- In Loving Color: Diversity in Romance Publishing, 2014 – This post was pretty good… until Super Ally Suzanne Brockmann was quoted at length. Alisha Rai made a Storify of her and other WOC authors’ reactions to the post.
Readers of all ethnicities devour romance novels, but the books on offer haven’t always reflected that reality. Here, we look at how publishers and authors are meeting the growing demand for multicultural romance.
Once a bastion of blonde, blue-eyed heroines and tall, dark (but not too dark) heroes, romance novels are increasingly featuring people of color on their covers and in their pages. “I think the genre has evolved as society has evolved,” says novelist Lori Bryant-Woolridge, who edited Can’t Help the Way That I Feel: Sultry Stories of African American Love, Lust and Fantasy (Cleis, 2010). “Once publishers realized that there was a market for it, the genre began to grow.”
Changes in the industry, too, have allowed more space for new voices. Author Shelly Ellis, whose next release is Best She Ever Had (Kensington/Dafina, Jan. 2015), credits the emergence of e-books and self-publishing. “The number of multicultural romances you could find on bookshelves was limited because not all publishers were—or are—offering these types of romances,” she says. “But once authors could start uploading their own stories onto Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, it blew the door wide open.”
- A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names – I have some problems with this post 1. being written by a white woman and 2. the way she lumps together RequiresHate’s hyperbole aimed upwards with following people from platform to platform to berate them and calls them both threats/attacks. RH crossed many lines, but white people seem to be enjoying the dogpile too much and walking away with the idea that violence aimed at oppression is as bad as oppressive violence.
Friends, the tl;dr of this very long, comprehensive, analytical report is that up-and-coming John W. Campbell nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is also rage-blogger Requires Hate, who is also several other internet personalities including Winterfox, pyrofennec, acrackedmoon, and others) (oh yes, the list goes on), is VERY BAD NEWS.
Benjanun Sriduangkaew has established herself over the past two years as a well-liked and talented newer writer. As a lesbian Thai woman, she identifies as a member of a highly marginalized community, and there has been quite a bit of excitement in progressive circles around her rise in popularity as a short story writer. She has been publishing SFF since 2012 and is a John W. Campbell nominee for 2014.
In September 2014 she was publicly revealed as Requires Hate, a controversial rage-blogger. Thai blogger Requires Hate appeared on the scene in mid-2011, and has built her reputation primarily by publishing vitriolic reviews of various writers’ books. She has ruffled a lot of feathers, but she too has her advocates: progressives (among them people I hold in high regard), who appreciate that—despite her sometimes over-the-top rhetoric—she unapologetically speaks up for people of color and queer/ LGBTQI people, calling out racist, homophobic, misogynist content in many popular SFF novels and stories.
- Our ‘Mommy’ Problem – A thought-provoking piece about how “mom” runs the gamut of lovely endearment and dismissive term depending on the speaker.
Becoming a mother doesn’t change you so much as violently refurbish you, even though you’re still the same underneath it all.
That can be hard to remember when teachers, coaches, pediatricians and strangers alike suddenly stop addressing you by your name, or even “ma’am” or “lady,” and start calling you “Mom.” You’ll feel like a new person, all right — a new person you don’t necessarily know or recognize.
Motherhood is no longer viewed as simply a relationship with your children, a role you play at home and at school, or even a hallowed institution. Motherhood has been elevated — or perhaps demoted — to the realm of lifestyle, an all-encompassing identity with demands and expectations that eclipse everything else in a woman’s life.
- “Did You Ever Mind It?”: On Race and Adoption – A personal account of being a Korean girl raised by white parents in America.
Sometimes it still sounds so trite, so trivial when I try to explain it now. Almost all the girls in my class had blond hair and blue eyes. I heard chink and Chinee on the playground at least once a week, from second through eighth grades, usually accompanied by pulled-back eyes and taunts in a sing-song, fake-accented voice. Until the age of nine, when we hosted two Japanese exchange students for a single weekend, I never spent any time with anyone who looked anything like me. I always felt anxious, exposed, like everyone was staring at me. If I’d been granted a magic wish, I would have chosen to be white in a heartbeat.
But while all of this is true, and less than ideal, I suppose, none of it really constitutes an explanation. The truth is, I still don’t fully comprehend why it all conspired to break me, for a little while. I just know that it did.
My mother told me years later that she had no idea I was being “teased” for being Korean, so I must not have told my parents about the education I was receiving in racial slurs at my little parochial school. My teachers had no idea what was going on. It might not have occurred to any of them that kids so young would know, let alone fling such words around. Nor did my parents know how to begin the conversation—no one, from the social worker to the adoption attorney to the judge who finalized my adoption, had ever warned them about raising a child of color in a very white town. At seven and eight years old, I didn’t have the capacity or the vocabulary to explain what was happening or how I felt; the words were locked inside. I was supposed to be fine, I was supposed to be happy, I was supposed to feel special for having been adopted. There wasn’t room in that picture to explain what was happening at school.
- Bill Cosby: Comedian, Philanthropist, but Rape Allegations Won’t Go Away – I can’t believe Cosby’s people thought this was a good idea. It’s 2014. Surely we’ve learned by now that people use these hashtag and meme events to grind their axes.
On Monday, Bill Cosby’s website released the Cosby meme generator (now removed), an image macro that was supposed to let people create memes of the famed comedian from his Cosby Show days. But Cosby’s meme generator turned into an unfiltered vehicle to denounce the comedian over the numerous allegations of sexual assault that have plagued him over the years.
Cosby’s sordid sexual history goes back to the 1970s, according to his accusers, but most of the allegations didn’t get any media attention until a 2005 civil lawsuit in which 13 women came forward in support of the main litigant. All the women told similar stories of Cosby taking them under his wing as they sought careers in the entertainment industry. The women claimed that Cosby emotionally and physically broke them down, resulting in alleged druggings and sexual assaults.
Cosby settled the lawsuit in 2006, but the stories didn’t start surfacing again until news broke that the comedian was developing a new show with NBC. The following is a timeline of this suit and other sexual assault allegations made against Cosby.
- How to Suck at Queer Allyship: A Case Study – An object lesson in being a bad ally.
On a summer Sunday night, you’re on a rooftop bar in Williamsburg, and you’re three gin and tonics deep. You’ve met up with a friend of yours from work and some of her friends. You are altruistic and charming, so you buy everyone shots of Jameson, then teach them all your favorite toast: “Here’s to pussy and gunpowder; one brought me into this world, the other will take me out, and I love the smell of both.”
“We can make up a version involving penises, for the ladies,” you offer. You’re generous like that.
Your new acquaintances laugh; someone explains that two of the women you’ve just met are gay, so for them, that won’t be necessary.
“Oh, that’s awesome,” you say, backtracking. For a moment you’re thrown off, perhaps because it’s hard for you to remember that there are women out there who—for any number of reasons—are not the least bit interested in sleeping with you.