Other bloggers have written better posts that I possible can about this latest controversy, so included at the end of the posts are many helpful posts written by some talented people.
This week another #Bloomsburyfail has come to light. After what should have been an embarrassing failure with the whitewashing of Justine Larbalestier’s cover of Liar, Bloomsbury has whitewashed the cover of another YA book. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore features a dark-skinned protagonist. But the cover of Magic Under Glass features a Caucasian girl instead of someone who looks more like the main character. I’ve read a few great reviews about this book and it sounds like the main character is someone whose adventures I would love to read about. But I can’t buy this book or any other books published by Bloomsbury. Instead I’m boycotting all books published by Bloomsbury.
Comments around the Blogisphere
It’s disappointed me that many people who have been commenting around the blogisphere don’t understand how hurtful Bloomsbury actions are. If you’re not on Twitter, you probably wouldn’t know that I’m an African American woman. Instead you know I’m just Vasilly, another blogger. I am so much more than the skin I’m in but when others decide that my color isn’t good enough, that instead it hinders opportunity, I fight back.
I’ve read comments by people who have insisted that they have more important things to think about than this controversy; people who don’t or won’t even think about what whitewashing means; who don’t want to think about race and representation but instead want to comment about why they shouldn’t or won’t go out and pick up books by or about people of color or any other group they don’t normally read about. I think the comments have hurt me more than the whitewashing.
For those who do not understand what whitewashing means to me, Susan, and others who are boycotting Bloomsbury, let me tell you. To whitewash is to erase; to erase a whole community of people who look a certain way. Whether unintentional or not, it’s cruel. When you say that boycotting is not the answer because it hurts the author and that instead I should buy the book, you are telling me that money is more important than integrity. You may not know that’s what you’re saying, but that’s what I hear. By boycotting, I’m taking my power as a consumer and giving my money to another publisher. To give my money to Bloomsbury is to tell my children that what Bloomsbury did was okay. The excuse people have given to Bloomsbury about books not selling as well when people of color are on the covers does not matter. What matters is that this damaging action was taken.
Before I receive comments saying it’s not the author’s fault, I know that. I know that authors may not have much control over their books, but I can control my response which is not to help the publisher’s bottom line. This boycott isn’t about the misrepresentation of hair color or weight but race.
Until Bloomsbury issues an apology, I will not be buying any of their products.