Remember when the cover of Justine Larbalestier's book, LIAR, came out with a white cover and had to be changed? Well, I gave Bloomsbury kudos for doing the right thing and fixing the cover.
You can imagine my dismay when I read this post over at The Rejectionist. You guessed it: THEY DID IT AGAIN!
Becca is displeased.
Check out this cover for MAGIC UNDER GLASS, Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel about a dark skinned girl "from the far east." Um... yeah. Whitey McWhiterson on the cover doesn't scream "far east" to me. Unlike Justine, Jaclyn is a newbie to the publishing world and didn't have the means to get support for a cover change before the book went out.
So, what can we do about it? Is Bloomsbury going to set an example for our kids (as well as other publishers) that we can white-wash everything and get away with it? That this isn't offensive? How can we support an author writing about a person of color, but still let Bloomsbury know that this shizna doesn't fly?
Well, I'll tell you what I did. I wrote to them this morning. Here's the email I sent:
I wanted to email to complain about the white model on the cover of Jaclyn Dolamore’s debut, MAGIC UNDER GLASS. Since the book is about a dark skinned girl from the far east, this cover is really inappropriate, and sends the message that you don’t support people of color. What kind of message is this, especially for our youth?
This happened with LIAR, and now it’s happening again—it’s getting pretty shameful. I’m a white lady, but still find it offensive to change the color of a character simply under the guise of helping sales. Please, take this to heart. I don’t mean to be disrespectful or unkind, but this kind of thing really has to stop if we’re going to make any progress against racism as a nation. Please help, and listen to your customers who are speaking out against this. I’m a regular book lover and buyer, and wanted to let you know my thoughts.
Thank you for listening, and hopefully implementing change. Good luck to you, and God bless! I know it’s difficult to promote change when something’s been common practice for so long. I believe in the industry, and in your business, so please make your customers proud.
In all things, I think we need to be respectful, which is why I didn't send my first email, which said simply, "WTF! STOP IT!!! Love, Becca."
I urge you to please get involved and contact Bloomsbury. Especially, right after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, please be reminded that racism in America is not dead, and that we all have a chance to fight for change.
Here is Bloomsbury's contact info:
Thank you to all who email, write, or call!
What is your take on this topic? I'd love to hear from you!