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“We do not publish “reverse discrimination” stories. ”Reverse discrimination” stories are single issue stories that follow a predictable premise: what if [privileged real life group] was actually discriminated against/oppressed/un-privileged? Examples: what if most of society was gay, and straight people were the discriminated minority? What if most male babies were killed and men were kept just for breeding? What if everyone was intersex, and cis-sexual people were considered “freaks”? Etc. Not only are these “single issue” stories about discrimination (usually by authors with no real life experience with the forms of discrimination described, it’s just made up), these stories do not further our mission of promoting the inclusion and representation of real life minorities in spec fic. In fact, these stories do exact the opposite — they pretend that privileged, majority authors can understand and write about the dis-privileged/minority/oppressed perspective if they just turn the tables in a simplistic, linear thought experiment. These stories also often frame the real-life oppressed people as the new oppressors: violent, insensitive, bigoted, etc. We believe the spec fic world does not need more “Poor oppressed men! Poor oppressed straight people! etc.” stories. These stories only marginalize already marginalized people even more. Please let minority/dis-privileged authors speak for themselves.”—
“I’ve been REGULARLY getting plots pretty much like this in the Expanded Horizons slush pile for the four years we’ve been running the magazine. They’re standard fare, even though we have several explicit guidelines telling writers not to send them…which is less a “guideline” and more of a “no really, don’t send us this crap” rule…
“These stories are a dime a dozen. I’ve seen it with LGBT issues, with racial issues, with gender issues, and with other axes of identity. The concept is not new, not creative, not original, not fresh, and not clever. For any axis of real-world privilege, there are sci fi authors (and would-be authors) who think they are so clever for making themselves (as real-world privileged people) the “new oppressed people, oh woe is us!”
“…The sad truth is that this is the status quo of the slush pile, even for a magazine that explicitly demands that these stories not be sent to it. Usually, in my opinion, the authors are not explicitly setting out to be -ist, but they really misunderstand very basic things about How Oppression Works, and it shows, and it hurts.”
A List of Practical Ways to Protest "Save the Pearls"
Today, tumblr has exploded in opposition to Victoria Foyt’s novel “Revealing Eden,” the first book in her Save the Pearls series. This outpouring of intellectual criticism is great! Follow the “Save the Pearls” tag and you’ll found a huge collection of people who have written up poignant and articulate reasons why this book is a very, very bad thing. But what if you want to do more than post about it on tumblr?
- Rate the book 1 star on the websites for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and other popular book review sites. Even if you do not feel comfortable writing out a reason for your low rating, enough 1 stars will influence the book’s overall rating and discourage potential readers.
- Comment on the Save the Pearls Facebook page. It is actively maintained, so your comments will be read by some aspect of the publishing house.
- Reference Save the Pearls and Victoria Foyt on twitter. This is quick and fairly easy.
- The Save the Pearls website allows you to comment on the book’s video trailers and Eden’s blog. You may even submit your own videos there. Just be warned that the site has been “moderating” comments, so negative remarks may never actually be posted.
I will personally ask that all users who make direct comments towards the book and author refrain from using profanity, violence or threats, yet I accept that I cannot control or expect to control your actions. Use your best judgement.
Do you want to move beyond the Internet?
- Visit your local library to inquire whether or not they stock “Revealing Eden.” If yes, speak with the head librarian about the many options available for the library. You may start a petition to: a. remove and throw out any copies, b. personally buy the library’s copies from them, so that the establishment is reimbursed for the money they spent, or c. restrict access to the book for any reader under 18, requiring them to have a guardian’s permission in order to check out the book. Just keep in mind the library’s funding (or lack thereof) and how they typically acquire books. Some may find it painful and harmful to actually throw novels out, so offering donations or compromises will always be helpful.
- Create your own collection of alternatives that you can suggest/lend to potential readers. The genre of race-related dystopian fiction exists and there are high quality others out there. “Noughts & Crosses” by Malorie Blackman is a good place to start.
- Do not buy the book! If you are interested in reading it but do not support the author, then look into (legal) ways in which you can get a copy without giving money to the publishing house. Having one copy that you may lend throughout your circle of friends is a good idea, as is exchanging and borrowing digital copies through online libraries.
I do not recommend or advocate stealing copies of this book, destroying someone else’s property, or impeding upon an adult’s right to spend their money/read however they choose. If you want to have a bonfire, as I joked before, go for it. Just make sure that all copies are willingly and legally burned.
And as always, educate yourself on the matter at hand before taking action or criticizing those who take action. Tumblr is filled with wonderful commentary on what is wrong with this book series, so in addition to the Save the Pearls tag, here are a few of my favorites: X x X x X x
Save the Pearls
Official Website: http://www.SaveThePearls.com/
Youtube Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/savethepearls
Victoria Foyt website: http://www.victoriafoyt.com/contact
Report, send email, messages to let them know this isn’t okay at all.
Victoria Foyt of Save the Pearls inspired me to write a book called “Crackers At It Again” where the plot is set in a post apocalyptic world in which people of color are constantly bugged the fuck out of by privilege-denying white people. The main protagonist of my novel is a young WOC who puts on whiteface because in that world, white supremacy and internalized racism was completely unavoidable. I might win a Pulitzer for it.
I can't, guys...
I can’t even ragequit over this. I actually refuse to.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Victoria Foyt decided to write a dystopian young adult series called Save the Pearls in which global warning has made dark skin and its supposed ability to withstand “The Heat” the most valuable genetic manifestation one can possess. This increases their “mate rate” in a world where people must mate at an early age for some reason or another. You can read more about the story’s premise here (from the author’s failure-ridden interview with the Huffington post) and here (which includes some amazing commentary from Tumblr users).
Let’s dissect this waste of monetary resources, paper, and cosmic existence.
Victoria Foyt has commented that there has been a “ lack of racial commentary” for her book “Save the Pearls”. I am taking it to mean that no one has inspected the book from a racial/racism perspective. Someone forward her this post by Dion Beary, ‘Save the Pearls”, which is quiet excellent. Maybe this way she would learn something. Here are is a little excerpt:
To put it lightly, this book is problematic, but to put it more accurately, this book is catastrophically misguided. It doesn’t take much effort to unpack the racial implications of this one. You don’t need to look any further than Foyt’s own summary of the novel. The protagonist, Eden Newman (the name Eden here obviously is meant to signify purity), lives in a world where dark-skinned people are the dominate members of society. They’re known as Coals. I can’t imagine why the ruling class of the world would choose to name themselves after something so dirty. Oh wait. It’s probably because Victoria Foyt is a racist. Eden
Newman has the unfortunate luck to have been born blonde-haired and blue-eyed. These people are known as Pearls. Again, the ruling class of society inexplicably gives a better name to the supposed underclass. Wow, it’s almost as if white people are still the dominate class, even in a fantasy novel based on the premise that they’re oppressed. In this post-apocalyptic world, those with darker-skin are more valued because they’re better equipped to handle the intense heat of the planet. Therefore, Pearls are considered weak, ugly, and have the lowest chance to find a good mate. However, choosing to defy the logic of her own novel, Foyt writes that mixed-race children, even though they can survive the heat better, are still ridiculed in a similar fashion to the Pearls. Why? Who the fuck knows?
My favorite part is how the Uni-Gov, the Big Black Brother of Foyt’s novel, has a law that says the Pearls are only allowed to go outside at night, and only if they’re wearing heavy layers of makeup to darken their skin. That’s right: black face features prominently in this totally not racist novel. Foyt writes that even if Pearls follow all the oppressive rules created for them, they’re still considered lucky to survive to their 40′s. You know, kind of like black men such as Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin.
Edit: An amazing black person wrote her a letter, too. It’s an excellent piece.
i am so fucking tired of white people thinking we live in a post-racial society
because we don’t live in a post-racial society
teaching your child to be colorblind is wrong
being colorblind yourself is wrong because it implies that here is something wrong and undesirable about color, that it makes you uncomfortable and that people of color are somehow obligated to pretend that they are racially the same as white people when in fact nothing could be more untrue.
i am a young adult and for victoria foyt to attest that she hopes my generation views race in a unique manner—that is, a manner according to her and an extension of her which is her bullshit book and yet again the color fucking blind manner which is nothing unique and nothing new—is frankly insulting. it is insulting to my experience as a woman of color and the racism, scrutiny and otherization i have had to withstand my whole life long.
her book is nothing revolutionary, it is nothing new. it once again has a white heroine like any other book in mainstream fiction. it employs vile stereotypes about black people and particularly black men, establishing the white woman as the victim and the black man as her sexualized oppressor. she uses once again the narrative that led to black men dying, being abused and dehumanized for perceived offenses against white women. once again the white woman victim complex that i cannot fucking stand.
and yet this woman still has the gall to insist that she’s not racist, she’s colorblind
i have a friend who works with ya publishing
and here is what she has to say about the victoria foyt matter and problem
re: victoria foyt. but she’s not really someone any of us have to worry about? her first book sold in 2007 and went out of print (which meant her it sold absolutely nothing - a 5 year print run is short for publishing - even the lowest book has a longer run than that) and her second book is self published which means she has ZERO REACH.
bookstores aren’t stocking her, reps aren’t seeing her, none of the trade conferences know she exists. and my fear (which may be unfounded?) is that this sudden boost in traffic is something she’s going to use to reach people who WILL buy her book.
This Tumblr bomb and criticism may actually be used as fuel for Foyt to perhaps market her book as “shocking”, “provocative” etc. and to use the sudden influx of people learning about Save the Pearls to her advantage.
What do you guys think? Should we all continue to criticize her in the most vocal manner possible or does her relative anonymity suffice to staunch our criticism? Should we resist making her more famous than she already has become in the last few months?
“Not too many years ago, I can imagine that this story might have generated heated comments about the sexualized fantasies about black men. And yeah, there was one. And having checked out that blogger, I strongly suspect that he belongs to a much older generation than young adults. Otherwise, I'm happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest. So what does the lack of any racial outrage or puzzlement or fervor amidst the tremendous rain of positive reviews possibly say? Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she's the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category. Or perhaps -- and this is what I hope -- the YA generation sees race in a way that is unique to them, unique in our history. After all, they have arrived on the scene decades past the integration of schools and Jim Crow, even well past the days of The Cosby Show. Soap-mouth-washing words that were forbidden in my youth now populate rap songs so often I wonder if, happily, they have lost their vile connotations. I have endeavored to raise my children with a color-free mentality. My son once mentioned that his color was white while mine was tan. This was said with no more feeling than if he'd been describing the different colors of our bedrooms. No doubt most kids today would laugh at or find puzzling an incident that I now see influenced the way I thought about race in a blink of an instant.”—
Victoria Foyt, excerpt from Interracial Relationships Seen Through Eyes of Young Adults.
She seems to be operating under the misconception that racism and races are a thing of the past. This new generation does not understand racism and that colorblindness is a way in which we can move forward in this racism-free future.
Racism does still exist. Colorblindness is simply a tool that erases the idea of racism and the experiences related to it. You’re not helping, Ms. Foyt. You’re a part of the problem.
And your friends, your editors, the people who did not stop you from doing this are too. You should step back and listen to the people who are telling you this is racist and you should not dismiss them as ‘too old to understand this new generation’ or ‘too closed minded for the genre’.
The way this book is described, it sounds like you’re allowing us (white people) to perpetuated damning stereotypes and racist fears about a world run by people of color.
You CANNOT turn racism on it’s head and write about the experiences of racism from the white perspective because you DO NOT know those experiences. We’re white. We never will. We cannot understand them because we will never suffer through them.
We can pretend to be colorblind because the effects of racism don’t hurt us, but they’re still screwing over everyone else. That’s privilege—our inability to see how we benefit, harm and affect things like this because they’re not immediately visible to us as white people.
And if I’ve said something wrong, someone call me out. Similarly, I’m sure someone more informed and articulate can tackle this.
enter a world the media tyrants DON'T want you to read about...
a future turned “upside bone” where in this world, skeletons (“fripps”) hold all the power and the living teens (“enos”) suffer discrimination, disparity and femur thwacks. how can teens find love when having skin is enough to send you to the “rib cage”. how can they beat the cruel game of “bones buy more bones”. read all about it in my new YA young adult novel series, ＹＯＵＴＨＤＥＡＴＨ 2088, coming to a crowdfund’em site this fall