Over on Lynn Scanlon's blog, there is a firestorm of controversy going on. Seriously, I have never, ever read 52 posts on anyone's blog. I read these.
I live in the Deep South. We have whites and blacks living next door to each other. We get along. Race is only an issue in political arguments and in other places. Here we get along and when we make friends, we forget what color we are because we are friends.
I do not see the reasoning behind a black author getting upset because she is asked, "Are you black?" There was to be a book signing in a bookstore in Florida. Someone emailed her and asked her that question and she hit the ceiling. There is more to the story (links are all on Lynn's blog so I won't relink here.) It seems that the bookstore is an African American bookstore. Why didn't this author share that bit of information in her rants?
The question is "Why?" Why get so upset if someone asks what color you are? If they read your book and couldn't tell, bully for you. If they are a black book store, then why in the world would you get upset if they asked what color you are and on top of that, why assume when you answered "yes" to that question that the answer would be wrong????
I just don't get it.
The claim is made that black authors are niched and boxed in to a place in the bookstore, you know, that corner where you find all the black authors. So?
I have found Colin Powell's book in the political section and ran across it in the biographies and again somewhere else to the point I was wondering if there were any other books in the store.
In my estimation, the focus is too close and narrow on this discussion. And it seems that no one is listening to anyone. I have read so many books in all my years that I can generally tell where an author is from just from reading the book. As I said on Lynn's blog. Background bleeds through into the prose. That's something that is great not bad. The truly sad thing these days is that fewer and fewer Americans are reading books. They tend to get their entertainment from TV and from xbox. I pray that books never go out of style, no matter what color the author.
The focus is too close because every author should be looking for the perfect hook to sell their books and should capitalize on their background, not decry it or cover it up.
I have many black friends and I adore them. We get caught up in the friendship and we forget there is a difference in our skin color. Is that a crime? Maybe I should keep reminding myself... no... I like it better this way.