Anti-Diversity, White Privilege, and Centering

So there’s a little dumpster-fire video floating around that has me needing to share some thoughts. If you’re on Twitter, you already know, if not, let’s just say it’s 20 minutes of white privilege, centering the discussion, anti-diversity and racism rolled into one vomit-inducing video that tries to discredit the idea that we need diversity in literature.

Full disclosure: I have not watched the video. But how can you protest something you haven’t seen?! Here’s why: because I have many, many writing, reading, and book blogging friends who have watched it. They forced themselves to sit through it, or read the transcript. I trust them through years of discourse on all things reading and writing. I read excerpts of the video through these friends, and decided I didn’t need to subject myself to this kind of vitriol. It’s self-preservation. Right now I’m just NOT-THIS-SHIT-AGAIN angry, instead of WHERE-IS-SHE-I-WANT-TO-RIP-HER-APART angry. Sometimes you have to take care of your own emotional well-being.

But there’s another reason I have no intention of watching that hate-filled video. It’s because that woman doesn’t deserve any more clicks. I hate that she’s getting so much attention for this, and I bet she’s twirling her pencil-thin mustache and wringing her long-fingered hands while cackling with maniacal glee over all the buzz with her name attached to it. I heard her video is monetized. I don’t know exactly what that means or how it works, but I’m guessing with every click she gets more money due to advertisement. I won’t contribute to that, and I implore you not to either.

In fact, I kind of don’t want to even say her name. It’s like Trump and Voldemort (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), but giving a person that much power is ineffective. And I feel as a writer I need to know those who don’t support the same beliefs I have for the publishing industry. It never occurred to me to have a list of writers and bloggers that I don’t wish to work with, but now I’m seeing that value. Even that gives me creeping feelings of distaste, but here’s the thing: she’s a book blogger (vlogger?) and if in the future she wanted to review my book or work with me in some way, and I don’t know or remember the horrid things she said in 2016? What kind of person am I, working towards equality in the publishing industry, if I work with her? Yes, we all make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them, but there are limits to that. I don’t care if she has a complete turn around and Jesus smites the evil thoughts from her head. She did something awful. Maybe she can be forgiven as a person someday. But professionally? I think that ship has sailed.

So here’s the name: Bre Faucheux. I’d really rather no one watches the video, but I get that maybe you need to see it for yourself. That’s your right and I appreciate that you don’t want to just take my word for it. I’m only able to do that with some friends I trust implicitly. There’s plenty of discussion on Twitter if you’re interested, so you can easily get the gist without clicking the video. But do as you see fit.

I do feel it’s important for me to say something right here, though: Bre Faucheux, you do not represent me or my beliefs! You do not speak for me as a white writer or reader! You are wrong that we don’t need diversity in literature. Especially children’s literature. In fact, you are proof that we do need it. Maybe had you read a few more books that reflect a world unlike your homogeneous white thinking you’d be more open-minded and less disgusting. Maybe if there was more diversity in children’s literature we writers wouldn’t take such offense at your racist words. We could just brush you off as the annoying fly you are, but that’s not the reality of the publishing world we live in, so we have to speak out. We have to fight the bigotry. We have to make room for the positivity and push out the hate.

And most importantly, if there was more diversity in children’s literature we wouldn’t take your hate and diseased-thinking as an attack on the very kids we write for. You came for our kids, for our readers, for those who have small voices and don’t see themselves represented in books or media regularly, and if they do, it’s often done poorly. This is unforgivable. Just like Trump, you’re a big fish preying on and benefiting from minority identities. And I won’t just stand by and see that happen.

But what can I do? I’m one unpublished author in a sea of social media. Admittedly, maybe what I can do isn’t much, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to read books that reflect the wide range of the world including race, gender, orientation, disabilities, religion, locality. I’m going to read and promote those stories, especially #OwnVoices, because we need mirrors and windows, and #OwnVoices stories are the best for all of that. I’m going to write diversely, not because it’s a trend or I feel I have to, but because I love to. Because my imagination doesn’t work in only white/straight/cis/Christian/able perspective. And I’m going to research and learn and sometimes decide it’s not my place to write that story.

And the biggest thing I can do is listen. Read. Learn. I can try to understand, and even if I don’t understand, I know that though that perspective doesn’t reflect me or my experience, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I can continue to do this every day. Especially not centering the discussion on myself. I don’t talk much on Twitter when it comes to the discussion of diversity in lit, mainly because I still have a lot to learn, and because this discussion isn’t about me. I can learn from it, love it, participate to some degree, but I have to understand that first and foremost, this discussion is for the kids who do not see themselves reflected in the books they read and the movies and TV shows they watch.

Which is probably what Bre Faucheux needs to learn the most. Promoting diversity in literature isn’t about what chances and opportunities we give to authors of marginalized identities, or the perception that we are taking those opportunities away from white/straight/cis/Christian/able writers. It’s about what the juvenile readers will gain by seeing themselves, by seeing people other than themselves, by learning empathy and gaining perspective that they won’t see in their everyday lives. If you want to center this discussion, center it on the people we do this for in the first place: young readers.

I Have an Agent!!!!!

Kimmy

No, this is not that “How I Got my Agent” post (though you can expect one in the future, because, come on, I’ve got an agent!) This is more of the “I announced it on Twitter and Facebook and Absolute Write on June 3rd and forgot about my blog” post. (Which might explain the spike in my usually dismal viewership on June 3rd despite not posting since April 9th.)

Suffice it to stay the weeks leading up to the announcement were like this:

Liz Lemon

 

And a little bit of this:

Squealing

And a whole lot of this:

 

New Girl

And in the end I got to post this, on Twitter:

Agent Announcement

(It looked more exciting with the giph twirling and glitter everywhere, but you get the point!)

So now I’m represented by Valerie Noble of Donaghy Literary group and my excitement level is pretty near this:

Shire party

Except the hard work is never done, so I’m going to go back to doing this:

Jim Carrey Typing

And maybe think about that “How I Got My Agent” post for the future!

TUNED INTO YOU Cover Reveal!

Hi there readers! Today I’m hosting Cindy Dorminy for the cover reveal of her young adult romance Tuned Into You! Stay tuned for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Here’s a little bit about Cindy herself:

About the Author

569c45_005fa26e151d45318f00dce401a6e8e6

Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese if she could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

Find her online!

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CindyD-Writes-870161859757429/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/48430676

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/cindydorminy

Website:

www.cindydwrites.com

About Tuned Into You

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

Add Tuned Into You to your Goodreads TBR list!

And now…


The Cover!

Tuned Into You_Cindy Dorminy_Cover

Isn’t it gorgeous? Anita at Race-point did the artwork, and she’s one of the best in the business!

Preorder Your Copy Today!

Giveaway

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The End of Lent: Good Friday

Cross on a hill

The end of Lent kind of snuck up on me. I kept thinking I had more time, more days, because there were more stories I wanted to share with my readers, but this is it. The wrap up of my Lenten Challenge 2016 series.

I’d like to say I will do it again next year, and maybe I will. But admittedly it has been rough going. I’ve had a few people who made nasty comments on Facebook about my posts, which clearly showed they neither read my words nor the articles I shared. And they certainly didn’t honor the idea that the purpose of this exercise was to learn from the viewpoints of another, rather than debate their own opinions.

And really, those are the people who truly need these posts. Not that I expect them to agree with every word, but rather when your heart is calcified by the vitriol of a certain kind of viewpoint, I think it is beneficial to step back, listen, learn, try to understand the people you are vilifying so vehemently. But that doesn’t happen. They just go right on hating what they don’t know.

It really is disheartening to see so much hate and prejudice in the world. And these are often “good” people. They go to church, believe in charity, consider themselves Christians. But then they pass heinous laws, or block LGBT non-discrimination policies in North Carolina, or they call for all Muslims to be banned from the USA, or vote for a candidate that uses hate and fear mongering to further his efforts. I hear things like, “With Gay Pride and Black History month, I feel lost in the shuffle. Why can’t I celebrate being white?” Or “That’s reverse discrimination.” Or “I grew up poor. Don’t talk to me about white privilege.” Or “Black lives matter? I think all lives matter.” All of which skirt the issues and ignore the pain that comes with discrimination in its many forms.

So what’s the cure for this disease? Because I really think it is. It’s a disease of the mind and the heart that spreads through well-meaning people who just don’t understand what it’s like to be “other,” because they’re not other. They are straight, white, cis-gender, Christians in a world that treats them as “normal” or the status quo. Which means if they (and me) are normal, then everyone else is “different.”

And that’s what I’d like to change. Stop thinking of yourself as the main character in everything. Start thinking of yourself as another piece of the immense puzzle that makes up this world. And in order to understand how your puzzle piece fits into the next one, you have to step away from your comfort zone and learn about someone else.

It’s simple really, though it will take time. And Google is there to help you along. Just type in “Growing up _______ in America.” Fill in that blank with whatever seems other to you: black, poor, LGBT, trans, Muslim, mentally ill, disabled, autistic, etc., etc. The list could go on forever. And don’t just read one first hand story. Read several, because every Muslim has a different story. They are not universal. Every person of the LGBT community has a different story. They are not universal. Do this everyday until maybe, just maybe, people stop seeming other to you, and just seem like people.

Post #43: Life When You’re Not Just Poor, but Deeply Poor

Brandy Price

This is the last of my Lenten Challenge 2016 posts. I’d like to share the story of Brandy, a poor young woman in Philadelphia raising three children. It shares not only the struggle of being poor, but also the indomitable human spirit of a woman trying to make life better for herself and her children.

Alfred Lubano: Life When You’re Not Just Poor, but Deeply Poor

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress
Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait
Post #42: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #42: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

Paul Heroux

Today I would like to share a lovely article by State Representative from Massachusetts Paul Heroux. I know nothing about Representative Heroux or his politics. I don’t even know if he is a Republican or a Democrat, but I personally don’t think that matters. He shares a story of a woman who has struggled with bipolar disorder and this puts a human face on an otherwise impersonal label. It is time we see the people behind the diagnosis.

Rep. Paul Heroux: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress
Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

Audre Lorde

The topic of intersectionality is an interesting one, bringing some people to deny its existence all together and others to argue that the intersection of our different identifiers can alter the affects of prejudice. This is an informative article from The Washington Post written by Kimberle Crenshaw that talks about this topic.

Kimberle Crenshaw: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With mental Illness
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*