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

  1. #126
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    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.
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  2. #127
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    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...
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  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
    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-...i-precious.htm
    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=238165
    http://color.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Shades_of_black
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_...k_%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.

  4. #129
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    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...
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  5. #130
    Quote Originally Posted by backslashbaby View Post
    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.

  6. #131
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    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.

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  7. #132
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireluxlou View Post
    Also here's a sample 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.

  8. #133
    Rollin' up my sleeves Sorin's Avatar
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    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?"

    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.
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  9. #134
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Rachel Udin; 07-30-2012 at 02:14 AM.

  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    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.
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  12. #137
    practical experience, FTW polleekin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireluxlou View Post
    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."

  13. #138
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polleekin View Post
    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.

  14. #139
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    Even though this was in another thread and might not have been seen, Mac has already had to say this once today:

    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    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?
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  15. #140
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    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.

  16. #141
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    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?
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  17. #142
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruna View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 07-30-2012 at 10:25 AM.

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  18. #143
    Quote Originally Posted by RexJameson View Post
    Well, there certainly are people who specifically look for these kinds of symbolisms in everything from movies to Hallmark cards. 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, 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=thothguard51;7473719]
    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.

  19. #144
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    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.

  20. #145
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theo81 View Post
    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.

  21. #146
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    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.

  22. #147
    Special Snowflake? No. Hailstone RedRajah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    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.
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  23. #148
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    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.
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  24. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    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.
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  25. #150
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin scottken's Avatar
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    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. 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

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