Monday, January 18, 2010

Stand Up For What's Right - On Your Own Terms

The underlying issue with this post is the cover for Magic Under Glass not accurately representing the character between the covers. Obviously not the first time this has happened. Whitewashing sucks, plain and simple. If publishers would just accurately represent what the writer wrote on the cover, we wouldn't have this issue. They assume the reading public wants model-looking white people and only that, otherwise they won't buy the book. Readers should feel pandered to and they should feel patronized by it. It's insulting to think that publishers think so little of their reading public.

But the issue I want to discuss is how bloggers treat each other in such a case. Some are rather peeved that this book didn't get the attention that Liar had a few months ago so they're "calling out" bloggers and are "disappointed" and "upset" with them for not giving this the attention" it deserves."

To them, I've failed as a blogger because I haven't brought attention to this most recent issue. I'm a disappointment. Never mind I've never even touched the book let alone picked it up and read it. I've still failed.

Bite me.

There's a reason why I don't support PETA. Their intentions are good but their methods absolutely suck. Negativity should never, ever touch a cause. What makes you think I'm going to help you after you poke me in the eye? Or cover me in red paint? Or tell me I've failed?

Seriously, people. We're readers. A lot of us are writers. We understand the power that words can have. So why do people think that slapping down other bloggers will help their cause? Why do they think that inviting people to "call out" bloggers that don't bring attention to such things based solely on their own interpretations of how it should come about will help them? I may be a masochist (maybe that was a little TMI, oh well) in some areas of my life but don't berate me than then turn around and expect me to help you.

These people are leaning heavily on big bloggers like Kristi at The Story Siren to get her to stand up and scream with them, all while telling her she's not obligated to do so. So is she obligated or not, because you're contradicting yourself. I don't know one blogger that runs their blog based on bowing to pressure from other bloggers. We're a community. We support each other; we don't bully each other. Yes, those big bloggers have bigger voices than a lot of us but piss them off and just as many people will see their frustration at the situation as you want to see the stance for the cause.

I don't run my blog based on other people's expectations of me. I don't bow to community pressure, basically because there's next to none. If someone else thinks I've failed because I haven't lived up to their expectations of how I should react, fine. Whatever. Not my fault as I didn't set their expectations of me. They did that all on their own. Just don't expect me to help. Negative reinforcement doesn't bode well with me. One of the reasons why I'm not in the military.

Like PETA, I have no doubt in my mind the intentions of these people are nothing but good. It really is a cause to stand up for. But their methods blow. Hard. This is why negativity should never touch a cause. It detracts from the real issue at hand. Whitewashing sucks. Bloggers chastising other bloggers for not doing what the other feels they should sucks even more. I'll stand up how I want to stand up on my own blog. I don't need someone else telling me how I should do it and then telling me I've failed because I haven't. Yeah, that's a real motivating factor to get me to do what you want me to do.


Star Shadow said...

Very nicely put Donna, I agree with you completely! What people fail to realize is that a lot of these publishing companies don't necessarily read the book, and most get there cover illustration work out of house... by someone again.. who doesn't read the book, they get a few lines most likely of a synopsis and the title and they have to do their work out of that.

Now, don't get me wrong because I agree on the whole diversity thing, but I think people fail to realize, people are just doing there jobs, as they are told to do it.

Also, is there actual proof that they are being racist? Or was it completely an oversight?

Anyway Donna you are right, our blogs are our own words not the voices and opinions of your followers and everyone is obligated to have their opinion, but they shouldn't chastise others because they don't stand up and do it the way you want it done

I'll shut up now lol!

Rebecca Herman said...

I agree with you completely! Magic Under Glass was a book I did read and enjoy, but I don't believe I mentioned the cover at all in my review. Because my review was of the story inside and I honestly wasn't even paying attention to the cover at that point. To me my blog is to share my enjoyment of the books I read. It's not to fight over issues like this, that's not what my blog is about, if others feel strongly about awareness for issues like these more power to them, I admire them for standing up for what is important to them, but not everyone wants their blog to turn into an advocacy blog.

MissAttitude said...

I agree 100%! I'm glad to have found the blogging community because people can be so supportive and everyone has different veiws that are interesting. I hope no one is being negative to other bloggers about this issue, but I don't think it's negative to ask other people to speak out about it. Does that sound contradicatory? lol

brizmus said...

It makes me sick, these bloggers calling out other bloggers like that. Just because it's a big deal to them doesn't mean they have to be rude about it. Calling attention to it would be the better idea.
I do support PETA, but I totally agree with you, there, too. I hate all of their "Hate Protests," as I call them. Hurting other people is never the way to get them to come around to your point of view. Sometimes I, too, feel like throwing red paint at people wearing fur or even leather; it just makes me so angry. But I would never actually do it, because in the end it accomplishes nothing other than pissing someone off.
Which is what it sounds to me like these other bloggers have done. Just pissed people off.

WilowRaven said...

I totally agree with you! You said everything I have been feeling in the last 12 hours in a way I could never have put into words myself.

Thank you Donna.

Book Crazy Jenn said...

I TOTALLY agree, you rock! :) Way to put the way I, well I think a lot of us, was feeling into words - great post! :)

Donna said...

Thanks, Star! The thing with book covers, though, it is a collaborative effort to create one. The artist gets information on the book from the editor and they base the cover on that. If information is purposefully omitted in the process, someone's at fault. I don't think it's blatantly racist but I do believe that publishers function on a whitewashing mantra. The majority of the reading public is white. They ass/u/me that white reading public would be less inclined to pick up a book with a PoC on the cover so they slide it under the rug. Those covers go through multiple approval sessions as well, being sent out to the author and agent prior to getting finalized. The thing is, the author and agent need to make a huge stink and totally validate their claim for a cover to be changed, otherwise it won't be touched. The publisher might not view matching a cover model's skin tone to the author's vision as being too important. No, I don't think it's blatantly racist, I just think it's ignorant, which isn't much better.

Thanks, Rebecca! I'm the same way. I actually thought about it last night and the last time I went to the book store, I wasn't looking so much at the covers as I was the titles. Those were bringing me in more. I know other book bloggers rate the cover but it's such an inconsequential piece of the story for me that I don't bother. I have no doubt I would have looked over something like this had I read the book. Doesn't mean I should be berated for it either, though.

That's not contradictory at all, MA! Getting the word out about a cause is one thing. But telling other bloggers that they've failed and then expecting them to cross over to the cause is not the way to go about doing it. Reading reactions I don't think anyone is being purposely negative to other bloggers. The ones that are taking action are genuinely pissed at the situation with the publisher so they just go at it and don't think how their words are coming across to others. They think they might be rallying the masses without understanding how many different ways their words could be read. Like the people in PETA, they're passionate about what they do but their words and actions don't translate to the best connotations for their actions.

I agree, Briz. It definitely is a heat of the moment thing with these bloggers and they mean well but they're not thinking about what they're saying so they end up blanketing statements and insulting a large number of people which wasn't their intention but it happened anyway. I love that people have passion but they need to think before they hit post.

Thank you, Wilow! And you're welcome! :)

Donna said...

Thank you, Jenn! It just irks me when people insinuate that I've somehow failed because I haven't reacted the way they feel I should.

April said...

Hey Donna!

I think you certainly have a point, about being able to do whatever you want on your blog. I think I interpreted the whole thing a bit differently, not as chastisement, but as a sincere wish to get people thinking/posting about the subject. I understand definitely how it could be seen in a different light/tone though.

Honestly, I think whitewashing is something bloggers/readers should be aware of. But as an activist (in another life) I know you draw much more people to your cause with positivity. I think people react better when they are "encouraged" to post about something, rather than 'called out' to post about something. I mean, essentially both phrases ask for the same thing, just one carries a positive connotation and one carries a negative connotation.

I don't really see this issue as failure on the behalf of YA bloggers, but as unawareness of the issue.

hcmurdoch said...

When people are passionate about an issue it is easy for them to get swept up in it and not understand how the rest of us aren't equally as angry or vocal.

Whitewashing is terrible. However, we each need to protest/complain in our own way and not force others to be the way we want them to be.

Wrighty said...

Excellent post Donna and I totally agree! There are many great causes out there that need support and attention but I don't want to be bullied into joining. This is such a supportive community and almost everyone is helpful and kind. I enjoy doing for others and I don't mind being asked to help but it will always backfire if someone tells me that I have to do it. You definitely are not a failure!

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