So last week I was up to my neck in a discussion over at Dear Author about the lack of a multicultural presence in romance. Their rather self-serving solution was to have more white authors write multicultural characters, I guess as a sort of gateway to encourage white readers to read more multicultural characters. At least that’s the way I and several others interpreted the post. However, they subsequently claimed that they didn’t mean white authors, they meant “seasoned” authors to include best-sellers like Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson. Of course that makes no goddamned sense. Why would authors who already write multicultural characters need encouragement to do so?
It was only after people pointed out the potential for cultural appropriation, and the fact that white readers have no problem reading about “others” as long as the author is white they started backpedaling like crazy. They then trotted out that old chestnut that they’d love to read more black books. Jane claimed they would review more black books, but the ones they’ve read are just crappy. They further claim that publishers are saying the same thing, because you know those Negroes can’t write. I’m amused that it never dawned on them that they are filtering these books through privilege. That they can’t connect because the women don’t look like them. J.R. Ward understands that phenomenon. That’s why the heroes of her books are black in all but melanin content. It allows white women access to big black d!@k without the loss if privilege that comes with actual you know, big black dick. Much like those people who flipped out over Rue in “The Hunger Games.” Many white people have a problem with connecting with black people on an intimate level because they struggle to see our humanity. So books with black heroines will never go over with them, and that’s their problem with multicultural romance; IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM.
You’re hearing it from me first folks, within the next year or so there’s going to be a multicultural bestseller. Written by a white woman featuring a white or biracial heroine with a black man slathering all over her. They’ll all go apeshit over it, and exclaim that it’s soooo cutting edge and original and well-written. Why aren’t there more multicultural books? Don’t waste your time telling them about the thousands of multicultural books out there. What they really want are books by white authors.
So today someone posted an article on an author loop about the dearth of black books being reviewed in the New York Times. Someone actually took the time to study this and present actual data. Of course, those of us who are authors already knew this. Most of us have repeatedly requested reviews from mainstream sites only to be met with crickets. One of the reviewers at Dear Author mentioned that they don’t get many requests for reviews of black romance books. That maybe we think they’re biased. Uh duh. We KNOW they’re biased. Of the thousands of books they review each year I doubt that more than a dozen have a non-white author. And aside for a few Asian authors I can’t think of any that have gotten above a B and most receive Cs. They even gave Sharon Cullars’s Gold Mountain a B. I don’t bother to read their reviews because I learned long ago that most of the books they rave about are utter garbage. Bottom line or me is I don’t care if most of them never read or review my books. I know from experience that I won’t get a fair shake. But I would appreciate them leaving the genre alone, and certainly stop patting themselves on the back for “rescuing” multicultural romance.