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Thread: Victoria Foyt's novel coming under fire...

  1. #76
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    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.
    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.

  2. #77
    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #78
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    This is the Facebook page for the book. 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,
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  4. #79
    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    This is the Facebook page for the book. 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.

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    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.

  6. #81
    Cuddly sweet teddy bear! Dani's Avatar
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    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.


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  7. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
    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.

  8. #83
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    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.

  9. #84
    The colors! THE COLORS! leahzero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    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?
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  10. #85
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leahzero View Post

    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.)




  11. #86
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cryaegm View Post
    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?!


    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, but that's a character in a BBC comedy, so he doesn't count.)
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  12. #87
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    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 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/...ad.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.
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  13. #88
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    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.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libbie View Post
    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.)
    Last edited by Amadan; 07-29-2012 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Name corrected

  15. #90
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    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.
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  16. #91
    Why Isn't IGNORE Available in RL? Ctairo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    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 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://accrispin.blogspot.com/2008/0...ok-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.
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  17. #92
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    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.

  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theo81 View Post
    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.

  19. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    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?

  20. #95
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireluxlou View Post
    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?
    Last edited by aruna; 07-29-2012 at 09:24 PM.
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  21. #96
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    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.




  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    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).

  23. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    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.

  24. #99
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    From the Sand Dollar Press website:

    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.

  25. #100
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    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!
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