent the entire ride describing how expensive they were.)
4. WTH, "Pearls feared the light?" I have to wonder at this point if she's trying to be "smart" about religious overtures.
5. The only personal decision she's ever made was to wear a copper earring. Uh-huh. That's oppression. Really?
6. By page 6, still info dumping. Didn't you learn about Info dumping? Do not do. You INTEGRATE. Repeat with me INTEGRATE.
7. WTH... only white people have blonde hair and blue eyes... OMG... What? People can't have, ya know brown hair? black hair? ginger hair? brown eyes? Or is that confusing the whole Hitler White Aryan supremacy thing... OK, I'll get back to to the writing.
8. Finally Info dump ends at page 7. I've seen newbie writers do better than that. They even put info dump into prologues better.
9. *ignore racial slur, ignore racial slur*
10. Huh? We're in another flashback, are you serious? I just got OUT of the previous flashback and now we're back in one? I just got out two paragraphs ago.
11. Flash back to a flash forward on the same page, 10. No. You do not talk about what might happen. You talk in present terms. It engages the reader more.
12. Flash forward to another flashback? Now I'm just confused. I have no idea where in the timeline I am. And why is her oppressed father a scientist while the black people, ya know the ones in power assistants? (And women to boot) *face drag*
13.
Voluptuous, with raisin-colored skin, everything about Ashina screamed ruling class.WTH *raisin-colored* skin. First, off, raisins come in many colors, secondly, you couldn't frggin' think of a better name than to name it after a fruit? You know.. a FOOD. There is Ebony... there is mahogany... there is obsidian... onyx... you know, those gemstones you couldn't bother to look up. Raisin? You had to go with something that's dried and wrinkled? Really? Raisin. Huh? Even past the racial slur implied, are you really going to imply skin is like a raisin? That's what happens when you get out of a bath. And that's Beautiful to you? Wrinkled. Really?
14.
Since their numbers hadn't been decimated in The Great Meltdown, as the other races' had, they now ruled the planet.Grammar error, first real paragraph on page 9. Attribution error. If you need to understand why, watch Jon Stewart on Barrack Obama on That and those. Barrack Obama, the black man that you used to excuse yourself as not racist.
15. Sorry, but Cotton is better than Coal. Not to mention that Cotton was historically linked to racism too. You know, for the oppression of blacks in the American South or Why Texas became a state and America fought with Mexico. (Tsk. I got that one in Grade School.) Also, calling Albinos "Cottons"--I don't know where to begin with that. TT They also have issues... (Ted talks) though it's not so much racism category as it is dealing with people with disabilities category.
16. Feminism issue. Cut off period is 18? Really? Racism AND sexism. Yay. All right, she's trying to make a point about "blacks get pregnant more often as teens." durr I guess she didn't watch MTV where there are an equal amount of races in that show about pregnant teens that are both black white and so on. (But OMG, there are interracial couples too... which is probably why she didn't watch it)
17. Sorry, but that little bit isn't racism where she calls you out for poor work ethic. She doesn't know racism if it hit her square between the eyes. It's the little things, like thinking you're not beautiful because you're surrounded... through systemic racism in billboards, etc.
18. Page 10... at least she stayed in the present. Dialogue is lazy. Italics are lazy (I've ranted about the use of italics) Eden is still treating Ashina as if she's inferior. Doesn't work. Sorry.

Let me summarize the first chapter.
Oppressed white people live underground and can afford to ride (and possibly own) hovercrafts. (Which, BTW, are expensive as hell). Her father is a scientist, despite the fact that her race is supposed to be oppressed. (You know: barring education, having trouble finding a job, etc.) They spend all their time inside, but still black face anyway. And more than half the chapter is done in flashback and flash forwards in rapid succession that I have no idea which way is up. The plot is in summary an excuse to call a black person a "bitch" and a "Coal". Main character comes off as whiny and can't rise above the racism and instead succumbs to it. And the women are insipid as hell. What is wrong with the women? They are all assistants. And women have to mate by the age of 18 which is supposed to be some kind of smart view on teenage pregnancy wiping out the white race in our world. (See earlier comment about Hispanics).

So, no, even if you ignore the racism, does this chapter even close to stand up to something like a good writing standard. The whole climax of the chapter is her getting angry. Gandhi? Martin Luther King? Malcolm X after he returned? Any of those could have helped. What's scary about any prejudice is that you are so helpless in the face of it. You know it's ingrained into society and changing it is so hard. This first chapter fails that and makes some basic writing mistakes.

meowzbark
07-29-2012, 12:36 PM
As for English, I would refer you to the whole debate about language being a tool for oppression. You can find such things on Ted talks, talks about the validity of Spanglish, and also refer you to the whole Hispanics must learn English. (Or as my ex-co-workers put it, white people calling them from the Mid US and telling them straight to their fluent speaking mouths/hearing ears, "Learn English. Go back to Mexico [racist slur]") Or how the Japanese tried to ban the use of Korean and Korean names in Korea during the Japanese occupation. Or as some people like to tell me (and you'll see this often with Asian racism) "This is America." and "You speak English good." (Dearie, it's "well") Like I wasn't speaking it for years. Language is a tool for expressing racism and superiority, or did you forget the whole BAE arguments of the late 1990's. (For the uneducated they termed it "Ebonics" in the news, but I'm more PC than that) I sure didn't.

(I didn't want to quote the whole thing because it is long.)



So, no, even if you ignore the racism, does this chapter even close to stand up to something like a good writing standard. The whole climax of the chapter is her getting angry. Gandhi? Martin Luther King? Malcolm X after he returned? Any of those could have helped. What's scary about any prejudice is that you are so helpless in the face of it. You know it's ingrained into society and changing it is so hard. This first chapter fails that and makes some basic writing mistakes.

You make great points. You are definitely correct that Americans using only English can definitely be seen as a form of oppression. My only point was that it wasn't racism as it doesn't matter what race the speaker is, only the language. I've heard people get just as offended by French or German speakers in places as Spanish - some people just don't like to hear anything but English.

And, thank you for pointing out the poor quality of the writing/plot. Personally, that convinces me more to not read the book than the subject matter. I try to distance myself from the drama authors create and focus on the story. If the story sucks - well, it's a lost cause.

third person
07-29-2012, 12:38 PM
Reading those excerpts in a previous post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7472787&postcount=70), when I see the author shifts from "pearls" to "white people" and back it becomes SUPER CLEAR what this is really about. Not even thinly-veiled. The veil failed.

RexJameson
07-29-2012, 01:04 PM
made me go to Amazon....and after scrolled through pages and pages of filibuster of the "editorial reviews" section, usually supplied by the "publisher" I came to the user reviews

and

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/reviews.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/35g6pn.jpg

Of the 137 one star reviews on this book, 134 of them occurred after this story went viral on July 27th from the reviews mentioned in the OP and also from people in this thread who probably think they are helping. Over 20 of the ones I looked at had only 1 review to the account's name. I gave up looking after that.

I have a feeling the author is just a terrible interviewer, and the video may be misguided but it apparently does reflect the types of characters represented in the book. I have found the SF City Review of her book (http://citybookreview.com/2012/03/revealing-eden-save-the-pearls-part-one-2/), which appears to have been moved on their site from its original location, and after checking the source for most of the 3-5 star reviews, those appear to be legitimate as well.

I feel like I should be learning a lesson from this, but I'm at a loss for what. I certainly have new appreciation for how quickly a 4.5+ star, award-winning book (http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbookwinners.html#young) can be turned into a 1.9 star book with a few creative usages of sockpuppet accounts on Amazon.

Are you ladies and gentlemen absolutely sure this woman is trying to push a racist agenda down your throats? Is it possible that she is merely trying to appeal to the types of readers in her community that may not be able to empathize with minority views? She may be doing it incompetently (I have no idea), but the legitimate book reviews out there and the Eric Hoffer Award appear to--at least on the surface--say otherwise.

And exactly when did we reach the point where we forgot what constituted the infuriating parts of blackface? It wasn't just that actors painted their faces black. It was the stereotypical behaviors expressed once the actors took it on. It was the mockery. It was the flagrant racism. When I was growing up, I was taught that it was the fact that African Americans could not become actors and white people used the facepaint to misrepresent and mock generations of African Americans in both stage performances and movies. I was under the impression that there has to be intent to defame, mock, stereotype, or something like that--for instance to caricature one of the 8 common racist black stereotypes (http://black-face.com/).

I'm not seeing this in the videos. She seems to be trying to have the actress assume the role of a person who has to change her skin color to be accepted into society. Is it believable? Eh. But it reminds me a lot of the theme of Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd.

The writing quality points raised in this thread aside, I'm not sure I'm seeing maliciousness here. I'd have to read the book to make any kind of judgement over the "pearl" versus "coal" thing. In a post-apocalyptic world, coal might be more valuable than a pearl could ever hope to be. Coal would offer fire and an energy source. A pearl might be nothing more than decoration in the author's fictional world. It would depend on how she used it, imo. It would seem highly odd for me, as a reader, to see an oppressed people being called "pearls" by a privileged class unless the oppressed were actually seen as pretty things used for decoration or status symbols.

aruna
07-29-2012, 01:39 PM
Are you ladies and gentlemen absolutely sure this woman is trying to push a racist agenda down your throats?

No. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. I think she was probably sincerely trying to put herself into the position of an oppressed person, a victim of racism, but was unable to let go of her own very established attitudes of privilege and white superiority, as in: finer, more beautiful, more refined, more intelligent.

It's a "what if" situation: "what if" the finer, more beautiful, etc race were to be oppressed by the more animalist, more bestial, more primitive race?

I don't think she was consciously trying to push an agenda down our throats. I think these are unconscious fears, so much a part of her psyche she isn't even aware of them.



Is it possible that she is merely trying to appeal to the types of readers in her community that may not be able to empathize with minority views? She may be doing it incompetently (I have no idea), but the legitimate book reviews out there and the Eric Hoffer Award appear to--at least on the surface--say otherwise.Yes. She is tryig to appeal to readers who harbour similar fears. In no universe could she believe that this would go down well with black readers. And if she did believe that -- well, then she needs to learn a lot, because that would be just stupid.





The writing quality points raised in this thread aside, I'm not sure I'm seeing maliciousness here. I'd have to read the book to make any kind of judgement over the "pearl" versus "coal" thing. In a post-apocalyptic world, coal might be more valuable than a pearl could ever hope to be. Coal would offer fire and an energy source. A pearl might be nothing more than decoration in the author's fictional world. It would depend on how she used it, imo. It would seem highly odd for me, as a reader, to see an oppressed people being called "pearls" by a privileged class unless the oppressed were actually seen as pretty things used for decoration or status symbols.It's possible.
But is this value-reversal made perfectly clear in the novel, are are you just conjecturing that it could be so? If it were the case that coal is more precious than pearls in the novel, should this not be explained in the marketing? Since it is not explained in the marketing, we have to assume it's not the case in the novel.

And so we have to assume: in the world of the book, and for readers, pearls are more precious than coal. And the message coming out of that is clear.

bettielee
07-29-2012, 03:21 PM
Well, there are not 134 people in this thread, and I do no believe AWers are the ones behind this "conspiracy" as you seem to be saying. This is all over the web, and people are pretty horrified at the authors comments and the very poor judgement of anyone putting on blackface as a marketing tool. Go out there, read the blogs, follow the links. I haven't found anything positive about this book.

This is not even thinly veiled racisim - it is straight up and down, in your face, obvious SAVE THE WHITE PEOPLE FROM THE BIG BEASTLY BLACK PEOPLE! Serious author judgement fail. Serious racial sensitivity fail.

One review says it all "...what is this I don't even...."

Alessandra Kelley
07-29-2012, 04:26 PM
And exactly when did we reach the point where we forgot what constituted the infuriating parts of blackface? It wasn't just that actors painted their faces black. It was the stereotypical behaviors expressed once the actors took it on. It was the mockery. It was the flagrant racism. When I was growing up, I was taught that it was the fact that African Americans could not become actors and white people used the facepaint to misrepresent and mock generations of African Americans in both stage performances and movies. I was under the impression that there has to be intent to defame, mock, stereotype, or something like that--for instance to caricature one of the 8 common racist black stereotypes (http://black-face.com/).

I was under the impression that blackface was repulsive precisely because of those historical associations. You cannot separate the act of wearing dark or black makeup, which on the face of it looks like it could be a neutral action, from the horror of the condescending and racist assumptions that went with it. Therefore blackface is fraught with terrible actions and beliefs, even though without its historical meaning it looks like it could be merely a harmless part of playacting.

Plenty of things which looked at objectively seem to be harmless have horrifying associations because of how they were used.

Furthermore, it is not the place of white people like me to tell black people whether and when they must cease to be offended by blackface makeup. If a class of people has been made to suffer from something, it is up to them how they react to it and for how long.

I do not think there are rules for whether blackface is offensive or not.

For now, and for as long as the remembrance is needful, blackface is offensive.

crunchyblanket
07-29-2012, 04:40 PM
When I was growing up, I was taught that it was the fact that African Americans could not become actors and white people used the facepaint to misrepresent and mock generations of African Americans in both stage performances and movies.

more than reason enough to consider it offensive, IMO. The very fact that blackface existed for those reasons is enough to convince me that there's absolutely no reason to use it in the modern day.

aruna
07-29-2012, 04:44 PM
This is the Facebook page for the book (http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePearls?ref=ts). It seems that she has been deleting many of the critical comments, though many still stand. That tells me that she is still in strong denial. A person who was truly willing to listen and learn from POC about their experiences would be mortified and apologetic. So, maybe I was wrong to grant her the benefit of the doubt. Very disappointing,

crunchyblanket
07-29-2012, 05:12 PM
This is the Facebook page for the book (http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePearls?ref=ts). It seems that she has been deleting many of the critical comments, though many still stand. That tells me that she is still in strong denial. A person who was truly willing to listen and learn from POC about their experiences would be mortified and apologetic. So, maybe I was wrong to grant her the benefit of the doubt. Very disappointing,

Based on some of her comments, and actions like the above, I'm wondering if this isn't just some kind of bizarre 'white power' tract disguised as a role reversal exercise.

mirandashell
07-29-2012, 05:13 PM
Seeing as she was posting on here a fortnight ago, I'm a little surprised she hasn't come forward to offer a defense of some sort.

Although, considering what she's doing on her Facebook page, maybe I shouldn't be.

Dani
07-29-2012, 05:18 PM
This is a portion of a blog post I wrote a while back. The blockquote is from a commenter whose permission I had to print it on my blog.

I can't think of a more appropos quote than this:


A few weeks ago, I came across this post that talked about a woman who was approached by a “white man” in the park. Another man, also white, started to berate the author of the post about how she singled out “white men”. It wasn’t the post that caught my attention, nor was his comment, it was another commenter who responded to the man. Here is what she said and I thought it should give everyone food for thought because it was so eloquent and so articulate.


Just a heads-up, but when someone explains that white men use power in ways that make them uncomfortable, the correct reaction is not “what’s wrong with you”. You’ve been super defensive here, while forgetting what I consider to be the number-one rule when talking to a minority about their experiences with prejudice: assume that they understand the situation better than you do, because they’re the ones who live it.

I am a white cis-woman, and I tend not to notice the subtler forms of trans*phobia out there. A lot of my friends who are trans* will point it out. My initial reaction is to be uncomfortable — I feel weird that I missed it, and I knee-jerk want to go “maybe you’re overreacting, maybe they didn’t mean it, maybe you’re hypersensitive”. But you know what? I don’t ever have to deal with the shit that trans* people have to, so of course I’m not hyper-aware of it. They are, because they have to deal with it every day. So I shut my mouth and assume that they know better because it’s part of their daily experience. For-ever, probably.

You’re a white dude, so this ingrained cultural attitude towards women, and especially women of colour, is probably not something you’re going to notice. Why should you? It doesn’t affect you. You’re not going to be looking for it. So this is your time to take a step back, go “people who have to deal with this probably have real experiences and feelings about it, I’m not going to invalidate their experiences”, and resolve to be more attentive in the future. Period.

This doesn’t mean you can’t join in discourse about these issues, but it means that you have to stop approaching the experiences of a minority with skepticism and defensiveness. I know why you want to be defensive; I hate the idea that the group that I belong to can be so unconsciously privileged and hurtful. But the fact is, as a member of privileged group, you don’t get to experience being a victim of that privilege. Asking questions in order to understand somebody else’s experience better is fine. But saying “you just hang out with the wrong white dudes!” is not. It blames the victim in a society where we already do that way too much.”


Attribution to the second quote: http://rainbowjehan.livejournal.com/

I think this commenter has a lot to teach the world about racism and transphobia/homophobia etc. Her words reach a lot of my feelings about these issues.

Theo81
07-29-2012, 06:07 PM
Seeing as she was posting on here a fortnight ago, I'm a little surprised she hasn't come forward to offer a defense of some sort.

Although, considering what she's doing on her Facebook page, maybe I shouldn't be.

I'm not. She would get absolutely crucified.

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 06:21 PM
Lol Rex, no way is this thinly veiled racism. I don't know why you're trying to minimize the fact she calls PoC by various names in the book, uses blackface and the fact the series is about Saving white people from black people. She even calls black people beasts in one of her articles.

http://www.facebook.com/VictoriaFoyt this is her facebook like page, yesterday there were 100s of comments now theres few.

leahzero
07-29-2012, 06:28 PM
Note how the actresses beauty, as Eden, is taken as a given; it IS so. Just the Coals' perception of her beauty is false! So, white beauty is the real beauty.

I have such a problem with this. What is Foyt trying to even say here?

Girls of ALL colors today are taught from toddler age to believe that they'll never be beautiful enough.

And there's huge pressure on female PoC to look whiter.

I'm almost afraid to ask if that happens to Eden in the book, because of what a trainwreck it'll no doubt be. Is there pressure on her to look more like the "Coals?" Is that what the blackface shit is about?

Cyia
07-29-2012, 06:48 PM
I'm almost afraid to ask if that happens to Eden in the book, because of what a trainwreck it'll no doubt be. Is there pressure on her to look more like the "Coals?" Is that what the blackface shit is about?


Exactly. The make-up is so they can "pass," thereby raising their "mate-rate" and trick a potential mate into thinking they're "worthy" of being picked. The videos explain how to apply the "Midnight Luster" in multiple coats so the person's real skin doesn't show through. (They also say to coat your hair, which somehow ends up shiny and black, rather than the brown tone that appears on the person's skin. It's also stick straight, and very much a Caucasian's hair, but I guess that's a detail not worth noticing.)

AnneMarble
07-29-2012, 07:22 PM
ETA: Might not be much and sort of off-topic, but Web of Trust (an add-on for Firefox, and I think Chrome) has a "Warning! This site has poor reputation" thing for Sand Dollar Press. I just thought I'd share.

I've gotten leery about Web of Trust ratings lately because of odd rankings -- bad ratings given to sites that are safe, etc. Members have ranked down some bioscience supply sites for being "pharmaceutical" companies that don't meet their requirements, even if they aren't selling pharmaceuticals. And some of the ratings are weird or misinformed.

By the way, I read some of the reviews on Amazon, and noticed that the albinos in this book are called... cottons?!
:Jaw:

In this context, what's the first thing that comes to mind when you read the word cotton? Slavery? Plantations?

No one could be this obtuse without faking it. (Well, except maybe Frank Spencer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT4KE6vR9oI&feature=related), but that's a character in a BBC comedy, so he doesn't count.)

AnneMarble
07-29-2012, 07:45 PM
I feel like I should be learning a lesson from this, but I'm at a loss for what. I certainly have new appreciation for how quickly a 4.5+ star, award-winning book (http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbookwinners.html#young) can be turned into a 1.9 star book with a few creative usages of sockpuppet accounts on Amazon.



For what it's worth, there is a thread about the Eric Hoffer Award here:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48328

So the award looks good, but the company involved with it has been known to spam writers, and at least in the past, they charged some kind of entry fee. Sigh.

Libbie
07-29-2012, 08:32 PM
I am so tempted to read the book just for the how-low-does-it-go shock factor. I mean, I am imagining exactly where a racist book like this must go, and I'm curious to see whether I'm correct. But I don't want to give her any money. Not a single effing penny.

So I guess I'll never know, unless Conjugal Felicity or somebody similar sporks it.

Amadan
07-29-2012, 08:45 PM
I am so tempted to read the book just for the how-low-does-it-go shock factor. I mean, I am imagining exactly where a racist book like this must go, and I'm curious to see whether I'm correct. But I don't want to give her any money. Not a single effing penny.

So I guess I'll never know, unless Conjugal Felicity or somebody similar sporks it.


From the excerpts I have read, even if you could ignore the racism, the writing is pretty terrible and the plot fails spectacularly on many levels. (Not only does Victoria Foyt not know how race works, she seems not to know how science works.)

aruna
07-29-2012, 08:50 PM
From the excerpts I have read, even if you could ignore the racism, the writing is pretty terrible and the plot fails spectacularly on many levels. (Not only does Victoria Hoyt Foyt! not know how race works, she seems not to know how science works.)

A couple of people have made this error! Victoria Hoyt is a real person, an artist.

Ctairo
07-29-2012, 08:54 PM
I feel like I should be learning a lesson from this, but I'm at a loss for what. I certainly have new appreciation for how quickly a 4.5+ star, award-winning book (http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbookwinners.html#young) can be turned into a 1.9 star book with a few creative usages of sockpuppet accounts on Amazon.

Maybe the lesson is not all awards are created equal?



http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48328



http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2008/02/victoria-strauss-2008-indie-book-awards.html

Honestly though, if a writer wants to try to turn racial tropes on their head, s/he really need to do the research. Start with critical theory (Cornell West, Franz Fanon, bell hooks spring immediately to mind), move to fiction (James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison for a start). Don't assume because someone called you a name you and hurt your feelings once you "get it." That's just dumb.

We've seen this level of blissful stupid over and over again. It's gotten beyond old.

RexJameson
07-29-2012, 09:03 PM
The coal versus pearl thing could potentially be defended. The cotton thing for albinos?

OK. I'm losing my benefit of the doubt here.

As for the deletion of Facebook comments, social media outlets are an author's public face and a point-of-entry for rational public discussion with an author. Some of the comments that have been posted have been profane and incendiary. She's a YA author, and she certainly should keep such things away from her public face since children may come there.

However, I think it's futile at this point. More comments will keep rolling in until this blows over, and no matter how big the uproar, it always ebbs away.

RexJameson
07-29-2012, 09:05 PM
I'm not. She would get absolutely crucified.

I agree. I have a feeling that she's absolutely mortified at this point. I'm very glad this hasn't yet turned into a Howett-scale blowup. We don't need more "authors-behaving-badly" fodder--though the weekend is still young.

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 09:06 PM
The coal versus pearl thing could potentially be defended. The cotton thing for albinos?

OK. I'm losing my benefit of the doubt here.

As for the deletion of Facebook comments, social media outlets are an author's public face and a point-of-entry for rational public discussion with an author. Some of the comments that have been posted have been profane and incendiary. She's a YA author, and she certainly should keep such things away from her public face since children may come there.

However, I think it's futile at this point. More comments will keep rolling in until this blows over, and no matter how big the uproar, it always ebbs away.

It can't be defended Coal is a slur. Same as Coal-miner. As Cyia said:


Or that it's not just "pearls" and "coals," but "ambers" for Asians, and "tiger-eyes" for Latinos, which means the only non-precious material is "coal." (This is supposed to be "upturned" racism? Really?) And what about POC who are light-skinned, or Caucasians who are naturally darker? What about those with a mixed heritage?

aruna
07-29-2012, 09:16 PM
It can't be defended Coal is a slur. Same as Coal-miner.

Nobody on earth would want to be seen as Coal. I don't know where the defence would be, even under the scenario Rex provided upthread. It's just dirty. And stinky. It gives out horrible fumes that are bad for your lungs. How could it ever be a positive name?

Cyia
07-29-2012, 09:20 PM
How could it ever be a positive name?


I keep expecting someone to try and spin it as "But if you put coal underground with heat and pressure, you get diamonds!!!" I'm really surprised no one has.

RexJameson
07-29-2012, 09:30 PM
Nobody on earth would want to be seen as Coal. I don't know where the defence would be, even under the scenario Rex provided upthread. It's just dirty. And stinky. It gives out horrible fumes that are bad for your lungs. How could it ever be a positive name?

Like I said, especially with the usage of "pearls" in the context, I can't really give the benefit of the doubt at this point. My reaction was more about the 130+ sudden 1-stars. However, at this point, I can't think of a rational explanation for the symbolism used here. It does not appear to have any redeeming qualities (and I would never, ever think to use such a mismatch).

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 09:35 PM
Like I said, especially with the usage of "pearls" in the context, I can't really give the benefit of the doubt at this point. My reaction was more about the 130+ sudden 1-stars. However, at this point, I can't think of a rational explanation for the symbolism used here. It does not appear to have any redeeming qualities (and I would never, ever think to use such a mismatch).

Well it would have the sudden 1+ star reviews because an article on the book was posted on ONTD (OhNoTheyDidnt), Bookfails.livejournal.com, Tumblr and various other communities and it was a hot topic among the YA reviewer crowd on Goodreads and Twitter. Several other gossip communities and there's a petition against it. This isn't the only site talking about this book. A lot of people have gotten copies I think through Netgalley and other sites to review the book so they know what it's like which is why the whole discussion was sparked to begin with.

Alessandra Kelley
07-29-2012, 09:51 PM
From the Sand Dollar Press website: (http://www.sanddollarpress.com/about-sand-dollar-press-inc/)


Our extensive background in the world of independent filmmaking gives us a fresh outlook on marketing our books. We have many resources for creating video book trailers and viral campaigns, coupled with expertise in marketing, public relations and social media strategy, that results in the unrivalled execution of book launches.

(This is the publisher that published Victoria Foyt's Saving the Pearls Part One: Revealing Eden)

The problem with viral campaigns is that one cannot really control them. Social media strategy is all well and good, but if the product one is trying to market is doubtful, it may well backfire. Trying to manipulate social media is difficult because, well, people talk to each other and think for themselves.

This book launch is not going well.

aruna
07-29-2012, 09:52 PM
Yes, I think the whole thing just exploded two days ago and that's how it reached AW -- not the other way around. In other words, we didn't start it, Mummy! :)

Rachel Udin
07-29-2012, 09:53 PM
I keep expecting someone to try and spin it as "But if you put coal underground with heat and pressure, you get diamonds!!!" I'm really surprised no one has.
Don't worry, I believe one of her defenses read like this. Which is a whole new level... because that reads to me like, "If you press a black person enough, you can get white out of them."


Yes, I think the whole thing just exploded two days ago and that's how it reached AW -- not the other way around. In other words, we didn't start it, Mummy! :)
Started on tumblr from the reports. Spread to live journal then here.

zahra
07-29-2012, 09:56 PM
Well it would have the sudden 1+ star reviews because an article on the book was posted on ONTD (OhNoTheyDidnt), Bookfails.livejournal.com, Tumblr and various other communities and it was a hot topic among the YA reviewer crowd on Goodreads and Twitter. Several other gossip communities and there's a petition against it. This isn't the only site talking about this book. A lot of people have gotten copies I think through Netgalley and other sites to review the book so they know what it's like which is why the whole discussion was sparked to begin with.
This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Someone here says the controversy tempts her to read the book. PLEASE DON'T! I've got a horrid feeling this will be the exact fallout. That would be tragic. This woman's bilge should be consigned to the deepest pit of failure. I am not surprised she hasn't come on AW to defend herself. It's indefensible. I admit, I am having a hard time respecting my fellow author, because she seems to be incapable of respecting her fellow human being who happens not to be white.

mirandashell
07-29-2012, 09:57 PM
From the Sand Dollar Press website: (http://www.sanddollarpress.com/about-sand-dollar-press-inc/)



The problem with viral campaigns is that one cannot really control them. Social media strategy is all well and good, but if the product one is trying to market is doubtful, it may well backfire. Trying to manipulate social media is difficult because, well, people talk to each other and think for themselves.

This book launch is not going well.

They wouldn't be the first company to try and manipulate social media and have it bite them in the arse.

thothguard51
07-29-2012, 10:00 PM
You know, I just got back a sample edit of a novel I am working on. In this novel, I describe some really bad creatures who could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I describe their skin as black as coal... Hmmm.

The editor, whom I respect, noted do you really want to go there with this description? She noted that in this current publishing climate, a description like this, showing the black skinned creatures as being bad guys may not go over well.

While I understand what she was saying, and why, I am now wondering if all skin color references to bad creatures or characters, have to be non-black so as not to offend, anyone?

These creatures, while human in appearance were not meant to symbolize PoC. The theme is good vs evil, and while I do have a variety of races in this series, I generally do not describe skin color. Do I now have to rethink the bad guys skin colors so as not to offend anyone?

I realize this is not the same as what VF has done with her story, but the comment by the editor makes me feel this whole remove all references to black skinned that is not positive may be an overreaction, or is it?

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 10:00 PM
I personally think the company is just run by Foyt and some friends because no publishing company would publish this book considering the content. And her last book was published by harper teen but is out of print.

Dani
07-29-2012, 10:03 PM
You know, I just got back a sample edit of a novel I am working on. In this novel, I describe some really bad creatures who could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I describe their skin as black as coal... Hmmm.

The editor, whom I respect, noted do you really want to go there with this description? She noted that in this current publishing climate, a description like this, showing the black skinned creatures as being bad guys may not go over well.

While I understand what she was saying, and why, I am now wondering if all skin color references to bad creatures or characters, have to be non-black so as not to offend, anyone?

These creatures, while human in appearance were not meant to symbolize PoC. The theme is good vs evil, and while I do have a variety of races in this series, I generally do not describe skin color. Do I now have to rethink the bad guys skin colors so as not to offend anyone?

I realize this is not the same as what VF has done with her story, but the comment by the editor makes me feel this whole remove all references to black skinned that is not positive may be an overreaction, or is it?

The problem isn't that you describe a creature as "coal" black. The problem is you made the "coal-black" creatures "MONKEYS"--something that African and African American people have had used as a SLUR (you need to look this up!).

How do you not know why that is offensive? *boggle*

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 10:04 PM
You know, I just got back a sample edit of a novel I am working on. In this novel, I describe some really bad creatures who could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I describe their skin as black as coal... Hmmm.

The editor, whom I respect, noted do you really want to go there with this description? She noted that in this current publishing climate, a description like this, showing the black skinned creatures as being bad guys may not go over well.

While I understand what she was saying, and why, I am now wondering if all skin color references to bad creatures or characters, have to be non-black so as not to offend, anyone?

These creatures, while human in appearance were not meant to symbolize PoC. The theme is good vs evil, and while I do have a variety of races in this series, I generally do not describe skin color. Do I now have to rethink the bad guys skin colors so as not to offend anyone?
I realize this is not the same as what VF has done with her story, but the comment by the editor makes me feel this whole remove all references to black skinned that is not positive may be an overreaction, or is it?

Your editor I think means 'black as coal' the coal bit is the problem, not that you're describing them. You could describe their colour in many ways. Black as onyx etc. This is whole 'nother thread. Coal is a racial charged word because it is used as a slur so that is most likely why.

And there's also the fact you called the black creatures monkeys which is a whole nother field of racism. Like your black creatures are monkeys?

AnneMarble
07-29-2012, 10:11 PM
Well it would have the sudden 1+ star reviews because an article on the book was posted on ONTD (OhNoTheyDidnt), Bookfails.livejournal.com, Tumblr and various other communities and it was a hot topic among the YA reviewer crowd on Goodreads and Twitter. Several other gossip communities and there's a petition against it. This isn't the only site talking about this book. A lot of people have gotten copies I think through Netgalley and other sites to review the book so they know what it's like which is why the whole discussion was sparked to begin with.
I've seen similar things happen to books by authors who spammed, authors who said nasty things about reviewers, etc. At least these reviews are about the book and not giving the author one star because they spammed.

I don't know how many of the reviewers read the whole book. This leads to a whole debate about whether it's OK to read a review that criticizes the book based simply on what the author has said about it, what you have read about it, etc. But I do like being warned away in a case like this.

Also, it is possible to make a judgment based on reading just part of a book, such as the sample chapters. I make judgments based on samples all the time. By deciding not to buy a book because the sample was badly written. Or in one case, because the author referred to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as a "backwater" in the beginning of the story. (The Lancaster metropolitan area has a population of over half a million people!:ROFL: )

I wouldn't post a review based on that, but some people will. Is it OK to post a review based on an excerpt? The jury is still out on that.

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 10:17 PM
I've seen similar things happen to books by authors who spammed, authors who said nasty things about reviewers, etc. At least these reviews are about the book and not giving the author one star because they spammed.

I don't know how many of the reviewers read the whole book. This leads to a whole debate about whether it's OK to read a review that criticizes the book based simply on what the author has said about it, what you have read about it, etc. But I do like being warned away in a case like this.

Also, it is possible to make a judgment based on reading just part of a book, such as the sample chapters. I make judgments based on samples all the time. By deciding not to buy a book because the sample was badly written. Or in one case, because the author referred to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as a "backwater" in the beginning of the story. (The Lancaster metropolitan area has a population of over half a million people!:ROFL: )

I wouldn't post a review based on that, but some people will. Is it OK to post a review based on an excerpt? The jury is still out on that.

Well I think people are basically writing their reviews from also what her website www.savethepearls.com says too because of her videos on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/savethepearls?feature=watch)advertising her book and her 'midnight luster' and videos of white people blacking up. And this one video of this lady saying she'd make a good match because she has no family so wouldn't run if her coal-mate beat her (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiT_hd4fF7E&list=UUc8RTg1XwSqxaOn2H90C7JA&index=7&feature=plcp).

Like it's not just the book there's a whole website dedicated to saving white people from black people and youtube videos of by her of hired actors blacking up etc.

Amadan
07-29-2012, 10:18 PM
Interesting that Dani and fireluxlou have two completely different assessments as to why the description is racist.

Personally, absent any other context, I think it requires a stretch to regard coal-black flying monkeys as some kind of slight on PoC, and immediately making that connection strikes me as kind of racist. Who reads about monkeys and immediately thinks "black people"? Who immediately assumes that "coal black," referring to anything, is a reference to black people?

On the other hand, this sort of close parsing of every reference and descriptive detail in a book is pretty common nowadays*. So your editor is probably right: regardless of what you intended, someone is going to decide that you're calling black people flying monkeys.

* ObNote: I am not against close reading to dig out subtle, unintended racism. I do think some of these readings can get a bit tortured, though. Which is not a problem with Victoria Foyt's book, in which the "unintended" racism is about as subtle as a minstrel show.

thothguard51
07-29-2012, 10:19 PM
My bad for using the term monkey in describing these creatures.

I do understand the term monkey is offense and that was not my intent in my post. I was just trying to give a visual of what these creatures look like. They are not monkeys in the book. I should have explained better.

They are part Elf and part Raven, thus, Raven Elves. The Raven part would match their skin color. Which is why I used black as coal, and I am not sure the editor got that? Or if she did, was still warning me away from this whole color issue. Obviously, if I make the skin color other than black, I will also have to find a more suitable name to call these creatures.

I hope that clarifies...

Medievalist
07-29-2012, 10:23 PM
I personally think the company is just run by Foyt and some friends because no publishing company would publish this book considering the content. And her last book was published by harper teen but is out of print.

It's self-published; the ISBN is a dead giveaway.

mirandashell
07-29-2012, 10:26 PM
My bad for using the term monkey in describing these creatures.


They are part Elf and part Raven, thus, Raven Elves. The Raven part would match their skin color. Which is why I used black as coal, and I am not sure the editor got that? Or if she did, was still warning me away from this whole color issue. Obviously, if I make the skin color other than black, I will also have to find a more suitable name to call these creatures.

I hope that clarifies...

How about Eagle Elves? Falcon Elves? Magpie Elves?

I'm guessing you need a predatory bird with a bad reputation?

Vulture Elves?

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 10:27 PM
Interesting that Dani and fireluxlou have two completely different assessments as to why the description is racist.

Personally, absent any other context, I think it requires a stretch to regard coal-black flying monkeys as some kind of slight on PoC, and immediately making that connection strikes me as kind of racist. Who reads about monkeys and immediately thinks "black people"? Who immediately assumes that "coal black," referring to anything, is a reference to black people?

On the other hand, this sort of close parsing of every reference and descriptive detail in a book is pretty common nowadays*. So your editor is probably right: regardless of what you intended, someone is going to decide that you're calling black people flying monkeys.

* ObNote: I am not against close reading to dig out subtle, unintended racism. I do think some of these readings can get a bit tortured, though. Which is not a problem with Victoria Foyt's book, in which the "unintended" racism is about as subtle as a minstrel show.

Well there's all kinds of problematic to the entire description, it's not a nice description and the association's are there to both 'coal' and 'monkey' because of history. People will see things differently but I think we both drew the same conclusion no less.


It's self-published; the ISBN is a dead giveaway.

Not surprised then.

Dani
07-29-2012, 10:39 PM
Your editor I think means 'black as coal' the coal bit is the problem, not that you're describing them. You could describe their colour in many ways. Black as onyx etc. This is whole 'nother thread. Coal is a racial charged word because it is used as a slur so that is most likely why.

And there's also the fact you called the black creatures monkeys which is a whole nother field of racism. Like your black creatures are monkeys?


The problem isn't that you describe a creature as "coal" black. The problem is you made the "coal-black" creatures "MONKEYS"--something that African and African American people have had used as a SLUR (you need to look this up!).

How do you not know why that is offensive? *boggle*


Interesting that Dani and fireluxlou have two completely different assessments as to why the description is racist.

Bold above is mine. How exactly did we get two different assessments? Look pretty similar to me. But what I do know? I'm just, according to you, racist because I put the two together.

By the by, most people put those together who are sensitive. Privilege people don't because they don't get veiled racism.

My white grandma doesn't get why calling my dad that "dirty redskin" is offensive to me, either. Probably because she's not sensitive to the fact that I SHARE HIS BLOOD.



Personally, absent any other context, I think it requires a stretch to regard coal-black flying monkeys as some kind of slight on PoC, and immediately making that connection strikes me as kind of racist. Who reads about monkeys and immediately thinks "black people"? Who immediately assumes that "coal black," referring to anything, is a reference to black people?

Um those of us that read his post when he said it described THE CHARACTERS as coal black. Yeah, dunno how I could confuse him saying he "describes" them as coal black. What's he talking about if not skin tone? Their panties?

I don't believe it was intentional. I don't even think the majority of people will read anything into it. It's just simply one of those moments when you don't realize how things are taken because you don't DEAL with that kind of thing all the time. Doesn't make him racist. Doesn't make him a bad person. Doesn't even make his book or the characters in it "veiled" in racism. It just is something to consider and that will HURT some people and offend them. The thing about learning about veiled racism and offensive things is that you can use that information to be defensive, or you can use it to learn a little something and perhaps not alienate people unnecessarily.

fireluxlou
07-29-2012, 10:45 PM
Racism is so ingrained in society, half the time people don't realise they're doing it. But the immediate reaction is not get defensive just because you can't use those terms, descriptors and words about other people because of the history associated to them. It's to learn from them. Intent doesn't matter at all.

Also here's a sample (http://www.studio-e-books.com/portfolio/RevealingEden.pdf)of the 1st chapter for anyone who hasn't read it.

Rachel Udin
07-29-2012, 10:47 PM
This article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-foyt/cunctating-towards-the-ti_b_1591048.html
makes my head ache. Lack of knowledge about anthropology and "guesses" don't make an article. This just confirmed my suspicion that she never researches because she thinks, "Hey, I'll write what I know." No... no... no... you write what you care about and research the rest.

I'll save the rant on why Homo Erectus didn't exactly "get wiped out" (You know, evolution... but ya know what we're dealing with) and why homo Neanderthalensis probably did get wiped out. But I'll summarize to say she's wrong. It's not because they friggin' procrastinated their way to death.

At least this article highlights how she gets her science knowledge (or the lack of it). Explains a lot.

Amadan
07-29-2012, 11:04 PM
Bold above is mine. How exactly did we get two different assessments? Look pretty similar to me. But what I do know? I'm just, according to you, racist because I put the two together.

Longer post deleted, because I don't think you're engaging in good faith.

RexJameson
07-29-2012, 11:31 PM
Interesting that Dani and fireluxlou have two completely different assessments as to why the description is racist.

Personally, absent any other context, I think it requires a stretch to regard coal-black flying monkeys as some kind of slight on PoC, and immediately making that connection strikes me as kind of racist. Who reads about monkeys and immediately thinks "black people"? Who immediately assumes that "coal black," referring to anything, is a reference to black people?

On the other hand, this sort of close parsing of every reference and descriptive detail in a book is pretty common nowadays*. So your editor is probably right: regardless of what you intended, someone is going to decide that you're calling black people flying monkeys.

* ObNote: I am not against close reading to dig out subtle, unintended racism. I do think some of these readings can get a bit tortured, though. Which is not a problem with Victoria Foyt's book, in which the "unintended" racism is about as subtle as a minstrel show.

Well, there certainly are people who specifically look for these kinds of symbolisms in everything from movies to Hallmark cards (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7475737). I don't see an issue with dark beasts attacking protagonists, especially if the antagonists are born of night or tar or darkness. We're naturally afraid of the dark, and it has nothing to do with racism. If the author is using this natural menacing feeling from stillness in the night, natural camouflage with the night, etc., then I certainly don't find fault with it.

That doesn't mean that no one else will though. I would have to recommend going with your writer instinct on what will be scarier or more menacing. I had no idea "coal" was even a racial slur before it was fictionalized as such in this book. It certainly isn't listed on this list (http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Race&Groups-General/+Doc-Race&Groups-General-General&Msc/RacistTerms&Origins.htm), but is used as a base word in things like coal-burner and coal-miner. Still, I think it's a stretch unless it's being used as is being done in this book, where it's explicitly setup as a slur.

Medievalist
07-29-2012, 11:32 PM
The problem isn't that you describe a creature as "coal" black. The problem is you made the "coal-black" creatures "MONKEYS"--something that African and African American people have had used as a SLUR (you need to look this up!).

That isn't what he wrote.



In this novel, I describe some really bad creatures who could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I describe their skin as black as coal... Hmmm.

The creatures he's referring to are not monkeys; he says they could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.

That's what we call a literary allusion. His creatures are not physically like flying monkeys; they are anthropomorphic ravens, as he makes clear in his subsequent post (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7473445&postcount=105).

thothguard's real question is


The editor, whom I respect, noted do you really want to go there with this description? She noted that in this current publishing climate, a description like this, showing the black skinned creatures as being bad guys may not go over well.

While I understand what she was saying, and why, I am now wondering if all skin color references to bad creatures or characters, have to be non-black so as not to offend, anyone?

These creatures, while human in appearance were not meant to symbolize PoC. The theme is good vs evil, and while I do have a variety of races in this series, I generally do not describe skin color. Do I now have to rethink the bad guys skin colors so as not to offend anyone?

Libbie
07-29-2012, 11:37 PM
This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Someone here says the controversy tempts her to read the book. PLEASE DON'T!

Oh, don't worry. I'm curious how awful it actually gets, but my money doesn't go to the obviously racist or those with their privilege running out of control. She definitely falls into one category or the other.

thebloodfiend
07-29-2012, 11:49 PM
You know, I just got back a sample edit of a novel I am working on. In this novel, I describe some really bad creatures who could be thought of as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I describe their skin as black as coal... Hmmm.

The editor, whom I respect, noted do you really want to go there with this description? She noted that in this current publishing climate, a description like this, showing the black skinned creatures as being bad guys may not go over well.

While I understand what she was saying, and why, I am now wondering if all skin color references to bad creatures or characters, have to be non-black so as not to offend, anyone?

These creatures, while human in appearance were not meant to symbolize PoC. The theme is good vs evil, and while I do have a variety of races in this series, I generally do not describe skin color. Do I now have to rethink the bad guys skin colors so as not to offend anyone?

I realize this is not the same as what VF has done with her story, but the comment by the editor makes me feel this whole remove all references to black skinned that is not positive may be an overreaction, or is it?

Meh, as a POC, I'm rather sick of the bad guys being dark skinned, black as night creatures.

It's not that they have to be non-black, but it seems like a standard trope in fantasy -- if a creature is dark skinned, it's evil. If a character is dark skinned, they're a savage. If they're white, they're pure and probably holy and saint-like.

You're always going to offend someone, but it's good to keep in mind that for the past 400 years or so, dark skin has been seen as something to get rid of, bleach, or fear. All your bad guys don't have to have non-black skin -- that's ridiculous -- but you could equalize the field if you're afraid of potential back lash. And from what I've seen, ravens are dark violet and shiny, not really black.

But I'd have to raise my eyes if your coal black antagonists started attacking and raping the *coincidentally* white as snow MC's. :roll:

Just my two bits. I'd really have to read your novel to understand the context. I don't like to automatically conclude IT'S RACIST, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, just a little.

Dani
07-30-2012, 12:11 AM
but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, just a little.

This was the whole point of what I was saying.

Instead of becoming defensive and making excuses, step into someone else's shoes and, to quote a very wise woman:


"the number-one rule when talking to a minority about their experiences with prejudice: assume that they understand the situation better than you do, because they’re the ones who live it."

thothguard51
07-30-2012, 12:16 AM
[QUOTE] Just my two bits. I'd really have to read your novel to understand the context. I don't like to automatically conclude IT'S RACIST, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, just a little. [/QUOTES]

Not to derail, but here is the scene description she commented on.

The Shadow Stalkers did not bother him as much, though, as what rode upon their backs, Raven Elves. They were shorter than humans and fairly thin. They wore leather jerkins and leggings; their exposed skin as black as coal. Their ears seemed overly large and pointed, while their heads were bald. Like the Shadow Stalkers, their eyes were a bright crimson-red. From their backs, leathery wings were folded in place so as not to hinder their movements. According to legends, their wings were more for gliding than flight.

The editors biggest issue was the black as coal description because of the current climate of publishing. I suppose I could change to ebony black, obsidian black, or other, but coal black to me is dull and non reflective, which was the image I wanted. It never dawned on me that anyone would look at it as I am stereotyping PoC.

Dani
07-30-2012, 12:26 AM
It never dawned on me that anyone would look at it as I am stereotyping PoC.

Just to be clear, I am not accusing you of stereotyping or of being racist, especially in light of this description. Since I didn't have context when I made my original quote (which was based on your words of "flying monkeys"), I pointed out something that would distress many readers. It turns out, as you later posted, that they were raven-like creatures.

Some things that suck, but are no less true. This kind of thing can cause a lot of internal anguish among POC: The bad guys called "dark", "black". Black always considered evil. White always considered pure/innocent.

Why is this still used? It's cliche. Why can't red be evil in stories? Red is the color of blood and passion and anger. How about violet? Violet even sounds like VIOLENT.

Is some of this over-sensitivity? Well, ask yourself this: Do you live it every day? If your answer is no, then you can't say whether they're being over sensitive.

Here's an AmIndian's perspective-- I am sick and tired of the Indian being portrayed as some sort of spiritual plane walker who smokes peyote and turns into a wolf when night comes. That's one perspective. My cousin, on the other hand, calls himself Running Wolf and has a garish tattoo of a wolf on his lower back.

You can't please everyone, but it's always good to be aware of things and decide based on what you learn.

backslashbaby
07-30-2012, 12:37 AM
Maybe focus on the color as being raven-like in your case. Don't have the sentence describing skin color leave that part out. Ravens are creepy; black skin is most definitely not.

thothguard51
07-30-2012, 12:38 AM
Dani, thank you for the response.

And I agree there are other colors that can represent evil. Some of the baddest dudes and gals in my book can be viewed as white, even though I never go into detail about skin color. Oh I might give a rich tan description now and then or her skin was pale as ... whatever, but I mostly avoid describing a character so completely as to give skin color.

Let my readers see them as they want is my general assessment...

Rachel Udin
07-30-2012, 12:41 AM
Just my two bits. I'd really have to read your novel to understand the context. I don't like to automatically conclude IT'S RACIST, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, just a little.

Not to derail, but here is the scene description she commented on.

The Shadow Stalkers did not bother him as much, though, as what rode upon their backs, Raven Elves. They were shorter than humans and fairly thin. They wore leather jerkins and leggings; their exposed skin as black as coal. Their ears seemed overly large and pointed, while their heads were bald. Like the Shadow Stalkers, their eyes were a bright crimson-red. From their backs, leathery wings were folded in place so as not to hinder their movements. According to legends, their wings were more for gliding than flight.

The editors biggest issue was the black as coal description because of the current climate of publishing. I suppose I could change to ebony black, obsidian black, or other, but coal black to me is dull and non reflective, which was the image I wanted. It never dawned on me that anyone would look at it as I am stereotyping PoC.Umm... White privilege does that... people think that racism is when someone calls you a slur, but it's really the position that you hold in society and the things that are said about that position that grants you certain privileges you don't realize. In order to erase racism and the propaganda you were raised with you have to try harder to fight outside of such a mold. I'm glad you came to this realization point.

http://www.luckygemstones.com/black-gemstones-jewelry-semi-precious.htm
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238165
http://color.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Shades_of_black
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_black_%28colors%29

Also ebony, mahogany (I use regional features to determine what word I'm going to use.)

Generally stay away from food, if possible too. (You can see that in my little rant about raisins from earlier in this thread.)

Don't get stuck.

You might also want to check basics of race stuff too, like previous representations of African Americans (Which, if you are like most of the people in this thread, will bring you to feeling sick.) but it's educational. You might also look at the criticism around Jar Jar Binx (though I found the Café Alien also offensive.) and read up on racebending which has several great articles about protrayals of PoCs in general.

But cultures are probably a faster in... that or not using the 100% of the creatures to be dumb, clumsy, and evil (like fantasy does with races.) What about the Orc that just wanted to pick flowers and sing? (OK, that's a bit extreme). But don't be afraid of the gray, and I don't mean 50 shades of it.

I like the Vulture recommendation, but then they vaguely remind me of the birds in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I know is a wrong picture image, but it kinda stuck with me that way.

thothguard51
07-30-2012, 12:51 AM
Thank you Rachel...

While I do not claim to know what it is like to walk in another's shoes other than white, I have made it a point, all my life, of trying to understand others.

And no, the Raven Elves do not eat raisins, watermelon, fried chicken or really much of anything than red meat and fish. Raw.

I now return this thread to our original topic, Victoria Foyt...

thebloodfiend
07-30-2012, 12:53 AM
Maybe focus on the color as being raven-like in your case. Don't have the sentence describing skin color leave that part out. Ravens are creepy; black skin is most definitely not.

I like this suggestion.

It's not the way you describe black, btw, but the fact that you use black to describe the creepy evil dudes. Ebony black, etc... bothers me just as much as coal black.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Filigree
07-30-2012, 01:22 AM
I've been following this with interest. In one futuristic book, I have a main character who could be classed as a POC, from an aristocratic family and a culture that is largely non-white. In the broader human empire, I made pale skin such a rarity that another MC stands out because of it. The overtly bad guys can be read between-the-lines as more Anglo and very parochial.

In another book, set in a completely different secondary world, the inhabitants have all kinds of skin color from purple-black to light tan. They have different points of prejudice than skin color.

I'm sure I might get dinged for those reasons, too, by readers putting their own cultural assumptions into play.

Personally, I come from a mixed Native American and Anglo family, and I've experienced both sides of the prejudice war. Our family reunions showcase every skin tone from deep reddish-brown to Irish freckles. My darker cousins once couldn't get served in a swanky big-city Texas restaurant even though they were in full evening dress. One very Anglo-looking cousin got escorted out of a pow-wow in northern AZ, because the organizers couldn't believe she was entered in a dance contest - until one of my family elders vouched for her.

It seems to me that Foyt was working off some old and now discredited hooey about the 'Blond Gene Going Extinct', which has now been debunked as a hoax.

Unimportant
07-30-2012, 01:35 AM
Also here's a sample (http://www.studio-e-books.com/portfolio/RevealingEden.pdf)of the 1st chapter for anyone who hasn't read it.

Thanks for the link.

The book seems to feed into a lot of current fears and fantasies. POC will take over the US; POC will do to Caucasians what Caucasians have done to POC; black men are hot sexy lovers (rawr); the white standard of beauty should be the universal standard of beauty; dark skin = filthy/dirty. It also ignores the fact that a society capable of creating all that futuristic holo-stuff really ought to be able to whip up a bottle of decent sunblock.

Sorin
07-30-2012, 01:53 AM
This interesting conversation aside, I stumbled onto that Save the Pearls video a few days ago and started watching it. I had no clue what it was about, so my first reaction was, "OMG! That poor girl fell asleep in the tanning booth. Is she going to sue?" :D

Now after reading more about this whole train wreck, I'm going to stick with my original assumption that the video was a warning against tanning abuse. It's just better for my blood pressure that way.

missesdash
07-30-2012, 01:55 AM
Man. I'm sad I missed the fall out on tumblr. Tumblr's social justice league is brutal. She better go into hiding. They'll be on this until something else comes along.

Rachel Udin
07-30-2012, 02:00 AM
I like this suggestion.

It's not the way you describe black, btw, but the fact that you use black to describe the creepy evil dudes. Ebony black, etc... bothers me just as much as coal black.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Umm... vultures would work for that reason, skin color, white and black. =P Equal opportunity? You'd still have a scavenger too.

BTW, the
black==evil
white==Good
dates back to Genesis. Which isn't to say it's not racist to put 100% of all black things evil, but to point out the origin of those stereotypes, at which point you can try to find other ways of thinking and dividing the world. Not a Christian here, but I see how Genesis effects the current cultural climate in ways that most people have forgotten... for the purposes of Fantasy, it's often good to break the back of your own cultural predilections or at least examine them to create something new.

Oh and from a biology standpoint... Monkeys come in lots of colors.
***
I should note that Foyt could have had it gone away much, much faster if she owned up to the fact that she F*ed up.

NK Jemisin, whom I really admire, said that she realized she F*ed up with her second novel, Broken Kingdoms, owned up to the fact before fan rage and said outright sorry and told everyone she could have done better. It's better to point out your own mistakes like that early than wait for someone else to. (I'm on the fence though about her using a Korean person's face with a Chinese name for the third book... but that's a whole other thing and I might have read that wrong...)

Also, Diana Gabaldon wrote a Chinese person really poorly. Instead of refute it, she owned up to it, told why she did it, said oops and said she wouldn't do it again. She did make up for it later by talking very frankly about the horrors of slavery, even in a Uncle Tom capacity how it was wrong, went over the whole gamut and then worked extra hard to get the tribes right on the Native American side.

I canned a book because I'd borrowed the idea from a younger self and really, really wanted this one aspect of diversity to work, but I couldn't get past my younger self and because I was writing it fast, I didn't have the time to sort it. I apologized profusely to the people who tried to sort the problem, (feeling extra bad since it's really under represented in fiction) I worked really hard to overcome the issue too... but it just wouldn't click and I was pissed at my younger self. It wasn't a total wash because I learned a whole bunch of things. Like don't borrow plotlines from your younger self without thinking them through thoroughly. And I promised to take the lessons I learned from that to do better next time from a more even hand. Sometimes you can't friggin' fix a bad premise, no matter how good your intentions and no matter how hard you try. It's better to can some things early. *Hint* Foyt.

Say sorry quickly, it'll blow over fast. And mean it. If you can make it a post of what you learned you did wrong, it'll go faster. Don't go defending yourself or your book, it just fans the flames faster.

G. Applejack
07-30-2012, 02:30 AM
Man. I'm sad I missed the fall out on tumblr. Tumblr's social justice league is brutal. She better go into hiding. They'll be on this until something else comes along.

Yup. Luckily for her* it'll only be a week (maybe two) until the next RAGE event comes along.



*Not defending this book or the author in any way, but some internet Social Justice groups can be vicious.

polleekin
07-30-2012, 03:28 AM
I personally think the company is just run by Foyt and some friends because no publishing company would publish this book considering the content. And her last book was published by harper teen but is out of print.
Yes, it's her company. This is info from the book's page on netgalley:

"She established Sand Dollar Press in 2011 to promote YA novels through film-quality, online campaigns. Save the Pearls Part One: Revealing Eden is her first release, tied to an interactive site: SaveThePearls.com, and a newsfeed."

missesdash
07-30-2012, 03:48 AM
Yes, it's her company. This is info from the book's page on netgalley:

"She established Sand Dollar Press in 2011 to promote YA novels through film-quality, online campaigns. Save the Pearls Part One: Revealing Eden is her first release, tied to an interactive site: SaveThePearls.com, and a newsfeed."

She seems a little...off, to be honest.

Ari Meermans
07-30-2012, 05:54 AM
Even though this was in another thread and might not have been seen, Mac has already had to say this once today:



I'd very much like NOT to see anyone pushing the conversation towards a discussion of the writer instead of the book.

My apologies to Ms. Foyt.

Let's not make her have to repeat herself, 'kay?

AW Admin
07-30-2012, 09:06 AM
I'm going to make a more pointed reminder.

1. Read the stickies for this forum. We're not kidding about them.

2. Respect your fellow writer.

aruna
07-30-2012, 09:50 AM
It's interesting to note that all the early 5 star reviews make no mention whatsoever of the glaring problems that lie in the very premise of the book. Surely someone must have thought, whoa, evil black beastly Coals oppressing sweet pure beautiful Pearls? Something fishy here. But no; not as far as I have read.

To me, this signifies just how ingrained privilege is: so much so that one takes these tropes for granted and is willing to accept them if printed in a book. After all, the author must know what she is doing, right?

Medievalist
07-30-2012, 10:18 AM
It's interesting to note that all the early 5 star reviews make no mention whatsoever of the glaring problems that lie in the very premise of the book. Surely someone must have thought, whoa, evil black beastly Coals oppressing sweet pure beautiful Pearls? Something fishy here. But no; not as far as I have read.

I note that I can for $5.00 U.S. purchase a glowing 5 star review for any book I want; I can even write said review myself.

I further note that you if read a lot of five star Amazon reviews of self-published books you soon start seeing the same phrases repeatedly. And then if you google that phrase you can, shockingly, find reviews that are astonishingly similar.

I'm sure it's a miracle. That must be the explanation.

Theo81
07-30-2012, 12:52 PM
Well, there certainly are people who specifically look for these kinds of symbolisms in everything from movies to Hallmark cards (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7475737). I don't see an issue with dark beasts attacking protagonists, especially if the antagonists are born of night or tar or darkness. We're naturally afraid of the dark, and it has nothing to do with racism. If the author is using this natural menacing feeling from stillness in the night, natural camouflage with the night, etc., then I certainly don't find fault with it.

That doesn't mean that no one else will though. I would have to recommend going with your writer instinct on what will be scarier or more menacing. I had no idea "coal" was even a racial slur before it was fictionalized as such in this book. It certainly isn't listed on this list (http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Race&Groups-General/+Doc-Race&Groups-General-General&Msc/RacistTerms&Origins.htm), but is used as a base word in things like coal-burner and coal-miner. Still, I think it's a stretch unless it's being used as is being done in this book, where it's explicitly setup as a slur.

The problem Rex is, because of the things which have been done in the past, our language is shaped in ways which are now casually offensive. I'm going to explain in the context of sexism, because I feel more able to make myself clear.

He throws like a girl.
Big girl's blouse.
I don't want to do that, it's for girls.
Calling somebody "sweetie" to be sarcastic.

Innocuous phrases? No. They are phrases which make clear that being a girl is something negative, that to be compared to a woman is a bad thing.

Women can dress like men, but for a man to dress like a woman is demeaning, because being a woman is demeaning (to paraphrase Ian McEwan).

Watch an 8 year-old boy pull a face of disgust when it's suggested he spend time with an 8 year-old girl and declare he hates girls. Our society has taken an 8 year-old and taught him an entire gender is worthy of his contempt.

It's not a small thing. We are writers here, we should watch our language. It's a positive thing to eliminate these kinds of references.







[QUOTE] Just my two bits. I'd really have to read your novel to understand the context. I don't like to automatically conclude IT'S RACIST, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, just a little. [/QUOTES]

Not to derail, but here is the scene description she commented on.

The Shadow Stalkers did not bother him as much, though, as what rode upon their backs, Raven Elves. They were shorter than humans and fairly thin. They wore leather jerkins and leggings; their exposed skin as black as coal. Their ears seemed overly large and pointed, while their heads were bald. Like the Shadow Stalkers, their eyes were a bright crimson-red. From their backs, leathery wings were folded in place so as not to hinder their movements. According to legends, their wings were more for gliding than flight.

The editors biggest issue was the black as coal description because of the current climate of publishing. I suppose I could change to ebony black, obsidian black, or other, but coal black to me is dull and non reflective, which was the image I wanted. It never dawned on me that anyone would look at it as I am stereotyping PoC.

I probably wouldn't have made the connection myself, but I'm white and have for most of my life lived in areas of 99% white populations. With it pointed out, I can see how this could come across as negative (for the reasons I outlined to Rex. Not deliberate, just ingrained). I think it's the combination of black skin and bald heads. If you began the description and established a different, stronger, image up front, I probably wouldn't notice so much. Like - focus on the wings first, or the eyes?

Maybe describe them as black, like jet (ooooo-oooo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-oooo JET!). It's black (natch) but has a satin finish, rather than shiny. It fossilised something-or-other, was used for Victorian mourning jewellery and comes from Whitby.

missesdash
07-30-2012, 01:03 PM
Sorry, I didn't see that post. Plus she's written about the novel and her motivations so extensively, her explanations naturally come up. But it's easy enough to avoid. I'm concerned about people downloading PDF versions to rip the book apart. I guess they don't want to pay/support the author but want to be able to discuss the content.

Alessandra Kelley
07-30-2012, 01:16 PM
The problem Rex is, because of the things which have been done in the past, our language is shaped in ways which are now casually offensive. I'm going to explain in the context of sexism, because I feel more able to make myself clear.

He throws like a girl.
Big girl's blouse.
I don't want to do that, it's for girls.
Calling somebody "sweetie" to be sarcastic.

Innocuous phrases? No. They are phrases which make clear that being a girl is something negative, that to be compared to a woman is a bad thing.

Women can dress like men, but for a man to dress like a woman is demeaning, because being a woman is demeaning (to paraphrase Ian McEwan).

Watch an 8 year-old boy pull a face of disgust when it's suggested he spend time with an 8 year-old girl and declare he hates girls. Our society has taken an 8 year-old and taught him an entire gender is worthy of his contempt.

It's not a small thing. We are writers here, we should watch our language. It's a positive thing to eliminate these kinds of references.




I probably wouldn't have made the connection myself, but I'm white and have for most of my life lived in areas of 99% white populations. With it pointed out, I can see how this could come across as negative (for the reasons I outlined to Rex. Not deliberate, just ingrained). I think it's the combination of black skin and bald heads. If you began the description and established a different, stronger, image up front, I probably wouldn't notice so much. Like - focus on the wings first, or the eyes?

Maybe describe them as black, like jet (ooooo-oooo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-oooo JET!). It's black (natch) but has a satin finish, rather than shiny. It fossilised something-or-other, was used for Victorian mourning jewellery and comes from Whitby.

Jet is a form of coal, as I understand it. It's compressed fossilized wood, and lightweight, which is why they could have gigantic jet earrings.

missesdash
07-30-2012, 01:21 PM
I don't think coal is actually a racial slur. It's more one of the things *very* dark skin people get called disparagingly. No one would call Obama "coal." To me, for something to be a racial slur, it should be able to be used against all people of an ethnic group, regardless of class or appearance.

RedRajah
07-30-2012, 06:06 PM
I note that I can for $5.00 U.S. purchase a glowing 5 star review for any book I want; I can even write said review myself.

I further note that you if read a lot of five star Amazon reviews of self-published books you soon start seeing the same phrases repeatedly. And then if you google that phrase you can, shockingly, find reviews that are astonishingly similar.

I'm sure it's a miracle. That must be the explanation.

*vacant stare and flat tone*

"I loved it. It was better than Cats."

Persei
07-30-2012, 06:42 PM
I read the first six chapters or so and along with being brilliantly written it is really a not-so-clever piece of reverse reverse racism (racismception).

YA novels just found a new rock bottom.

Katrina S. Forest
07-30-2012, 06:47 PM
I've read about it in mainstream sources, I would say it was reasonably well known.

I hope the mainstream sources are at least noting that it's self-published. It makes a big difference whether you're talking about one person's misjudgement or that of an entire group of people who are supposed to know the book business and care about what sort of image their products are putting out.

scottken
07-30-2012, 07:25 PM
One of the best reviews of the book's failed premise I found so far is on Spacehawk's livejournal (publisher of the magazine Expanded Horizons), explains how reverse-discrimination stories are not allowed per their submission guidelines (http://spacehawk.livejournal.com/861602.html). She says it far better than I could:


I think you can learn a lot about a culture not only from what gets published, but also from what doesn't -- which people are nonetheless trying to publish.

My magazine continues to receive stories with plots like this, even though we tell authors not to send them. We have, for example, this guideline, which is less a "guideline" and more of a "no really, don't send us this crap" rule:

We do not publish “reverse discrimination” stories. ”Reverse discrimination” stories are single issue stories that follow a predictable premise: what if [privileged real life group] was actually discriminated against/oppressed/un-privileged? Examples: what if most of society was gay, and straight people were the discriminated minority? What if most male babies were killed and men were kept just for breeding? What if everyone was intersex, and cis-sexual people were considered “freaks”? Etc. Not only are these “single issue” stories about discrimination (usually by authors with no real life experience with the forms of discrimination described, it’s just made up), these stories do not further our mission of promoting the inclusion and representation of real life minorities in spec fic. In fact, these stories do exact the opposite — they pretend that privileged, majority authors can understand and write about the dis-privileged/minority/oppressed perspective if they just turn the tables in a simplistic, linear thought experiment. These stories also often frame the real-life oppressed people as the new oppressors: violent, insensitive, bigoted, etc. We believe the spec fic world does not need more “Poor oppressed men! Poor oppressed straight people! etc.” stories. These stories only marginalize already marginalized people even more. Please let minority/dis-privileged authors speak for themselves. (emphasis in original)

These stories are a dime a dozen. I've seen it with LGBT issues, with racial issues, with gender issues, and with other axes of identity. The concept is not new, not creative, not original, not fresh, and not clever. For any axis of real-world privilege, there are sci fi authors (and would-be authors) who think they are so clever for making themselves (as real-world privileged people) the "new oppressed people, oh woe is us!"

#privilegefantasy, #seenthismoviebefore

The sad truth is that this is the status quo of the slush pile, even for a magazine that explicitly demands that these stories not be sent to it. Usually, in my opinion, the authors are not explicitly setting out to be -ist, but they really misunderstand very basic things about How Oppression Works, and it shows, and it hurts

Libbie
07-30-2012, 07:36 PM
I don't think coal is actually a racial slur. It's more one of the things *very* dark skin people get called disparagingly.

Which would make it...a slur. Who cares if it's only some people within an ethnic group who get called that particular word? If it's being used to denigrate somebody because of their ethnicity, it's a racial slur.

All that aside, though, I don't understand why no one can ever use the term "coal-black" to describe something that's a matte black because the word "coal" is also used as a racial slur. Coal is an object, pretty darn common, that many readers can immediately relate another object's appearance to if it's described as coal-black. Describing shoes or a book's cover or whatever as coal-black...I guess I don't see how that's as offensive as referring to a PERSON (as in this book) as a Coal. I realize this is probably my white privilege talking. I'm trying to understand the difference better so I don't accidentally write something that will offend.

Let me see if I can try to clarify the difficulty I'm having in understanding the difference: I see calling a person "coal" as extremely offensive. I don't understand why "coal-black" as an object descriptor offends, because coal is always the word that's been used for this substance. It's not a word that was invented to segregate or harm people, although it has been co-opted for that use in addition to its still-legitimate use to name that stuff we burn for energy. I can understand why describing, say, a pair of shoes as "pickaninny-black" would be very offensive -- not only does it use an established slur, a word that can only be taken as offensive, but it lowers an entire ethnicity of people to a mere object descriptor, thus dehumanizing them even further, as if the word itself weren't bad enough. I guess I am not understanding why it's not okay to use one object to compare another object. Object to compare human being, I see the offense in that. Terrible word for a human being to compare object, I see the offense there, too. I guess I'm not understanding what it is about "coal" as a mere word that makes it de facto offensive in all adjectival uses.

Can anybody help me understand this better? I really want to understand this. I'd be mortified if I accidentally wrote something that could be taken as an offense to people.

aruna
07-30-2012, 07:46 PM
One of the best reviews of the book's failed premise I found so far is on Spacehawk's livejournal (publisher of the magazine Expanded Horizons), explains how reverse-discrimination stories are not allowed per their submission guidelines (http://spacehawk.livejournal.com/861602.html). She says it far better than I could:

.


Great post! Thanks!

Alessandra Kelley
07-30-2012, 07:47 PM
I hope the mainstream sources are at least noting that it's self-published. It makes a big difference whether you're talking about one person's misjudgement or that of an entire group of people who are supposed to know the book business and care about what sort of image their products are putting out.

It's not obvious that it's self-published. The publisher's site (http://www.sanddollarpress.com/) goes out of its way to obscure that. It implies it has other books (which don't exist) and uses a corporate "we."

Sand Dollar Press, Inc. is an independent publisher of fiction for young adults and women. We specialize in quality novels in the areas of science fiction, mystery and romance.

Medievalist noted that its ISBN betrays it as a self-published book.

One would have to dig a little to discover that it is self-published.

Mayfield
07-30-2012, 07:59 PM
Libbie, I certainly don't think "coal-black" as a color descriptor is offensive in and of itself...I think it's when the term is used as a way to emphasize how evil/ugly/menacing something is that it has the ability to make people feel uncomfortable due historical negative associations of the phrase with skin color. So, "I bought a pair of coal-black shoes" is fine. But "They were ugliest shoes I'd ever seen. Coal black and filthy. I wouldn't be caught dead in trash like that." might be taken to have a certain racial subtext. I hope that makes sense!

aruna
07-30-2012, 08:08 PM
Can anybody help me understand this better? I really want to understand this. I'd be mortified if I accidentally wrote something that could be taken as an offense to people.

Hi Libbie,
I'm not sure if I'm the right one to aswer this because I don't really ever get offended by racial slurs -- I used to get hurt by them, then I got angry by them, and now I just want to give the person who uses them deliberately a good slap shake and tell them to wake up and smell the coffee. A person who used coal-black as a description of a flying monkey -- wouldn't bother me, even if that monkey were evil. I understand that some people would be bothered, though. Not even using some food names (coffee, caramel) to describe skin colour bothers me -- for instance, in Guyana a common adjective for brown skin is "sapodilla brown". I am sapodilla brown. Sapodilla is a delicious fruit, and its colour is exactly right for many of us. I would certainly use it in Guyana. If I knew my book was to be published in the US and that AA's are offended by fruit names -- well, I would think twice. But it would be a shame, because it is such a gorgeous word! This is sapodilla-brown. (http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tropicalfruitnursery.com/sapodilla/images/Alano-Sapodilla.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.tropicalfruitnursery.com/sapodilla/pages/Alano-Sapodilla.htm&h=367&w=550&sz=30&tbnid=Cz-itylvcqTzQM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&zoom=1&usg=__tpnhWC499Z8BpofMuETC4qHN-tk=&docid=Q8aknsl259TI-M&sa=X&ei=EKcWUIts68_hBPy-gbAB&ved=0CGYQ9QEwAg&dur=3211)

To me, the Coal vs Pearl thing is so obvious I would indeed like to give VF a slap shake. It isn't even a metaphor. It's a blatant, in-your-face, mind-boggingly literal value allocation. Even a child could interpret the meaning. Give a three year old the choice between playing with coal and pearls -- and, well she'll pick the coal, because it's so wonderfully dirty! (This happened to me when I was baby-sitting my best friend's daughter once -- she was sleeping in a room with a coal-burning (but cold) stove, woke up, opened the stove, removed several handfulls of soot, and when I next saw her she was indeed -- in blackface!) (Soot -- now that's another name VF could have called the Coals!)

So I don't know what to tell you. Taking offence is a very subjective matter. I would not want to hurt anyone's feelings, but you never know and I think as writers if we are sensitive and caring we WILL get it mostly right, without having to walk on eggshells or lay each word on a gold scale. I think responsible writers need not worry too much. Trust your good sense. Listen to what feels right. I think you'll do OK -- by the very fact that you asked.

I wonder how many POC VF asked to beta-read her book?

Libbie
07-30-2012, 08:38 PM
Thanks, Mayfield and Aruna!

Katrina S. Forest
07-30-2012, 09:45 PM
It's not obvious that it's self-published. The publisher's site (http://www.sanddollarpress.com/) goes out of its way to obscure that. It implies it has other books (which don't exist) and uses a corporate "we."

Medievalist noted that its ISBN betrays it as a self-published book.

One would have to dig a little to discover that it is self-published.

Ah, I missed that the first read-through. Thanks for clarifying.

missesdash
07-30-2012, 09:56 PM
Which would make it...a slur. Who cares if it's only some people within an ethnic group who get called that particular word? If it's being used to denigrate somebody because of their ethnicity, it's a racial slur.


Very dark skin isn't specific to any one ethnic group. There are a lot of things I wouldn't want to be called, that doesn't make the terms an ethnic slur.

I just think it's like calling "dog shit" a racial slur because it's not a "nice thing" and could be used to describe someone's skin color in an insulting way.

Has anyone actually heard another person use the term "coal" as a racial slur? (I'm actually curious.) and if so, in what country? Maybe this is a cultural thing I'm not aware of.

aruna
07-30-2012, 10:06 PM
When I was growing up in Guyana, it used to be a racial slur to call black people "green".

Mayfield
07-30-2012, 10:39 PM
misses, if you look up the term "coal black" in the urban dictionary, there are lots of examples of how "coal" is used as a derogatory racial term. It may be regional, though. I'm not sure.

Rachel Udin
07-30-2012, 11:27 PM
Sand Dollar Press's address leads to a Beauty Salon. That's rich. (There are no suites...)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/aveda-santa-monica

Anyone notice this? (And a poorly rated Beauty Salon, too)


I wonder how many POC VF asked to beta-read her book?
Combing through acknowledgments. Not mentioning names in order to protect from fan rage, because I don't think it was 100% their responsibility or even their responsibility at all. Benefit of the doubt here. Just answering the question.

First writer mentioned: White. Writes Bible Belt stuff with white actors (You can see videos online) Probably the correct person.

The second writer that urged her forward... white... and it explains how Foyt got the address on the Beauty Salon. (Though it irks me that she's from a diverse part of CA... Oh well, city living doesn't always educate opinions.) I also can guess she's the one that referred her friend to the place that put the book together. (Has self-published book. Honest about it.)

Third name I have to wonder if it's a lie or not since she's mentioned to be a big shot agent by basic Google search. I'm hoping it's a lie. Also white. (Maybe she sent the manuscript and it ended up on the reject pile with comments? Never know. I rather give benefit of the doubt.)

I don't believe the fourth name on the list either, but what do I know. BTW, also white. Came up on Google. Director. Would fit with her claim she's an actress.

Fifth name... actress... white. Don't know if I should believe that or not either.

Family, white and white.

And then the artist.... not sure. I doubt it's the first hit on Google. The person mentioned there is too PoC sensitive... I can't find the name in conjunction with anything other than that specific book and that press that actually put the book together. Which is just odd as anything. Shouldn't he be doing other things with that company? Same with the other artist name.

So, by the names mentioned. No PoCs. Don't know beyond that. Arthur Golden, though, he consulted an expert on the subject matter and gave credit (though, granted, got sued for it.) So I can't see how mentioning all those people, real acknowledgments or not that she wouldn't think to include a PoC.

The whole false address thing, though makes me question her acknowledgments... and the whole trying to front another company as doing the work of another company on the copyright page... it makes me raise an eyebrow at least. Oh and she lied about the awards/reviews.... or that's what another person who filtered through the "reviews" said. I don't begrudge self-published. Not for me, particularly. However, I do begrudge lying.

Libbie
07-30-2012, 11:49 PM
misses, if you look up the term "coal black" in the urban dictionary, there are lots of examples of how "coal" is used as a derogatory racial term. It may be regional, though. I'm not sure.

I'm not doubting that it's used as a derogatory term when applied to people. Surely it is in that context. I was asking why it's still considered offensive when applied to inanimate objects (or if it is.)

aruna
07-30-2012, 11:55 PM
@Rachel: wow, thanks for the research!

I think when writng such obviously sensitive stuff, the first thing one should do as a writer would be to ensure that it is OK's be people who might be affected!

When I write about India --a country I love, but which is not my own -- I am particular about getting Indians to read through it to keep out the gaffes I'm sure to make.

DarthPanda
07-30-2012, 11:57 PM
All that aside, though, I don't understand why no one can ever use the term "coal-black" to describe something that's a matte black because the word "coal" is also used as a racial slur
...I guess I don't see how that's as offensive as referring to a PERSON (as in this book) as a Coal. I realize this is probably my white privilege talking. I'm trying to understand the difference better so I don't accidentally write something that will offend.
...
Can anybody help me understand this better? I really want to understand this. I'd be mortified if I accidentally wrote something that could be taken as an offense to people.

Describing inanimate objects or animals as coal (or raisin or chocolate) colored isn't offensive. :Shrug: I know "charcoal" is one of the check-box color options on many veterinary forms I've filled out. I mean, you can't degrade or obecjtify a pair of boots or a cat by comparing it to a lump of coal or a dessert food.

Otherwise, SO much depends on context. Most analogies for skin color aren't always offensive in and of themselves. They need a history of disparaging use or an otherwise offensive context. For example, food decriptions are much-maligned because 1. they're way overdone, and 2. they're most often used by white authors in an exoticizing way. Like, if an author doesn't bother describing the tone of the white characters' skins, but the first PoC mentioned will be her skin was the exact shade of a Starbucks double mocha latte with cinnamon freckles and a dollop of non-dairy whipped topping... or whatever. Like white is default/plain, and everything else is flavored. In cases like that, the associations are positive, but still racist because of the color=flavor implication. Really though, unless it's a flowery romance novel where even the dimples of the hero/ine's buttcheeks are likened to the thumbprints of angels upon velvety mounds of cookie dough, there's probably no reason to describe in detail the exact paint-sample hue of any character's skin. Especially for minor characters.

tl;dr: Describing boots and birds as coal-black is cool; not so for people.

backslashbaby
07-31-2012, 12:23 AM
Very dark skin isn't specific to any one ethnic group. There are a lot of things I wouldn't want to be called, that doesn't make the terms an ethnic slur.

I just think it's like calling "dog shit" a racial slur because it's not a "nice thing" and could be used to describe someone's skin color in an insulting way.

Has anyone actually heard another person use the term "coal" as a racial slur? (I'm actually curious.) and if so, in what country? Maybe this is a cultural thing I'm not aware of.

Zwarte Piet was my first thought when I heard coal.

Cyia
07-31-2012, 12:37 AM
Out of curiosity, would "kohl" have the same negative connotation? Obviously, there's no way to differentiate the words when spoken, but in print, kohl is nothing like coal in use or value. Kohl is used for beauty rather than to insinuate something's dirty.

I can't imagine describing someone as having kohl skin (I usually used sepia or umber colors), but I'm curious.

Xelebes
07-31-2012, 12:43 AM
Out of curiosity, would "kohl" have the same negative connotation? Obviously, there's no way to differentiate the words when spoken, but in print, kohl is nothing like coal in use or value. Kohl is used for beauty rather than to insinuate something's dirty.

I can't imagine describing someone as having kohl skin (I usually used sepia or umber colors), but I'm curious.

Without turning to the dictionary, I have no idea what kohl is. Probably the same as using the term "jet black."

Rachel Udin
07-31-2012, 12:51 AM
Out of curiosity, would "kohl" have the same negative connotation? Obviously, there's no way to differentiate the words when spoken, but in print, kohl is nothing like coal in use or value. Kohl is used for beauty rather than to insinuate something's dirty.

I can't imagine describing someone as having kohl skin (I usually used sepia or umber colors), but I'm curious.
I'd have more trouble with it from a usage standpoint. Kohl is eye liner for under the eye. The context in terms of using it as a color descriptor is odd 'cause such things come in other colors and it's an object more than a color.

Why can't we go simply with "black" and leave it? I usually only specify the shade when it'll add something to the world building around the character.

For example, I used mahogany for eyes, not only because I like the term, but because it 1. refers to eyes--there won't be political upheaval over eyes. 2. it builds on the fact that Indians have a variety of eye colors (and so do modern-day Koreans, BTW--which is another reason. Range in different color browns to black) 3. India has that wood in the country, so it's a subtle way to build a picture. I looked it up.

On a more personal level, I also associate the word with warmth. The smooth m to an open a to a soft h with an open o... harder g to an open a... (But that's my weird sense of linguistics at play.)

KISS is sometimes just the best way to go, in writing and in politics. White, black, tan, brown, dark brown. If you deviate, have a good reason to.

zahra
07-31-2012, 12:53 AM
Describing inanimate objects or animals as coal (or raisin or chocolate) colored isn't offensive. :Shrug: I know "charcoal" is one of the check-box color options on many veterinary forms I've filled out. I mean, you can't degrade or obecjtify a pair of boots or a cat by comparing it to a lump of coal or a dessert food.

Otherwise, SO much depends on context. Most analogies for skin color aren't always offensive in and of themselves. They need a history of disparaging use or an otherwise offensive context. For example, food decriptions are much-maligned because 1. they're way overdone, and 2. they're most often used by white authors in an exoticizing way. Like, if an author doesn't bother describing the tone of the white characters' skins, but the first PoC mentioned will be her skin was the exact shade of a Starbucks double mocha latte with cinnamon freckles and a dollop of non-dairy whipped topping... or whatever. Like white is default/plain, and everything else is flavored. In cases like that, the associations are positive, but still racist because of the color=flavor implication. Really though, unless it's a flowery romance novel where even the dimples of the hero/ine's buttcheeks are likened to the thumbprints of angels upon velvety mounds of cookie dough, there's probably no reason to describe in detail the exact paint-sample hue of any character's skin. Especially for minor characters.

tl;dr: Describing boots and birds as coal-black is cool; not so for people.
Re the skin-colour descriptions: I also find that white authors especially indulge in this as a way of making sure readers know the sexy female is not TOO black. It's always 'caramel' rather than 'liquorice'! And there's the possible agenda of coaxing white readers who might not think of black people as attractive by linking their skin to something tasty and inoffensive.

missesdash
07-31-2012, 01:01 AM
Type any color into google image search and you'll see why it's more effective to make a comparison than to simply say brown. Specificity.

Rufus Coppertop
07-31-2012, 03:15 AM
Has anyone actually heard another person use the term "coal" as a racial slur? (I'm actually curious.) and if so, in what country? Maybe this is a cultural thing I'm not aware of.

I haven't but I have heard a friend of mine who's a fellow white Aussie psych' nurse describe an African nurse he was working with as being easy going and friendly, with skin as black as coal, a nice smile and a mellow accent who's a really cool guy to work with.

I absolutely guarantee that he didn't think this nurse's skin was ugly or wrong in any way.

Cyia
07-31-2012, 04:16 AM
Type any color into google image search and you'll see why it's more effective to make a comparison than to simply say brown. Specificity.


The lack of specificity is how those who objected to a black Rue in the Hunger Games explained their confusion.

Unimportant
07-31-2012, 04:21 AM
The lack of specificity is how those who objected to a black Rue in the Hunger Games explained their confusion.
True. There is a subset of readers for whom white is the default assumption to such an extreme that describing a character as having brown skin, dark eyes, and black hair isn't enough. They'll still imagine a brunette Caucasian with a tan.

However, it's possible that such readers, if confronted with a more specific description (black skin! Really really black! As black as a black thing on a black day, only blacker! Also, naturally textured hair! Dreadlocks, even! Got it yet?) would have a knee-jerk reaction and put the book down because they don't want to read about a 'good' character who isn't white.

piano_island
07-31-2012, 05:31 AM
Very dark skin isn't specific to any one ethnic group. There are a lot of things I wouldn't want to be called, that doesn't make the terms an ethnic slur.

I just think it's like calling "dog shit" a racial slur because it's not a "nice thing" and could be used to describe someone's skin color in an insulting way.

Has anyone actually heard another person use the term "coal" as a racial slur? (I'm actually curious.) and if so, in what country? Maybe this is a cultural thing I'm not aware of.

Seriously? You don't think that using the word "coal" to describe one set of people and using "pearl" to describe another set of people is a problem? It's an implied insult.

When speaking in terms of monetary value which would a person view as being "of more worth and value"? Exactly.

It doesn't matter if it wasn't previously used as a racial or ethnic slur. And the argument that one person wasn't offended by it when a cousin's sister's aunt's next door neighbor wasn't offended by it is invalid as well as insensitive.

Rachel Udin
07-31-2012, 05:43 AM
Type any color into google image search and you'll see why it's more effective to make a comparison than to simply say brown. Specificity.
Gotta ask you the reverse question to play devil's advocate here.

Do you feel the same need to be specific when it comes to describing a white character's skin tone?

Ivory, cream, beige, corn silk, old lace, linen, Antique white, champagne, eggshell, bone, vanilla, Navajo white, ecru?

You need to do that in reverse?

In Hundred Thousand Kingdom, NK Jemisin mentions that her character's skin tone is brown and *leaves* it. She then uses other cues to help that picture along. (Like using a map of a Mayan, I believe, city.) This is not set on Earth either, but it's kind of obvious because she compares skin tones, cultural backgrounds, etc. In another words, she doesn't rely 100% on character physical description.

I think there is a certain point that people will refuse, no matter how many times you try to make it obvious that the character is not white. And you can't help them.

While it does help to have a cover like this: http://msagarawest.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/southern-lge-1-broken.jpg or this
http://michellesagara.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/southern-lge-3-shining.jpg

Or even this: http://www.glassonion.com/catalog/images/large_sarra.jpg

I kinda got by the fact that they kept it simple that the skin color was not white. Melanie Rawn did it several times by contrasting the stark white hair hair with the skin, by making a point that the most important thing in the book by then was not skin color, but by ranking of the bloodlines.

But I'm sure despite those constant reminders people will simply refuse. And if you make a big exception to skin color in PoCs, then will you make a big exception to white skin colors too? You gotta play an even card.

and tan=/=brown. O.o; If you are white and turned brown, not bronze or tan, there are some issues. At that point, I'd give up on the reader. They are stuck.

So yeah, KISS it, and use other cues besides physical description.

Libbie
07-31-2012, 09:40 AM
Really though, unless it's a flowery romance novel where even the dimples of the hero/ine's buttcheeks are likened to the thumbprints of angels upon velvety mounds of cookie dough,

YOU HAVE BEEN WATCHING ME SHOWER.

Kitty27
07-31-2012, 09:56 AM
I've taken a deep breath and a shot of gin.

I am now somewhat calm.Forgive me for going in on Ms.Foyt. My emotions got that strong.

This book is disheartening to me. It just is. It is annoying beyond all heck to see POC's portrayed in such a way. Coal black is an insult in the South. It is NOT even said by Black people because it is often the rallying cry of colorists and used to hurt,especially towards Black women.
A very fine line has to be walked when describing skin tone,especially for Black characters. Dark or liquorice might STILL offend because and I am going to be blunt here,it comes from a white author,even though no such thing was intended. I could say it and would catch holy hell from some and I'm Black. But I am caramel colored so it would be interpreted as colorism from me because I'm lighter.

I know some of y'all are like well,damn. Blacks and our skin color politics can make a person's head hurt.

If you aren't from the US or the South,coal black wouldn't seem like a slur. But trust me,it is and would anger many. I politely suggest ebony as an acceptable alternative for anyone wanting to describe a character's skin tone. Especially White writers. Ebony is the safest route for y'all and don't EVER go on about it! Just write and keep it moving. That's my advice for the day.

As for this book,I hope it will quietly die away and the like never be seen again. It takes a very skilled and most importantly,respectful writer who has also done their research to handle this kind of subject matter. It is entirely too incendiary and hurtful to be handled in such a cavalier manner.

fireluxlou
07-31-2012, 11:31 AM
Wow I was on a reading kick yesterday so didn't comment but Victoria Foyt has voiced her word on the controversy around her book. I'm going to copy and paste the entire thing, in case anyone can't see it and in case she deletes it, because WOW:


Judging A Book By Its Cover Gives Birth To Racism

By Victoria Foyt

I would like to address the recent accusations of racism that have been aimed at my YA novel, Revealing Eden, Save The Pearls Part One.

Some have taken offense at the cover photo on the dust jacket of a blond, blue-eyed girl with her white face half covered in dark. Without reading the novel or understanding the premise, some believe that the photo shows the girl in “blackface.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
<snip>

http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePearls/posts/444346182255531

missesdash
07-31-2012, 12:04 PM
Seriously? You don't think that using the word "coal" to describe one set of people and using "pearl" to describe another set of people is a problem? It's an implied insult.

not what I said.


It doesn't matter if it wasn't previously used as a racial or ethnic slur. And the argument that one person wasn't offended by it when a cousin's sister's aunt's next door neighbor wasn't offended by it is invalid as well as insensitive.

Uh. It does if my discussion was about whether or not it's a previously used ethnic slur....


Gotta ask you the reverse question to play devil's advocate here.

Do you feel the same need to be specific when it comes to describing a white character's skin tone?

I don't need to. White is the default. I write minimally in that I only note that which is notable. Stating a character with red hair and green eyes has white skin is not notable. If she has deep bronze skin, that is certainly notable. If I had a white character with tightly curled black hair, I'd describe her skin color. That said, I write YA, so any non-white character's description is indeed notable.

I'm also not opposed to other indicators. That, to me, is part of a complete character profile. So ethnic last names, discussions of culture, all of that goes in as well. Ethnicity and culture aren't always simple (especially since I tend to write mixed race characters).To give a complete and thorough understanding, it sometimes requires a little more than black hair and the last name "Chang."

ETA: LOL at her reply. At least she apologized OH WAIT.

meowzbark
07-31-2012, 12:20 PM
Without turning to the dictionary, I have no idea what kohl is. Probably the same as using the term "jet black."

Kohl's (http://www.kohls.com/) is the first thing that pops up in my head...and on Google.

meowzbark
07-31-2012, 12:22 PM
not what I said.



Uh. It does if my discussion was about whether or not it's a previously used ethnic slur....



I don't need to. White is the default. I write minimally in that I only note that which is notable. Stating a character with red hair and green eyes has white skin is not notable. If she has deep bronze skin, that is certainly notable. If I had a white character with tightly curled black hair, I'd describe her skin color. That said, I write YA, so any non-white character's description is indeed notable.

I'm also not opposed to other indicators. That, to me, is part of a complete character profile. So ethnic last names, discussions of culture, all of that goes in as well. Ethnicity and culture aren't always simple (especially since I tend to write mixed race characters).To give a complete and thorough understanding, it sometimes requires a little more than black hair and the last name "Chang."

I would say to mention skin tone if its something the POV character would notice. If a story is based in China, then "white" skin would be notable. If its based in the hills of West Virginia, then "white" skin wouldn't be noticed.

Libbie
07-31-2012, 12:44 PM
Kitty, I have also felt really riled up over this book since I learned about it (I mean, it de-lurked me after months of rader silence on AW!) and can't seem to get over my dismay. It really got to me, too, and I have no idea what it's like to face generations and generations of cultural discrimination. I keep thinking about it and feeling profoundly disturbed.

I'm a person who has very fair skin, who is, in fact, at a much higher risk than the average fair-skinned person for skin cancer, due to a number of factors. The author's explanation about melanin/skin cancer doesn't explain away the disturbing undertones I seem to detect in this book. I wear protective clothing whenever I'm in the sun and I haven't burned in years, despite being very active in the outdoors. It's hard to swallow a sci-fi society that can genetically engineer humans to change into "beasts" but can't master a tight-weave breathable fabric that can keep UV rays out, even with a depleted ozone. I can do that now with linen and cotton.

missesdash
07-31-2012, 01:14 PM
@Libbie yeah the fact that she continually says this is a very plausible scenario is kind of maddening.

aruna
07-31-2012, 04:09 PM
And if you ask if all these reviewers are white then consider that you have a racist point of view. Um, sorry, no, Ms Foyd. You're applying your White Privilege blinkers again. When we ask if any of your beta-readers or reviewers were POC, it's because we believe that White Privilege just might make a person blind for certain aspects of a story that are troubling and disrespectful, and actually reinforce racist attitudes.

aruna
07-31-2012, 04:24 PM
Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl.

Um, have you ever actually handled coal? It is very easily crushed to dust.


Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Not to your readers.

Cyia
07-31-2012, 04:33 PM
Kohl's (http://www.kohls.com/) is the first thing that pops up in my head...and on Google.

Kohl is an eyeliner, and one of the oldest cosmetics yet known. It's used today (more often as a color than as actual kohl), but is usually, historically associated with the queens of Egypt and "kohl-rimmed" eyes like the Eye of Horus with the thick line around the eye.

Kohl's is a department store that sells kohl eyeliner in its cosmetics dept. :D


And as for this (from the quoted blog entry upthread):

“The Heat” (basically, skin cancer)From savethepearls.com:


The Heat is caused by deadly, toxic levels of solar radiation. Its effects are horrific, resulting in a painful, tortuous death—imagine burning alive, from the inside out, for a week or two. This is not "basically skin cancer." Skin cancer doesn't burn someone alive from the inside out in a week or two.


ETA:


Um, have you ever actually handled coal? It is very easily crushed to dust.

Dust that, if inhaled, is toxic and causes horrific medical conditions. Check out coal-mining country and how not-healthy most of the miners are.

Dani
07-31-2012, 04:48 PM
Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Coals oppress Pearls because they fear that those with light skin will add to a population unable to survive The Heat, and drain meager resources.

I call b.s. on this. If coal was a "positive" term, than why in the first chapter does Eden hurl it at one of them like this "Take your hands off me, you Coal!" And then the character gasps like she just called someone the "n" word.

Eden also constantly refers to the ruling class as "them". Turning up her nose and calling a coworker "haughty" (another word for "uppity"). Does this sound like someone who admires and is in awe of the beauty of that ruling class that she so very much wants to be like?

Wisteria Vine
07-31-2012, 05:39 PM
The use of blackface presents a mockery or travesty of African Americans’ lives. Eden Newman wishes to “Great Earth” that she had dark skin, not because she wants to make fun of people with dark skin, but because she admires their status and is jealous of the genetic advantage they offer against “The Heat.”

Huh?

thebloodfiend
07-31-2012, 05:45 PM
I think I should just desubscribe from this thread before I say something fucked up about that woman.

evilrooster
07-31-2012, 05:46 PM
Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired.
Not to your readers.

Bingo.

Fiction, particularly speculative fiction, must deal with the tension between trying to tell a story in the voice and reality of the characters and trying to tell it in a way that its real-world readers will understand it.

You can't make up a world whose details are offensive in actual reality, and then defend it on the basis of its internal logic. Or rather, you certainly can, but until your readers are also from that reality, you have to make it also work in this society.

I once came up with a society where it made internal sense to reuse the bodies of the dead for leather and rawhide. Lots of plot and culture falls out of this. There could be a tradition of getting tattoos so that when your body is reused, your family can remember you by making something they use a lot from that bit of skin.

Reader reaction: eeeeeeeew.

So you know what? Even if it is a great idea, even if it's consistent and sensible and could be really useful in storytelling, I can't use it. Because the people reading the story matter too, and in their (our) culture, this is not OK.

aruna
07-31-2012, 06:12 PM
Slight derail: I've been checking out the reviews for Noughts and Crosses and think I wil give it a try -- I actually have this book somewhere, as it belonged to my daughter and was on my booksehlf or years -- sadly in storage somewhere now!

But I'm curious -- in the USA, the book's title is changed to Naughts and Crosses. Thought the meaning of "naughts" is certainly clear -- it kind of loses pn snappiness. Don't you guys play the game noughts and crosses? I know you say zero instead of nought, but don't you know the word? I wonder why the US publisher changed it?

Whatever - one good thing to come out of this is that she (Marjorie Blackman) will probably make some good sales from this, especially is she is not so well known in the USA.

Cyia
07-31-2012, 06:17 PM
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone over here who knows "nought" means zero. Some older servicemen used it, I think, or maybe it's generational. (The person I'm thinking of was a serviceman sixty years ago.) At best most would likely think you meant "naughty," as in misbehaving.

dolores haze
07-31-2012, 06:19 PM
Noughts and crosses is called Tic Tac Toe here.

aruna
07-31-2012, 07:55 PM
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone over here who knows "nought" means zero.


Really! I had no idea. Makes sense then, the title change.

Libbie
07-31-2012, 08:34 PM
Eden also constantly refers to the ruling class as "them". Turning up her nose and calling a coworker "haughty" (another word for "uppity"). Does this sound like someone who admires and is in awe of the beauty of that ruling class that she so very much wants to be like?

Exactly what I was thinking. If whites were so oppressed in this world she's made, why does her white character feel comfortable with commanding somebody from the ruling class to get her hands off her? And why doesn't she suffer any punishment for doing that? And why is she using a racial term to insult a member of the ruling class? And the part I quoted above. I don't think her explanations are meshing with the way readers are taking the book.

This could have been thought out better before she self-published it.

To say the least.

Anninyn
07-31-2012, 08:51 PM
I was discussing this with a follower of mine on twitter the other day. It made me feel really uncomfortable, the whole thing. I said then, and I'll say now, that changing around the opressed group with the opressors could shock people into realisation - but only in skilled hands. This feels a lot more like 'Evil black people want to rule white people' and it makes me feel really really squicky.

Cyia
07-31-2012, 09:05 PM
This could have been thought out better before she self-published it.

To say the least.

However, it's a pretty good illustration of what happens when a writer has a book, decides it's too controversial for mainstream publishing rather than realizing insensitivity/ignorance =/= controversy, and decides to put the book out as is.

Medievalist
07-31-2012, 09:32 PM
Don't you guys play the game noughts and crosses? I know you say zero instead of nought, but don't you know the word? I wonder why the US publisher changed it?

It's a dialect reserve, that is, an archaic word preserved in limited use in some dialects, and typically, only the older generations.

thothguard51
07-31-2012, 09:39 PM
Just my opinion, but it seems like very few self published authors really sit down and think about the value of their work as much as they do about where they can spam their book links, blog reviews and what their amazon ranking is...

I am still trying to figure out the award she won. I take it there were no judges who were also PoC...

Libbie
07-31-2012, 10:00 PM
Yeah, I can see your point. I guess it's all well and good to figure out a viral marketing campaign, but as we see here it can bite your career in the ass if you're not promoting a product that's worth promotion...whether it's due to the author's inherent ignorance or the fact that the book just plain sucks.

I self-published one book (and will probably self-publish some more; it's been an overall positive experience for me) and I've never even bothered to look at my book's Amazon rankings. I don't care. I don't give a crap what my rankings are; it's not a competition to me. I care about what my readers think, and that's slowly paying off for me. A good book trumps a bunch of spam. Or it should, in a universe that has any justice.

Not that I think this universe has any justice.

zahra
07-31-2012, 10:42 PM
Wow I was on a reading kick yesterday so didn't comment but Victoria Foyt has voiced her word on the controversy around her book. I'm going to copy and paste the entire thing, in case anyone can't see it and in case she deletes it, because WOW:



http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePearls/posts/444346182255531
OK, now I'm getting almost too angry to participate. Dismissing the concerns of people who not only read but also write and some of whom are also non-white, with nonsensical rhetoric and downright ignorance, and then to compound it with 'Happy reading'...!

I think I am going to continue this conversation with the bodies who have given this ....book awards.

RichardGarfinkle
07-31-2012, 10:44 PM
It's a dialect reserve, that is, an archaic word preserved in limited use in some dialects, and typically, only the older generations.

<Full bore totally off subject pedantic point of obscure interest>

Nought is actually used in a particular branch of mathematics.

The first transfinite cardinal number is designated with a capital aleph with a 0 subscript.

This is often read as "aleph nought"

</Full bore totally off subject pedantic point of obscure interest>

aruna
08-01-2012, 12:30 AM
Bingo.


I once came up with a society where it made internal sense to reuse the bodies of the dead for leather and rawhide. Lots of plot and culture falls out of this. There could be a tradition of getting tattoos so that when your body is reused, your family can remember you by making something they use a lot from that bit of skin.

Reader reaction: eeeeeeeew.

So you know what? Even if it is a great idea, even if it's consistent and sensible and could be really useful in storytelling, I can't use it. Because the people reading the story matter too, and in their (our) culture, this is not OK.



The thing is: no matter how great a writer you are. No matter how well you achieve that wonderful Willing Suspension of Disbelief necessary for brilliant fiction that transports you into the world of your characters and their peculiar reversed values, so that you actually believe...

Somewhere, deep inside, there's the Real Life You with your Real Life Values thinking, WOW! I'm a precious Pearl and those black dirty horrible evil Coals are so MEAN to me!

aruna
08-01-2012, 12:33 AM
It's a dialect reserve, that is, an archaic word preserved in limited use in some dialects, and typically, only the older generations.


:) Yeah, I guess I have aged myself with the question -- in school, we did learn to use the word Nought, and I don't know if they use Zero in today's Britain.
But the game Noughts and Crosses -- well, that hasn't changed.

scottken
08-01-2012, 12:41 AM
I think I am going to continue this conversation with the bodies who have given this ....book awards.

I doubt that would get you very far, as all those bodies are primarily concerned with selling services (publishing, publicity, and awards) to new writers. It's really evident when you look at the large quanity of awards/honorable mentions these contests give out each year. Each contest also charges a hefty entrance fee.

Here are the stats on the four entities that gave awards/honorable mentions to Save the Pearls:

Eric Hoffer Award
Entry fee: $50
Number of awards given in year of SavethePearls: 112
Parent company: Hopewell Publications
Primary business: Selling publishing services to new writers
URL: http://www.hofferaward.com/
Additional info: per a Jan 2012 column by the founder of the Hoffer Award Christopher Klim (http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/?Tag=Eric%20Hoffer%20Award), it accepts 1000 entries annually. Doing the math (1000/112), that means if you enter this contest, you've got roughly 1 in 10 chance of having an award or honorable mention to use to promote your book. Contest revenue: 1000 x $50 = $50,000. Cash prizes given: $2,500. Other companies that seem to promote this award (US Review of Books, Infinity Publishing, Best New Writing) are all part of Hopewell Publications,

Books and Authors
Entry fee: $50
Number of awards given in year of SavethePearls: 31
Parent company: John Weaver, who specializes in book marketing (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-weaver/9/6a4/4a6); domain registration here (http://www.serversummary.com/books-and-authors.net/whois-information/)
Primary business: selling publicity to new writers
URL: http://www.books-and-authors.net/Contests.html
Additional Info: Site is registered under "Page One Literary Newsletter" and includes links to such. Many of the articles on the site seem to date from 2007-2008. Various rankings sites list the site as having 79 visitors a day (http://widestat.com/books-and-authors.net)or a mere 15 (http://domainsigma.com/whois/books-and-authors.net). There's an internet discussion between Weaver and others regarding a client dispute on the writers weekly forums (http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3893). Writer Beware search didn't turn up anything of note on Weaver, so perhaps of all Savethepearls awards this one is the most legitimate. It is, however, bestowed by a little-visited website with outdated web design and links.

San Francisco Book Festival
Entry fee: $50
Number of awards given in year of SavethePearls: 191
Parent company: JM Northern Media LLC
Primary business: creating online contests/media events like this one
URL: http://www.sanfranciscobookfestival.com/index.html

Los Angeles Book Festival
Entry Fee: $50
Number of awards given in year of SavethePearls: 130
Parent company: JM Northern Media LLC
Primary business: creating online contests/media events like this one
URL: http://www.losangelesbookfestival.com/

These last two "Book Festivals" are especially egregious. If you click on the their links, on the upper right is a link for "multiple entries." That lets you enter all 15 of the contests run by JM Northern Media LLC (at $50 per entry) for $775 ~$697 (you get a 10% discount!) with one easy submission. As opposed to most book festivals, which involve stalls of books that people peruse, there don't appear to be any actual festivals associated with these events. They simply rent a hotel room to give out the "awards."

aruna
08-01-2012, 12:55 AM
wow. i think I missed a trick with my book marketing... not.

Cyia
08-01-2012, 02:11 AM
:) Yeah, I guess I have aged myself with the question -- in school, we did learn to use the word Nought, and I don't know if they use Zero in today's Britain.
But the game Noughts and Crosses -- well, that hasn't changed.


There is actually a variation of it used in the US, but it's gun related. The 30-06 is most often called a "thirty-aught-six." Even though the "n" is missing, it's a pretty obvios correlation between aught and naught both meaning zero.

Xelebes
08-01-2012, 02:51 AM
Aught is more likely to be used here than nought. The only use of nought in common speech (not in set theory) is the Aught-noughts (The years 2000-2009.)

mccardey
08-01-2012, 02:59 AM
It's a dialect reserve, that is, an archaic word preserved in limited use in some dialects, and typically, only the older generations.

*sigh*

I say it.

So do my friends. :granny:

kuwisdelu
08-01-2012, 03:34 AM
<Full bore totally off subject pedantic point of obscure interest>

Nought is actually used in a particular branch of mathematics.

The first transfinite cardinal number is designated with a capital aleph with a 0 subscript.

This is often read as "aleph nought"

</Full bore totally off subject pedantic point of obscure interest>

This is also how I know nought.

thothguard51
08-01-2012, 03:37 AM
Are any of the awards nationally recognized? None that I have heard of, but I live on the right coast, ahhh, I mean the east coast...

Rachel Udin
08-01-2012, 04:48 AM
On Skin Cancer...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5219752.stm

Making a question rather than a statement... doesn't *lighter* skintone have to do with the ability to make Vitamin D? Or is that a lie that was fed to me?

Cyia
08-01-2012, 05:04 AM
On Skin Cancer...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5219752.stm

Making a question rather than a statement... doesn't *lighter* skintone have to do with the ability to make Vitamin D? Or is that a lie that was fed to me?

I've heard that lighter skin means higher vitamin D production, but honestly, I don't know. "Tips" like that seem to change as often as the list of foods that will cause cancer.

I'm extremely fair - like a 001 cosmetics "alabaster" fair - and I can tell you from experience that the sun makes me sick. I burn in a matter of minutes, but even before that, I start to feel physically ill in direct sunlight. (And despite the author's insistence, using tanners or bronzers to mimic/create a fake tan has absolutely NO effect on this. Clear sunscreen, however, does.)

Sage
08-01-2012, 05:22 AM
I knew what "nought" meant and I guessed that noughts and crosses was tic-tac-toe from the book's images. Even for those who don't know, the book makes it pretty clear that nought is synonymous with zero, blank, nothing, and that Cross (which is capitalized while nought isn't) is related to religion.

Yes, I did start reading N&C yesterday because of this thread :D

Maramoser
08-01-2012, 06:46 AM
On Skin Cancer...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5219752.stm

Making a question rather than a statement... doesn't *lighter* skintone have to do with the ability to make Vitamin D? Or is that a lie that was fed to me?

The literature agrees with you:

"People with a naturally dark skin tone have natural sun protection and require at least three to five times longer exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D as a person with a white skin tone."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/?tool=pubmed

(haven't fully scoped out the article but it's recent/looks legit)

In theory migration to northern/less sunny climates was a factor in the evolution of light skin tone because Vitamin D is good, yo.

Anyways, bio nerd backing out now...

Loved Noughts & Crosses! I still choose to believe Revealing Eden is a massive trolling effort, but I guess I give it props for sparking all the lively discussions here and on Tumblr about why "reverse oppression" is a harmful storytelling tool in the wrong hands. I learn something every time!

Medievalist
08-01-2012, 07:00 AM
Aught is more likely to be used here than nought. The only use of nought in common speech (not in set theory) is the Aught-noughts (The years 2000-2009.)

My mother who worked as a switch-board operator was taught to say nought instead of zero to reduce potential confusion with the letter O.

Xelebes
08-01-2012, 08:47 AM
My mother who worked as a switch-board operator was taught to say nought instead of zero to reduce potential confusion with the letter O.

And really, it flows off the tongue better than barking a zero.

Nought (or Aught), One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se'en, Eight, Nine.

meowzbark
08-01-2012, 08:50 AM
Referring to light-skin vs dark-skin in the sun, as brought up earlier in the thread:

My mother is extremely pale and will sunburned without protection. She has to wear long sleeves and pants in summer, hat, glasses, and sunblock. Even when she visited me in Arizona, she was covered from neck to feet. Her skin is incapable of tanning. She only burns. A few years ago she did get skin cancer on her face after a nasty sunburn and she's still struggling with the after effects - and she has permanent skin scarring on her face.

She isn't albino and I'm guessing it's her Irish heritage that made her so vulnerable to the sun. My father tanned easily so I luckily didn't inherit her problem. So although my mother could classify as having the "pearl" problem with the sun, most white people don't. I don't and I'm a white girl living in a state when the sun shines all but 10 days a year. I don't have to slather myself in sunblock when I leave the house...or black makeup like Eden in the story.

Pearls vs Coals...the more I think about it, the less plausible the story seems. I think you guys are right that she should of employed PoC to beta-read her story before publishing. It would of avoided this whole issue. It definitely opened my eyes with my racially-charged story (several Mexican characters and white/Mexican main character) to definitely get people of multiple cultures to read it before trying to publish.

aruna
08-01-2012, 08:56 AM
I've heard that lighter skin means higher vitamin D production, but honestly, I don't know. "Tips" like that seem to change as often as the list of foods that will cause cancer.


I've naturally dark skin, grew up in the tropics, been in the sun most of my childhood and youth, lived in India, and never once got sunburn. This year I bought sunblock for the first time but only used it once. Nobody (I mean, citizens) in Guyana or India uses it.

missesdash
08-01-2012, 01:16 PM
@Aruna I'm surprised you don't burn! Your skin is very fair (fair brown skin, if that makes sense). I burn, but only after a few hours unprotected. Just goes to show it's about more than tone. Undertones are also important I think? I have an Italian friend who is less likely to burn than me even though his skin is fair, it's olive.

Yorkist
08-01-2012, 02:16 PM
I guess it's all well and good to figure out a viral marketing campaign, but as we see here it can bite your career in the ass if you're not promoting a product that's worth promotion...whether it's due to the author's inherent ignorance or the fact that the book just plain sucks.

Sort of a tangent (and I agree with the general consensus here - what awfulness), but this isn't even real marketing or viral marketing. It's throwing a bunch of crap on the wall to see what sticks.

Hell, I've given at least three posters here tailored marketing advice in the last couple of months, and I was feeling all insecure about it and my impulse to do so, but... is this the current state of affairs? Artificial award systems and manufactured reviews? And people are charging for that shit?

Sorry for the derail, because I'm appalled by the cover and what I can gather of the text, but... business butthurt, y'all. This isn't marketing, on any level, so much as a scam.

Torgo
08-01-2012, 02:23 PM
Slight derail: I've been checking out the reviews for Noughts and Crosses and think I wil give it a try -- I actually have this book somewhere, as it belonged to my daughter and was on my booksehlf or years -- sadly in storage somewhere now!

Noughts and Crosses is absolutely cracking, by the way, and Malorie is lovely. She's a bit of a national treasure.

Mr Flibble
08-01-2012, 03:35 PM
Noughts and Crosses is absolutely cracking, by the way, and Malorie is lovely. She's a bit of a national treasure.


Good - I bought it a couple of days ago on the back of recommendations in these threads

aruna
08-01-2012, 04:09 PM
Whatever - one good thing to come out of this is that she (Marjorie Malorie Blackman) will probably make some good sales from this, especially is she is not so well known in the USA.

Sp. correction.

Noughts and Crosses is absolutely cracking, by the way, and Malorie is lovely. She's a bit of a national treasure.


Great! I htink I'll buy it again, as I'm not likely to be travelling to Eastbourne in the near future to unpack my boxes!

I'm glad if the fallout from this disaster is that a good book and author on and by POC gets more exposure, more sales -- and publishers will take note!

quicklime
08-01-2012, 06:43 PM
the more I read in this thread, the more amazed I am at the writer....


I shall now write a dystopian book where, due to low fertility rates, men must rape any women they see to maximize the odds of a new generation....then claim to be puzzled by all the women who don't see the hidden message of "family" in it.

seriously, what the fuck?! Even if you say she's just working the "stone" angle, whites are the only folks with any sort of valuable gemstone association, the others go from plain to outright "dirty", and it has "save the pearls" right on the cover, if I saw right. This just baffles me how she couldn't see that, and I tend to skew towards "Captain Oblivious" edges of the spectrum myself.

aruna
08-01-2012, 09:29 PM
seriously, what the fuck?! Even if you say she's just working the "stone" angle, whites are the only folks with any sort of valuable gemstone association, the others go from plain to outright "dirty", and it has "save the pearls" right on the cover, if I saw right. This just baffles me how she couldn't see that, and I tend to skew towards "Captain Oblivious" edges of the spectrum myself.


She gives as an explanation that in this dystopian world, coal is very valuable and pearls are just baubles.

1. I am wondering, and I hope that someone who has read the book can answer this, whether she actually gives this explanation in the story itself?

Because I have the sneaking suspicion that she got that "explanation" form this very thread. Rex suggested that very thing way, way back (July 27th): (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7472825&postcount=74)



The writing quality points raised in this thread aside, I'm not sure I'm seeing maliciousness here. I'd have to read the book to make any kind of judgement over the "pearl" versus "coal" thing. In a post-apocalyptic world, coal might be more valuable than a pearl could ever hope to be. Coal would offer fire and an energy source. A pearl might be nothing more than decoration in the author's fictional world. It would depend on how she used it, imo.


Compare with VF's explanation, two days ago (July 30th) :



Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired.I think somebody has been lurking here! :)

2. If coal is indeed so very valuable, why then do we have this paragraph: (http://sillysummaries.tumblr.com/post/28154787661/revealing-eden-by-victoria-foyt)


”Ashina jumped up and grabbed Eden’s lab coat. “Are you calling me a liar?”
Eden flinched. One of them was touching her. White-hot light exploded in her head. Before she knew it, she blurted out an incendiary racial slur.
“Get your hands off of me, you damn Coal!””
.

Persei
08-01-2012, 09:36 PM
Because nothing makes sense. That is why.

Katrina S. Forest
08-01-2012, 09:49 PM
I'm glad if the fallout from this disaster is that a good book and author on and by POC gets more exposure, more sales -- and publishers will take note!

It is actually one of the first recommended books that shows up on Amazon if you view Save the Pearls.

I admit, I'd never heard of it before this and it certainly caught my interest.

Libbie
08-02-2012, 12:59 AM
Just a quick point about the awards and their entry fees. The Pulitzer Prize charges a $50 entry fee, and anybody can enter. The mere fact of an entry fee doesn't mean that the awards are hokey, and $50 is not an outrageous cost for a literary award.

I'm not saying the awards this book allegedly won are not hokey. I'm only saying their entry fees don't denote hokiness.

Medievalist
08-02-2012, 01:05 AM
OY!

A reminder. Deal with the text, not with the writer.

crunchyblanket
08-02-2012, 01:17 AM
Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired.Bollocks. Pearls are rare, valuable, precious, prized for their beauty and fineness and treasured as something special. Coal is ten a penny, dirty, ugly, good only as a tool. Trying to wiggle out of that is disingenuous as hell.

Cyia
08-02-2012, 01:26 AM
Bollocks. Pearls are rare, valuable, precious, prized for their beauty and fineness and treasured as something special. Coal is ten a penny, dirty, ugly, good only as a tool. Trying to wiggle out of that is disingenuous as hell.


Not to mention that in a scenario with an overabundance of "heat" killing people, and in a world with high-tech scientific gene splicing equipment (which implies greater energy sources) coal isn't exactly a necessity.

AnneMarble
08-02-2012, 05:39 AM
@Libbie yeah the fact that she continually says this is a very plausible scenario is kind of maddening.

Yup. Now I've come across some YA dystopia with over-the-top premises. But this one really takes the cake. It's one thing to try to make the reader believe that a future society banned love, or that evil scientists unleashed a virus that devastated the earth. But this one seems to have even bigger logic holes.

However, even if it made sense and were well-written, the ... uhm, dense... handling of the racial elements would still keep me away.

Not on the same level, but I also decided not to buy the YA dystopia where the scientists were portrayed as villains. From what I read of it, It sounded as if the author had a hidden agenda or some kind of prejudice against scientists. Maybe she thought they were lurking in their labs, trying to create lethal viruses. ;)

shaldna
08-02-2012, 04:04 PM
I'm extremely fair - like a 001 cosmetics "alabaster" fair - and I can tell you from experience that the sun makes me sick. I burn in a matter of minutes, but even before that, I start to feel physically ill in direct sunlight. (And despite the author's insistence, using tanners or bronzers to mimic/create a fake tan has absolutely NO effect on this. Clear sunscreen, however, does.)

Same here. Being Irish my natural skin tone is a light blue. I feel seriously ill in the sun, like nauseus and weak, and I will burn in a matter of minutes.

SOME makeup does have SPF, but it's usually only about 15 which doesn't make a difference at all to someone like me, I need AT LEAST factor 50.



Just a quick point about the awards and their entry fees. The Pulitzer Prize charges a $50 entry fee, and anybody can enter. The mere fact of an entry fee doesn't mean that the awards are hokey, and $50 is not an outrageous cost for a literary award.

You learn something new every day.

scottken
08-02-2012, 07:08 PM
Just a quick point about the awards and their entry fees. The Pulitzer Prize charges a $50 entry fee, and anybody can enter. The mere fact of an entry fee doesn't mean that the awards are hokey, and $50 is not an outrageous cost for a literary award.

I'm not saying the awards this book allegedly won are not hokey. I'm only saying their entry fees don't denote hokiness.

True. Yet I somehow don't think if I entered my book for The Pulitzer it would have a 1 in 10 chance of winning. The prize for the Pulitzer is $10,000 and national recognition. I don't think these awards confer similar value for that $50 entry fee.

That these awards particularly prey upon self-pubbed authors, and confer no real benefit if won is what makes me question them.

I also somehow think the Pulitzer committee would have opted for "No Award" rather than conferring something upon Save the Pearls.

Libbie
08-02-2012, 07:44 PM
True. Yet I somehow don't think if I entered my book for The Pulitzer it would have a 1 in 10 chance of winning. The prize for the Pulitzer is $10,000 and national recognition. I don't think these awards confer similar value for that $50 entry fee.

That these awards particularly prey upon self-pubbed authors, and confer no real benefit if won is what makes me question them.

I also somehow think the Pulitzer committee would have opted for "No Award" rather than conferring something upon Save the Pearls.

You are correct on all counts, and I share your thoughts. I was only helping people understand that just because an award charges a $50 entry fee, that doesn't mean the award is not legitimate. (Because it seemed to me that was the assertion being made in this thread about the awards Save The Pearls has "won.")

I believe the awards in question are less than fully legitimate for a wide array of other reasons.

thothguard51
08-02-2012, 11:30 PM
Libby, I think the issue is not the entry free but the awards themselves and if they are well known and recognized as such...

crunchyblanket
08-02-2012, 11:35 PM
Same here. Being Irish my natural skin tone is a light blue. I feel seriously ill in the sun, like nauseus and weak, and I will burn in a matter of minutes.

SOME makeup does have SPF, but it's usually only about 15 which doesn't make a difference at all to someone like me, I need AT LEAST factor 50.

Me too. On all counts. That Midnight Lustre stuff better come in 'total sunblock' because otherwise I'm not getting out of bed for days.

backslashbaby
08-03-2012, 03:18 AM
I have fun skin when it comes to tanning :) I'm very pale (Scots-Irish and German), but if I get sun in progressive small doses, I get quite dark (Muscogee/Cherokee)! I can get so dark that I definitely don't burn. People see my SPF'ed self and assume I fry pink, but I have that stealth Native thang going on :D :D

Rachel Udin
08-03-2012, 08:36 PM
Me too. On all counts. That Midnight Lustre stuff better come in 'total sunblock' because otherwise I'm not getting out of bed for days.
Which does beg the question, since sunblock is clear... and they can do genetic splicing, why can't they develop a really good sun block? I know, you can't save "Save the Pearls" but I really need to know... why not just a good sunblock, or even a hazmat suit? Or *gasp* long sleeve loose clothing like that found in Saudi Arabia. I do have to point out though, that the Midnight Lustre was applied *indoors* so it's clearly not meant as a sunblock. The whole first chapter was done *indoors* (Underground tunnels and then a lab) Which really makes me wonder if she thinks that UV rays make it through solid walls like radiation does. (You know, duct tape and plastic sheeting can keep out radiation from Nuclear bombs according to the CDC (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/planning/shelteringfacts.asp)... search for "nuclear" and/or "radiation" --;; Yes, total fail. BTW, it was original sheet metal. Which has a better chance if it was lead... but they "upgraded" to plastic sheeting.) If it was radiation, rather than the sun, then everyone is in trouble. Science fail, but if the government fails like that... I don't have much hope for an author like her.

Though, as I posted, there is more occurrence of skin cancer in darker skin colors. (See link)

fireluxlou
08-03-2012, 08:39 PM
I bet this will be a trilogy and I wonder how this trilogy will end and what the epilogue will be.

I'm just curious as to how she is gonna end this mess.

Torgo
08-03-2012, 08:53 PM
I bet this will be a trilogy and I wonder how this trilogy will end and what the epilogue will be.

I'm just curious as to how she is gonna end this mess.

In many ways this is one of the most effective marketing campaigns I've seen for ages. This is post #243 in the thread.

zahra
08-04-2012, 01:33 AM
In many ways this is one of the most effective marketing campaigns I've seen for ages. This is post #243 in the thread.
I can live with people talking about it on a writers' site - where better? - as long as no-one is buying it.

Wesley Kang
08-04-2012, 01:56 AM
Victoria Foyt is on Absolute Write. Maybe she can address your comments directly.

mirandashell
08-04-2012, 01:57 AM
We know she is, Wesley. She hasn't.

Rachel Udin
08-04-2012, 05:54 AM
She last visited according to [redacted]

Last Activity: Yesterday 01:13 AM


So she probably is quite well aware of this thread by now and it was mentioned she had a profile on page 3/4 I think.
Don't encourage forum stalking. It's bad for our health.

Medievalist
08-04-2012, 06:18 AM
There's a reason you've seen me reminding people to


talk about the text, not about the author.

aruna
08-11-2012, 04:10 PM
Stop The GR Bullies has blogged in defence of Foyt. (http://stopthegrbullies.com/2012/08/02/revealing-eden/)


...The crowd goes WILD, posting 222 one-star reviews of her novel. Now, criticism of a book is not bullying, but calling the author racist (when she has clearly stated that she is not) or calling her ignorant, disgusting, terrible, sexist, etc., or saying that she and her agent, editor, and publisher should be sued – that is bullying. This book is completely littered with reviews like this.
OK, they do have a point -- many of the reviews do call the author racist, sexist etc rather than the book. "But calling the author racist (when she has clearly stated that she is not)" certainly made me roll my eyes.

AnneMarble
08-11-2012, 04:18 PM
Stop The GR Bullies has blogged in defence of Foyt. (http://stopthegrbullies.com/2012/08/02/revealing-eden/)

OK, they do have a point -- many of the reviews do call the author racist, sexist etc rather than the book. "But calling the author racist (when she has clearly stated that she is not)" certainly made me roll my eyes.

Exactly. I'm going to claim right now that I am not fat. There! Now according to their logic, I must be thin. Funny. How come those old jeans don't fit?...

There are actually comments arguing against the STGRB post. I wonder how long those will last?...

Edited to Add: Oh, I see they closed the comments because the discussion was "going in circles." Yes, that happens when people keep telling you're wrong, and you keep arguing. ;)

"Discuss the book and not the author" sounds all well and good. But sometimes the two cannot be separated. Period. What if you're reviewing a controversial memoir and discussing claims that the author's version of events is not suuported by truth? At the risk of Godwinning the thread, what if you're reviewing Mein Kampf, for God's sake!? What if you're reviewing Alice in Wonderland and wanted to mention Lewis Carroll's ... Uhm, little girl issues? There's a whole school of scholarly criticism that ties the book being criticized into the author's personal life. Should all those professors and students stop doing thst because it's mean?

missesdash
08-11-2012, 05:49 PM
Stop The GR Bullies has blogged in defence of Foyt. (http://stopthegrbullies.com/2012/08/02/revealing-eden/)

OK, they do have a point -- many of the reviews do call the author racist, sexist etc rather than the book. "But calling the author racist (when she has clearly stated that she is not)" certainly made me roll my eyes.

It's kind of annoying how they go on and on about not reviewing the author and yet, in their comments, go at lengths to defend her. If you don't want to discuss the author, why would you say something as moronic as "she isn't racist because she says she isn't."

Christ.


ETA: that site is just moronic. It reminds me of middle school the way they all apparently have issues with certain people and go to lengths to discuss those GR readers, post their tweets and harbor a overall immature "us against them" feel. What a waste of a blog.