Jan. 23rd, 2010


Jan. 23rd, 2010 06:51 pm
ann_r_starr: (Default)

Quick word count update, complete with balloons and beer. Help yourself.

Writerly rant to follow
ann_r_starr: (two cents)
I was going to blog about this when it first came to light, but unfortunately I had other things that needed to be done (shopping for food before the cats ate me, washing clothes, writing, ect) and by the time I had a moment to spare, it was sort of resolved.

Why do I say sort of? The cover is being changed and reprinted, doesn't that solve the problem?

For this book, yes. For Liar the problem is also 'solved'. But this isn't a matter of simply two books with bad covers. Both books are merely the symptoms of a far larger problem. One that, in 2010, we should be able to say we've left in a dark and regretful past. But we can't.

I'm talking about racism in general, but in particular, the practice of whitewashing book covers. Why don't I focus on the boarder issue of racism? Because this blog post would never end. Racism is still a huge problem and perhaps the only way we'll really put an end to it is by addressing and treating one symptom at a time. Such as cover whitewashing.

What is cover whitewashing? No, it's not painting a book cover with white paint, that's just vandlisim. Cover whitewashing an even more unattractive act. It's the act of taking a story about a character with anything other then white skin, some times people of Asian heritage, but generally those with black or dark skin colours, and, rather then have an accurate representation of that character on the cover, use a white model.

Here's an experiment for you;
  • Go to your local bookstore or library.
  • Find some children's or YA books that star a character described as having dark or brown skin.
  • Now sort out which of those have a character on the front.
  • Count how many of the cover models are black and get back to me.
The blogging world is taking a stand against this, and they've proved that if enough noise is made, publishers will change the covers. This is good, this hurts their pocket. But it's not enough.

What I want to see is simple. I want to see a day where a fuss doesn't HAVE to be raised. Where a publisher simply wouldn't even consider whitewashing a book cover. A day where I can write Thief's Choice, see Mat, Acqua and Echo on the cover and not have the only difference between Echo and Acqua be Echo's cat-ears and tail.

 This practise needs to be made unthinkable, and it needs to happen now. And the only way that will happen is if people keep making a fuss. But don't just make a fuss about newly published books. Find those older white washed covers and make a fuss about them too. Blog about cover white washing, write complaints to publishers who do this and talk about it with your friends and family.

Together, we can make 2010 the year the whitewash was put away.


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Ann Rosa Starr

May 2012


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