Thursday, August 6, 2009

Labalestier. New Cover. Not Good Enough

This is a c/p of my comment to Justine Larbalestier's blog post about the new cover of Liar.

I’m not happy. This is NOT a victory. That’s a beautiful girl on the cover. But to paraphrase someone else’s quote. “All black women are not shades of honey.”

The cover STILL looks nothing like your protagonist. The cover STILL shows bias against black faces, in this case dark black faces, non light, non mixed black faces.

That is not an afro. That hair is not what comes to mind, at least for me, when I think naptural. That hair looks like mine and I’m multiracial and light skinned.

I’m glad your publisher is no longer being blatantly racist. But being subtly racist – it’s just another day ending in Y. I live in a country where people call my president ‘Tanned’. That girl is lighter than he is.

Breadcrumbs are still breadcrumbs even if what came before was being totally ignored.

I recognize individuals will say ‘But they spent money on a photoshoot!’ or ‘You people are NEVER grateful’. But this should not be about ‘gratitude’ this should be about doing what’s right. And having spent money to correct a wrong they did intentionally is not a free pass to a grudging half-way effort.

This is equal to Dev Patel being cast to play the role of an EAST ASIAN prince. This is ‘Shut up already’. This is -STILL GETTING IT WRONG.

I am tired of 'Well, at least'. Tired. So I'm not accepting it. No more 'Well at least they decided to use Vixen (even if she practically looks white)'. No more 'Well at least they're using a black male character (even if they made him bald like they make most all their black male characters bald)'.

No more 'token' pretense efforts at diversity, or anti-racism, or just plain decency.

It's 2009. I've seen the ugliness crawling like maggots in the world of publishing, particularly in SF Publishing. I've seen the half assed efforts white authors think are 'ok' to do when it comes to combating racism, as if the anti-racist struggle were a self centered child who could be appeased by any, any at all, sign of attention; like a kicked dog hungering for a kind touch.

Just. No.

I call bullshit on all those half-assed measures. Those attempts to appease but not actually change. I know I damn well deserve more than smoke and mirrors. My siblings deserve more than that too. And their friends and their friends.

It's 2009.

I'm not going to be patient or attempt to be understanding. Because that gets the least amount of change. In fact, things have seriously been slipping and becoming less progressive than before I was born!

The new cover of Liar is a symptom of the same disease as the OLD American cover of Liar. Different symptom, same rot. And I'm not going to close my eyes and smile and swallow.