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It’s Only My Opinion, But You Are a Mean Girl

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This is the second part in How to Fling About Legal Insults Like a Lawyer. One of the questions last week wondered whether free speech was simply unfettered. Absolutely not and I don’t mean for this series to imply that, but I do know that over the space of a year and a half, I’ve had more than one person threaten legal action. I always take those threats seriously because they implicate not only me, but also my dear blogging partners. Further, these threats can intimidate others who are less familiar with the law into taking down posts, apologizing for perceived wrongdoing, and so forth.

The First Amendment is not intended to protect every utterance. Instead, what the court, any court, has to do is weigh the balance between the right of a person to be free of something injurious and harmful or, in other words, to be free of defamation, and the right of the press and the public to engage in critical discourse. As one legal scholar has said, hurt feelings are not to be redressed in the court of law: “Although scathing characterizations can be hurtful, the law of defamation does not provide redress whenever feelings and sensibilities are offended.” Ward v. Zelikovsky, 643 A.2d 972 (N.J. 1994) citing Harper, 2 The Law of Torts  § 5.1, at 24.

One of the more difficult concepts to grasp is the difference between opinion and fact. In the 1974 case of Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 339-40 (1974), the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects statements of opinions.

We note that to restrict too severely the right to express such opinions, no matter how annoying or disagreeable, would be [sic] dangerous curtailment of a First Amendment right. Individuals should be able to express their views about the prejudices of others without the chilling effect of a possible lawsuit in defamation resulting from their words.

Rybas v. Wapner, 311 Pa.Super. 50, 457 A.2d 108, 110 (1983). In Rybas, the Unhappy Person was a landlord who was accused of being anti-Semitic in a letter from a tenant’s lawyer, the MeanGirl. The Pennsylvania Court found that the statement, while “offensive”, was not defamatory.

The problem of what is opinion and what is fact is one that plagues even the courts. Judge Easterbrook, in the Stevens v. Tillman case I discuss below stated the “courts have wrestled with the question . . . and have come up with buckets full of factors to consider but no useful guidance on what to do when they look in opposite directions, as they always do.” Stevens v. Tillman, 855 F.2d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 1988).

Judge Easterbrook muses philosophically in Stevens , arguing that the there can almost be no difference between opinion and fact.

Most efforts to separate "fact" from "opinion" start with the belief that a "fact" is something verifiable, while an opinion is not. The branch of philosophy known as logical positivism is built on the proposition than only what is verifiable is worth debating (more rigorously, that "there are no synthetic a priori statements except this one– ), but it has fallen on hard times not only because no one can separate the "verifiable" from the"non-verifiable" (was the statement "there are craters on the other side of the moon" an opinion that turned to fact when we gained the ability to put satellites in orbit around the moon?), but also because most philosophers believe that there are useful ways to debate even non-verifiable statements.

Whatever Judge Easterbrook wrote (in the court’s unanimous opinion), the truth is that most courts ostensibly follow the rule that an opinion is a statement that has no verifiable facts or, stated another way, is objectively incapable of proof or disproof. Courts use a multi factor test, and all the factors tend to examine whether a reasonable person (that’s the objective part) would view the statement as verifiable by facts. A statement can move from opinion to defamatory fact if the author implies that there are “facts” to support the opinion. Confused yet?

Courts often use examples to make explain their decision as to whether a statement is a fact or is an opinion and thus it is easier to use examples to explain the paradigmatic differences.

defamation

Jennifer McKenzie asked last week whether the statement “That person is racist" was defamatory. This depends on whether the statement is an invective or has factual basis that is implied. Restatement (Second) of Torts  § 566. For example, in Horowitz v. Baker, 523 N.E.2d 179 (Ill. Ct. App. 1988), the statements about Unhappy Person included "sleazy– , "cheap– , "pull a fast one– , "secret– , and "rip-off– . Alone and without corresponding facts, the statements imply that the Unhappy Person was engaged in bad, unlawful, and unethical acts. The newspaper that printed the statements, however, based those statements on truthful facts and thus the opinion statements were not defamatory.

In Como v. Riley, 731 N.Y.2d 387, 387 (N.Y. App. Div. 2001) the court found that an action could be brought on the basis that an email was sent entitled “Racism” with the statement that the Unhappy Person’ office cubicle contained a statuette of a black man hanging from a white noose. Of course, if the Unhappy Person actually had a statuette of a black man hanging from a noose like object in the cubicle, the email would have not been defamatory because it would have been true.

In Stevens v. Tillman, 855 F.2d 394 (7th Cir. 1988), the Second Circuit of Appeals, found that statements of bigotry were not actionable without corresponding factual inferences. Id. at __. An elementary principal, the Unhappy Person, sued the president of the local PTA, the MeanGirl, for calling the principal a racist. Some of the statements by the MeanGirl president included the following:

We found in our investigation that our principal must be removed…. Our principal is very insensitive to the needs of our community, which happens to be totally black. She made very racist statements during the boycott. She is a racist. She must go. We cannot have racist people around our children…. She made numbers of very racist statements, so many that I would use all of my time to explain to you some of the statements that were made.

Easterbrook writes that the term racism has been bandied about so frequently that it has become “watered down” and become “common coin in political discourse.” I know of one particular author who blogs quite frequently about individuals being racist but I’ve generally viewed her statements as name-calling and opinion rather than statements of fact, no matter how hurtful or offensive. Let me quote some more from Easterbrook:

Language is subject to levelling forces. When a word acquires a strong meaning it becomes useful in rhetoric. A single word conveys a powerful image. When plantation owners held blacks in chattel slavery, when 100 years later governors declared "segregation now, segregation forever– , everyone knew what a "racist" was. The strength of the image invites use. To obtain emotional impact, orators employed the term without the strong justification, shading its meaning just a little. So long as any part of the old meaning lingers, there is a tendency to invoke the word for its impact rather than to convey a precise meaning. We may regret that the language is losing the meaning of a word, especially when there is no ready substitute. But we serve in a court of law rather than of language and cannot insist that speakers cling to older meanings. In daily life "racist" is hurled about so indiscriminately that it is no more than a verbal slap in the face; the target can slap back (as Stevens did). It is not actionable unless it implies the existence of undisclosed, defamatory facts, and Stevens has not relied on any such implication

Is Easterbrook and the Stevens opinion binding on absolutely all actions of defamation? Of course not. It’s merely illustrative and I thought that Easterbrook’s well thought out and philosophical ruminations interesting and helpful. There are fewer and fewer successful cases of defamation, in part because rhetoric is not usually going to be found to be defamatory. A few more examples of non actionable statements:

  • a reporter accused of sloppy and irresponsible reporting. Cole v. Westinghouse Broadcasting Co., Inc. 435 N.E.2d 1021 (Mass 1982).
  • accusation of a reporter being a “fellow traveler” of “facists” susceptible to wide interpretations. Buckley v. Littell , 539 F.2d 882 (2d Cir. 1976).
  • article stating a women’s basketball coach had a tendency to “screw things up” when it came to her team was not defamatory because the statement was not so obviously false and that “‘[s]ports columnists frequently offer intemperate denunciations of coaches’ play calling or strategy.” Washington v. Smith, 80 F.3d 555, 557 (D.C. App. 1996).

On the other side of the coin, you cannot excuse defamatory statements by using the prefatory words, “in my opinion” or “I think” because “it would be destructive of the law of libel if a writer could escape liability for accusations of crime simply by using, explicitly or implicitly, the words ‘I think.’” Cianci v. New Times Publishing Co., 639 F.2d 1200 (2d. Cir. 1980).

Calling someone a mean girl, a hack, or hateful are all opinions with no concrete meaning. What one person defines as mean, another will say is dislikeable but not mean. Calling someone a writer with no discernible skills and can’t plot her way out of a paper bag is also opinion. Writing that Jane Doe is a thief and a liar are closer to the fact side of the diagram. If a person would write Jane Doe is a liar and then show examples that I had taken blog articles and republished them as my own, it is not likely defamatory since the facts are there and can be verified as truth. (I have not done this, of course. I am merely using it as an example).

As I stated at the preface of this article, I am not advocating a system by which bloggers or commenters hurl invectives without conscience. In fact, if you can bear one more Easterbrook quote, he wrote “civilized discourse should be the aspiration of us all.” Stevens, 855 F.3d at 405. But the right to passionate should not be chilled by unhealthy threats of lawsuits as it is not the civil discourse or moderate speech that is subject to condemnation. Id. at 399.

It’s a balance. If there are questions, please post and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Next week: The standards I am referring to above are standards that apply to the criticism of a public figure. By and large, if a blog article is about an author, that author is a public figure. I’ll address the differences next week in part 3 of many parts. Defamation per se v. Defamation per quod and the media defendant.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

512 Comments

  1. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:04:05

    I didn't see it as saying that other races have it worse – I saw it as an opportunity to look behind the arguments against reading about AA characters. Doesn't that raise interesting questions about perceptions and how identifiable characters are? Doesn't that run counter to comments where people say they can't identify with black characters – after all, if you can read Sheik romances, Victorian damsels and Indian heroes/heroines, why not AA characters? Doesn't it actually validate what AA authors have said?

    I have to say I was more than a little surprised to be confronted for arguing that non-AA readers do, can, and will embrace AA Romance, as they have embraced sheik and NA Romance, but such seems to be the way of this discussion, of the strong feelings people have and the way all of our preconceptions shape the debate. It just doesn’t seem logical to me to argue for integration of AA Romance without believing that it will sell to non-AA readers. I mean, if you don’t believe it will sell broadly, then why argue for its integration, since many AA readers seem to prefer the separate shelving and imprints?

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  2. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:18:54

    Robin,

    You bring up and EXCELLENT point

    I have to say I was more than a little surprised to be confronted for arguing that non-AA readers do, can, and will embrace AA Romance

    Not by me. This is my hope. I have a slight resentment because of nonblack authors writing black heroes BUT not getting niched in the AA category with me and all the rest of the black folks, but instead with all the other romances…but this is nothing but a touch of base jealousy. It is a GOOD thing. It helps readers because accustomed to characters of all races and know their humanity, their love, can be the same as theirs.

    What I want is to write characters of whatever races too and be treated just like any other other author, not singled out as a black author. That’s it. I want to be treated like any other romance author, no special treatment, no special race-based niche, just let me ride on my writing and story like anybody else.

    It just doesn't seem logical to me to argue for integration of AA Romance without believing that it will sell to non-AA readers. I mean, if you don't believe it will sell broadly, then why argue for its integration, since many AA readers seem to prefer the separate shelving and imprints?

    Now this is your kickass smart point. I argue for its integration because I want to be treated like other romance authors. I want my books available to all and sink and swim on their content, not the color of my skin. I’m not afraid of the competition (and it is considerable…sheesh, Nora alone is equal to a dozen, maybe more).

    Not all black authors feel the same. I can’t speak for them.

    This is about what I think is right and what I want. I want to write romance and it be romance. Period. Available to all people, regardless of their race.

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  3. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:21:27

    I do think that the race topic makes you highly personally uncomfortable and you ALWAYS come up with one or usually both topics (in looooong posts) to deflect or defuse the topic.

    This is patently untrue at even the most superficial level.

    What you did was to attempt to derail the topic away from blacks in romance to something far more comfortable to the majority here.

    I’ve already responded to this multiple times.

    So I don't see where the discussion of Asian, Hispanic or native American authors or characters are relevant to the segregation of blacks in romance-other than to derail the topic to a more comfortable one.

    Well, I wasn’t talking about authors or characters. But it doesn’t matter, because the fact that I won’t say “you’re right, Monica, NO ONE had it worse than African Americans and you are so right to call readers racist indiscriminately” means that you will always see me as an apologist. Oh, well. That you can’t see where I’m coming from, my own willingness to take on AA Romance as equal to every other Romance, simply means that you’re squandering the help of an ally in what you say is your mission to integrate AA Romance. Honestly, sometimes I think you’re mission is simply to rant about how racist white America is (because all the times you’ve said you don’t think anything will change have made me think you have no faith that AA Romance WILL ever be integrated), but I’m trying to ignore all that because I agree that AA Romance needs to be integrated. I don’t agree with you that everyone you think is racist either deserves to be called that or is, indeed, racist.

    You as the humongous romance reader contingent have ENORMOUS power. If you wanted it changed and made it known, it would be changed, and quickly.

    You mean in the same way we’ve managed to get Westerns back, or historically epic historical Romance, or better copyediting? I wish.

    It really needs to be discussed honestly. And not derailed.

    Oh, I so agree with you.

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  4. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:21:52

    Bravo, Robin for maintaining your cool. ;)

    Regarding the comparison to NA and sheik romances, it's a good comparison because the two groups represent the primary “Other” groups in the genre. I wrote a long ass post on AAR about the differences among AA romances and those groups a long time (never went anywhere).

    See, I think it's the way those groups are imported into Romance. NA and sheiks are exoticised and romanticized because there were masculine elements in both cultures that Americans (the West) liked and admired. The brave savage, the harsh and brutal masculinity of desert nomads, etc. Plus, NA and sheiks are considered distinct from America, they're discrete cultures on their own terms.

    Whereas African Americans came into America as slaves, less than the bottom of the rung. For centuries, AA were considered animals or property. They are a part of American history in a sordid, dehumanizing way. What's to exoticise or romanticize about in this scenario?

    Will be back later tonight.

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  5. Holly
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:24:32

    I have a slight resentment because of nonblack authors writing black heroes BUT not getting niched in the AA category with me and all the rest of the black folks, but instead with all the other romances

    Monica, may I ask you a question? Because I honestly don’t know…how do publishers know which authors are black and which are white? I honestly don’t understand. I mean, if a white author submits a manuscript with a black h/h, and they get shelved in the regular romance section..is it because they say, “Hey, I’m a white author writing about black people?”

    I’m really not being facetious. I’m honestly curious. I don’t understand how publishers KNOW what race/ethnicity their authors are upon submission.

    Or are you speaking more about well established authors that do that?

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  6. Michelle
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:42:51

    Lynne (comment 399) thank you so much for stating your observation and opinion I agree with it 100%.

    Also supporting your friends is important BUT if you are a writer or wannabe writer please consider your profession and act professional. Being petty and insulting others, especially well respected people in the same field(Nora), is career suicide. Romanceland is small and readers have long memories. Especially be careful if your buddy is a pot stirrer (cough ferfe cough). In all the mud you are slinging some will surely fly back and hit you in the face. As others have said unfortunately, and maybe not fairly, writers are placed to a higher standard and have a lot more to lose than a blogger/reader. Also defending plagerism is never a smart move or one to lend you credibility. (So do you think we will reach 500 posts?)

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  7. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 18:53:59

    Robin, I actually do consider you an ally. But why can’t you take my word for it? I have a decent memory and EVERY time I’ve challenged you it was because of one of those two apologia you raised in a discussion of black race and romance.

    A lot of races have it worse than AAs in general and many arenas, a LOT of races. I will readily agree with that.

    But none has it worse in the U.S. romance genre. That’s all I’ve ever asked you to admit and let’s deal with that.

    Holly,

    if a white author submits a manuscript with a black h/h, and they get shelved in the regular romance section..is it because they say, “Hey, I'm a white author writing about black people?”

    If a white author subs a mss to her regular nonblack romance imprint, it would go to the regular romance shelves, If she were a known mainstream author such as Suzanne, Nora or Barbara (first name recognition, now that’s bank) it would go to the regular commercial fiction shelves. If they slapped a black chick on the cover and nobody knew who that author was–and she wasn’t with a regular nonblack imprint, but mainstream fiction, it might well be shelved with us Negroes, over there, in the back of the bus and only get marketed to other blacks.

    I recently wrote a blog that more black authors should submit to nonblack imprints as nonblacks and leave race out of their mainstream imprints too, submitting as nonblacks under pseudonyms.

    The deal is the separate black imprints. They troll for us and it is a siren’s call. I got a contract in front of my face from a black imprint, am I going to submit as a brand new author to a nonblack imprint. When I have time. But I always have another deadline.

    That deal is why some black authors don’t agree with me–we have a ready made market and sales arena for our books, a distinct niche that hungers for books…a lot of them. Blacks buy and read more books statistically, I’ve heard, than any other race. Black readers support our careers (Love, love, love you!)

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  8. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:03:39

    You mean in the same way we've managed to get Westerns back, or historically epic historical Romance, or better copyediting? I wish.

    If the majority of romance readers were talking with their pocketbooks, you’d have all those things. Pubs and editors are looking at sales numbers and sales numbers or MONEY only. Westerns and historical epics must not be making the money they once did and readers must buy despite the sometimes lax copyediting. If romance numbers and MONEY fell and there was a reader outcry it was because of copyediting, NY would invest in double copyedits or something.

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  9. asked~answered.com
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:16:05

    Ja(y)ne: Yes, Jane is a lawyer. Robin is a lawyer. Jan, Janine and I (Jayne) are not lawyers.

    Robin now needs to come along and illuminate us. As best as I recall, Robin took the July 2007 bar. States are just beginning to report their bar results. Being charitable and assuming a successful bar exam for Robin and a successful character and fitness application, she must still be sworn in. So, considering how likely you are to be incorrect at this point in time in stating Robin is a lawyer, I have no faith in your similarly easy statement of Jane being one as well.

    And if you can dignify my question with a reply, why can’t Jane?

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  10. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:21:02

    A lot of races have it worse than AAs in general and many arenas, a LOT of races. I will readily agree with that.

    But none has it worse in the U.S. romance genre. That's all I've ever asked you to admit and let's deal with that.

    No, it isn’t, Monica. One of the last times we had this discussion you made the following assertions:

    Most people who are not black (and I say most, not all, some Mexican immigrants may have a decent idea), have no idea what racism feels like. . . .

    You really should take my word for it. In this country, being black is special. And it’s not because we want it that way, believe me.

    Look, I believe you passionately want AA Romance to be treated equally to ever other kind of Romance. I want that, as well. But I think there’s so much more at play here for you, and while I don’t blame you for your anger and frustration, I also think that there’s nothing I could say besides “yes, Monica, you’re right about everything” for you to see me as okay. And I can’t — and won’t — do that. If it’s not enough that I think you’re right to want to be treated equally to all other Romance authors then so be it. It seems to me that should be enough, especially if I’m willing to treat AA Romance equally and to make my support of integration heard.

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  11. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:21:11

    And if you can dignify my question with a reply, why can't Jane?

    Dear Lord in Heaven, why does it matter? If they can speak legalese, cite accurate cases to support their points AND make sense, that’s good enough for me, bar exam passed or not.

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  12. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:26:00

    Robin now needs to come along and illuminate us.

    I’ve said numerous times that I’m not yet a lawyer. But I think a lot of people think that if you have a law degree that means you’re a lawyer (and in some states you are).

    And if you can dignify my question with a reply, why can't Jane?

    I’m not trying to be rude here, but why does Jane owe you or anyone else the details of her personal or professional life? Although if you read the blog regularly, I think the question would have been answered for you already.

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  13. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:28:24

    Hell Robin, even I don’t say I’m right about everything.

    And where are getting the quote? What were we talking about? Did it veer from blacks and romance? Must have. I must have been responding to one of your insertions of other races in the topic and was like WTF?

    You expect me to admit to stuff, such as I tend to be strident and accusatory rather than thinking things out carefully before I post, especially when emotional. Why can’t I expect you to admit to stuff such as a tendency to apologia? It doesn’t make you bad or any worse than me for that matter. Nobody is perfect.

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  14. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:36:31

    Why can't I expect you to admit to stuff such as a tendency to apologia? It doesn't make you bad or any worse than me for that matter. Nobody is perfect.

    I’m not claiming perfection, Monica. My comments are right out there for everyone to see and judge for themselves (and the discussion took place at Sarah Frantz’s blog). But you make this “apologia” assertion like it’s fact and not just your interpretation. As for the race-Romance thing, I basically feel that if I talk about Romance, you want to nail me for not talking about race in society. If I talk about race in society, you want to ding me for refusing to talk ONLY about African Americans, or agreeing with you that almost no one else knows racism. I don’t think you’re trying to shift the ground underneath me, but like I said, I think there’s so much at stake here for you that everything is bound together for you in a way that it isn’t for me. So we end up talking at cross purposes. Hopefully someone else is getting something out of it, though.

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  15. Jackie L.
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 19:40:17

    Well, it turns out I owe my local BN an apology. See, I just zoom in there on Wednesday (my day off), the day after the release date for one of my “auto-buys” because I can’t get the book until Thursday from Amazon. (I know, I know, my family wants me to find a 12-step for my reading addiction.) Plus, it’s fun to tell them that the latest LaNora is going to be NUMBER ONE on the frickin’ NYT bestseller list in a couple of weeks, and they would sell more of her books if they weren’t still in the back room on a cart. (Twits.)

    So I went in and actually scanned the Romance section of the BN. Lo and behold, there were about a dozen different AA romance authors (if one can judge a book by its cover). All were shelved in the romance section alphabetically by author. There were 5 other authors shelved with the Harlequin-Silhouette books in the far back, on the bottom shelf. Different imprint I’m guessing.

    Filed in the J’s was an anthology edited by some Monica person. (Kidding!)

    So out in white suburbia, the AA romances are shelved with all the other romances. They’re weren’t very many different authors, but there was no segregation.

    On the NEW and EXCITING stand out shelf were two books by AA authors and some other person (Sarah McCarty) who writes erotica, I think, maybe. (Kidding! Again.)

    If this can happen where I live, there is hope.

    On Bianca’s side of things, I was checking Amazon and Sharon Cullars, who wasn’t in my BN. The blurb for one of her books was about an older woman falling in love with her son’s friend.

    Now, for me, that is just yucky, yucky. Falling in love, with say, Fuzzy or Chewy or Guppy Brain (my middle son’s best friends)–ewwwww.

    Then I thought about my oldest son’s best friends–one kid tried to set fire to my house. Another one is called Fox ’cause he looks like a fox (the red furry kind, not the OMG Hottie kind).

    Doesn’t work for me. Couldn’t finish the book by LaVyrle Spencer that featured a mom falling for her son’s friend. Feels like I dunno, child abuse or incest or something. No way gonna do it for me. I don’t identify with the heroines, these girls are very interesting and I am not. But not gonna read something that feels wrong.

    As for finding AA men attractive. Denzel, WOOT! Does my husband know about this? Sure. The one time he asked why I married a short nerdy white guy when I think AA guys are hot, I asked him if he studied the blue girl in the X-men movies so closely because he admired the costumers’ skill. I’m not thinking so.

    So I kinda overlooked the AA authors out of I dunno why. So now I’m gonna correct that. But not if I don’t finish my mounds of paperwork so I can get home.

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  16. Jayne
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 20:14:31

    Okay, you got me. Jane’s not a lawyer. But she did “stay at a Holiday Inn (Express)” the night before she wrote the post.

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  17. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 20:26:29

    But you make this “apologia” assertion like it's fact and not just your interpretation.

    Angela said the same thing. And if there were more blacks who felt comfortable commenting, they might say the same thing too. THIS IS NOT AN INDICTMENT OR AN ACCUSATION! NOBODY IS CALLING YOU RACIST! You are more cogent and far more intelligent than most. There’s just that li’l thing you do. Usually, I can deal with it, but I do often want to say something (as Angela did). Way back in the comments, I mentioned that you had two notes, remember? Well, those were the two.

    Wow, I sorta like the all-caps thing.

    As for the race-Romance thing, I basically feel that if I talk about Romance, you want to nail me for not talking about race in society. If I talk about race in society, you want to ding me for refusing to talk ONLY about African Americans, or agreeing with you that almost no one else knows racism.

    I would never say no one but AAs know racism, not even here in the U.S and definitely not in the world. I just want to talk about race in Romance.

    I can’t take on the whole AA in society thing. Actually, I’m rather conservative on some issues. When I talk on these forums, it’s narrow, the group of AA romance authors vs Romance. That small and select group of AAs are mostly professionals, middle-class, intelligent savvy women who write. I identify with my sister authors. Now, all AAs in society is a humongous, diverse group and I won’t take that one on,

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  18. Bianca
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 20:39:06

    Black men are not societally accepted as sexual fantasy objects in any media.
    ===================

    Uhhhh, wha??????

    hmmmmm..

    Luther Vandros
    Denzel Washington
    Whoever it is that plays Blade
    Whatever basketball player it is, that has crazy hair.
    Tiger Williams

    Heck, even flava flav if you go by mtv stuff.

    These are all considered sexy symbols. Just because I don’t swoon, doesn’t mean their aren’t a whole heck of lot of women of all stripes who do.

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  19. Bianca
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 20:40:54

    This is just a marketing thought. You want more readership for AA romances. Get some more well known eye candy to pose for the covers.

    giggles at the image of a Black fabio, complete with hair.

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  20. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 20:44:21

    Hey Bianca, I meant black dudes don’t get to actually do the nasty with the white girl onscreen…at least in mainstream venues. Steve Barnes, a SFF writer, has a lot about this on his blog

    http://darkush.blogspot.com/

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  21. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:08:14

    Apologies for the rushed job I did in #404. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that, in regards to those for whom AA romances are not the exotic escapes that NA and sheik romances may be:. One potential reason for the disconnect is because we just have a different history with AAs as opposed to NA and even the Arab world. I think there is a distance that allows us to exoticize NAs and sheiks sort of guilt-free. But relationships with AA are so close and tangled, maybe we’re too close to fetishize it but too far–at least in our minds–to just accept it as US. Not sure if that makes sense. Anyway, I know it’s all theory, but couldn’t help myself.

    I do though think once we get past the simple unawareness that AA romances exist–which is a huge hurdle in itself– we’d still find a lot of hesitation from non-AAs about reading them. Not because everyone’s Ebil White Racists, but that, as Bianca illustrated, it seems so alien.

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  22. Heather Holland
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:35:30

    Whoever it is that plays Blade

    Wesley Snipes
    He was also in Demolition Man and To Wong Foo among many other things.

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  23. Shannon
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:38:25

    Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds is one of the sexiest men to ever grace my television set. Just sayin’.

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  24. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:44:52

    They don’t let the black dudes often do the nasty onscreen with WHITE chicks in movies or TV, that’s what I meant (Asian dudes either for that matter).

    This never did break my heart, but Steve Barnes has blogged a lot about it

    http://darkush.blogspot.com

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  25. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:46:23

    Anu: I think I know exactly what you’re trying to say. I was ruminating on some of the same ideas in post #46, and I definitely think the distinction you’re drawing is important to think about. One thing I’ve found strange, though, is how sheik heroes seem to be more popular than ever despite the post 9/11 media portrayal of Arab men. Even agreeing with so much of what you’ve said, that relationship still fascinates me, because of massive amount of media linking terrorism with the Middle East. Why is that do you think? With the Native American heroes, I think there’s sometimes a regeneration of the “noble savage” fiction, and a reversal of the historical degradation of Native American culture (ii.e. the ‘disappearing’ Indian). But the sheik thing seems something different to me, and I can’t quite figure it out, especially with the potent suspicion directed at Arab Americans these days.

    Jane reviewed that one Susan Mallery sheik book that really didn’t read as the straight exoticization of the sheik, but I started another one recently that absolutely made me crazy (by the same author, too). So there’s definitely not just one eroticized image we’re dealing with, even relative to the sheik. I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t think we can predict how more African American heroes will be received once they’re no longer marked as separate in publication and shelving. Even though the racial dynamics are different between Arabs (and Arab Americans) and African Americans, the relationship between readers and heroes isn’t clear cut to me, either. How many women would worship a guy like Sebastien Verlaine from Gaffney’s To Have and to Hold in real life? Or how about Linda Howard’s alphas? And not every reader needs to fall in love with the hero or identify with the heroine, so that makes a difference, as well.

    Also, sometimes I wonder whether the popularity of paranormals won’t actually help open the genre up to more cultural and racial diversity, but that’s another topic, I think. I know that in some ways paranormals have acted as kind of a stand-in for race, but I don’t know if that portends less racial authenticity in the genre or more.

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  26. Heather Holland
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:46:40

    Must agree, love the guy from Criminal Minds.

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  27. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:46:40

    Who’s that dude on The Unit and the Allstate commercials (I don’t watch much TV)

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  28. Heather Holland
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:50:20

    Who's that dude on The Unit and the Allstate commercials (I don't watch much TV)

    Dennis Haysbert
    and the other one is Demore Barnes.

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  29. Shannon
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:51:29

    Dennis Haysbert. Also incredibly sexy.

    I can’t, off the top of my head, think of a black man/white woman relationship in any of the shows we watch. The flirtation between Warrick and Catherine (CSI) is as close as I’ve come. I’ll have to keep thinking…

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  30. Angela
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:56:16

    Hey Robin, about Native Americans and men of the Caucasian diaspora(real Caucasians, not white Americans)? They have never had the stigmas attached to them the way black men have. You can go back to the Victorian era where Indian princes, shieks, Aga Khans, etc were able to mingle with aristocratic society and even into Hollywood, The Sheik as portrayed by Rudolph Valentino in the 1920s was a character white women swooned over in droves. Popular Hollywood starlets like Rita Hayworth married Aly Aga Khan, Princess Diana’s last lover was Dodi Fayed, and Queen Noor of Jordan was an American. When it comes to Native Americans, capture romances were just as popular in the 18th and 19th centuries as they are today in the works of Madeline Baker and Connie Mason. And white women who chose to live with their Native American husbands were not treated with the revile a white woman with a black man was. Black men were never viewed as viable fantasies for (white) women. Up until the 1960s, black people were characterized as animals. Monkeys and Gorillas. Think you that was the stuff of romantic fantasy? You’ve also got to remember the miscegenation laws passed to keep blacks and whites from marrying right? Even though there are many, many stereotypes attached to creating Native American “savages” and sexy Sheikhs and Latin lovers and Greek billionaires, etc, history has made them acceptable romantic fantasies.

    Granted, I do feel that financial success is also tied into the acceptability of the Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, etc hero, but you cannot, absolutely cannot bring up sheikhs and Native Americans in romance novels without knowing the history of romantic fantasies in American popular culture.

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  31. Miki
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:56:17

    And what about Warrick Brown from CSI (Vegas, the original)? Mmmm. And even though he’s doing those silly commercials for Fruit of the Loom, I still think Cuba Gooding is a doll-baby. :wink:

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  32. Rebecca
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:56:18

    Yes ,I think there are issues in the media regarding black men and their sexuality.

    Remember Denzel and Julia in The Pelican Brief?

    Julia insisting they could kiss and would kiss onscreen because some studio idiot-hope that’s not lawsuit worthy ;) -didn’t think a black man should kiss a white woman on screen?

    I was shocked this was an issue.

    Embarassed by it.

    Surely Denzel is eminently kissable? ( um. Yes. )

    Remember also the big fuss made when Much Ado about Nothing was cast by Kenneth Branagh and Denzel was cast as Don Pedro? Much drama and Kenneth ended up making statements like what’s the big fuss I’m casting for talent?

    Remember how gobsmacked Halle Berry was to win an Oscar for an Actress in a leading roll? It wasn’t just because she won…it was the burden of accepting the award on the backs of all the actresses before her who hadn’t won, because they were black.

    The day these types of events don’t make news BECAUSE the person involved is black is the day there isn’t a need to talk about racism.

    I’m impressed by the efforts to talk to one another on this thread and on this subject and not past one another.

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  33. Miki
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 21:58:54

    Eek! Warrick Brown is the character’s name. Gary Dourdon is the actor’s name. Sheesh.

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  34. Angela
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 22:08:12

    WE SERIOUSLY NEED A DISCUSSION PANEL AT RWA!

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  35. Angela
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 22:18:41

    Remember Denzel and Julia in The Pelican Brief?

    Actually Heather, it was Denzel’s decision not to develop the romantic relationship that was present in the book because of the sensitive subject of interracial relationships in the black community. He saw it that he has a responsibility to the black community to not feature his characters (himself being a black man) as in romantic relationships with non-black women and never with a black woman. When you look at the media, black-black relationships don’t get the same attention as their non-black counterparts and even black-non-black relationships. Key point: NBA stars and their wives. YAAMS wrote an article about this and when I thought about it, it was true that those basketball stars married to black women don’t recieve half the media attention as say, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant(even before Kobe was involved in the rape case).

    I also don’t know if you’re aware of the minor controversy that arose over the casting of Eva Mendes in “Hitch” as Will Smith’s on-screen love interest. Here’s a good article detailing the ins and outs of Hollywood and the media in concern to black actors in romantic comedies. And it does sort of mirror the romance genre.

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  36. Angela
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 22:19:32

    Rebecca, not Heather! I think I just read a post here by someone named Heather and mixed the authors up.

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  37. Monica
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 22:31:21

    Angela, I don’t think the RWA is the one. Race (as far as blacks) is the elephant in the room that Must Never Be Mentioned. They have had a black Prez and black board members but I don’t think those (great people too) were able to accomplish much specifically as far as assisting black authors in the genre.

    Look at the Rita, you have one for folks who don’t even write romance anymore, just for their warm strokes (mainstream with romantic elements or something) and we can’t get blacks a major category even though we are separated and set aside MORE than any subgenre. We shouldn’t have to have a category, of course, and should be judged by the content of our books rather than race. Some speak out against an AA Rita because of this, rightfully so, but to ever get recognized for excellence, we need one. It’s such a Catch-22.

    I think any black person speaking up in a real and honest way on race there…multiply the criticism I get here by about ten. I’m supposed to accept criticism gracefully, but they can’t accept an iota. That person might not get hung high, but it might come close. I wouldn’t touch it.

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  38. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 22:53:41

    Angela, in #336 said:

    Bianca's statements that she does not get black women is the experience of a minority in America. By her continuing to explain her thoughts, it makes me feel like I'm not a human being, that I'm just someone with brown skin and the stereotypes and assumptions that go along with the color of my skin. That is what I find disheartening and entirely unfair.

    I did want to say that I cannot imagine what it's like for you, Monica, Seressia or anyone else to read such things. But I think it's important that it's put out there in the open. Maybe this person or that person won't be swayed, but some person will recognize their thoughts in those posts, and seeing it in black and white (no pun!), will reconsider those beliefs. Just a maybe, but I think that if this stuff doesn't get in out into the open, it just festers.

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  39. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:02:24

    And #357 BlkLitReader:

    There are some AA readers who only read books by and about AAs, and as Bianca claim, they can't related to the non-AA characters, are they considered racists?

    BLR, why wouldn't they be considered racists, if that's the word that's used for non-AA readers who consciously don't read AA romances?

    #312 Donna said:

    Should I make myself read books about horses? Even when I didn't care for a great author's book (Nora's)? I know I am probably missing a lot of great stories, but for the life of me… I'm just not interested. Should I seek consoling?…If you aren't interested, you just aren't interested…

    The thing about horses-’excluding them from your reading has no meaning in our society. Context matters. We're having this discussion, books are segregated in stores because of the time and place and history in which we live. Why did this thread erupt as it did? Why have we gone around in circles on this issue time and again, and not had the same tensions over say, horses? I understand what you're attempting with the analogy, but I don't think you can separate the issue from its significance that easily.

    Because judging something on the color of skin means something in this country. It's rife with implications. The horse analogy ignores that and says black and white are just skin colors. Well, no, they're not, we're at least a few decades away from that as demonstrated by this thread.

    BLR's and Bianca's comments take the opposite route: Race is so important that it is everything. It encompasses all that is possible to feel and experience, and each color implies feelings and experiences and needs and desires so different that there's not even a bridge to connect them.

    (I'd like to know what the hell happens to us brown folk in this scenario? What are we to either of you, I wonder.)

    To not read a book because of the skin color of the characters-’that that should be the deal-breaker. To me, it's more involved than a thoughtless preference between city vs. small town romance. That the color of skin should carry such weight that the writing style, plot, setting, dialogue, all the weird and funny idiosyncrasies each writer has to offer-’everything we as readers spend tetrabytes of web space arguing-’none of it matters because the skin color is not the right shade?

    And how does it work anyway? Someone explain the thought process. If you're Black, do you just hang in the AA fiction section? But you know there's Black authors in Lit Fic, in SFF, Mysteries, and in at least some Romance aisles, everywhere.

    What's the thought process from the time that you pick up a book from an unfamiliar author and put it back down? You read the back cover, flip through the first few pages. What are you looking for to indicate race? Names, settings? What are the code words? Or do you look for words that indicate skin color: “mocha,” “pale,” “olive”? Hair texture? What happens if the characters are mixed?

    What happens next? The color registers, so you immediately put the book down? What if the few pages you've read or summary on the back cover intrigues? Do you give it a thought, or does the color just shut you down to all else?

    Look, no one can make anyone read anything. Doesn't matter what I or Monica, Robin, Seressia, Angela, aggie, anybody says. Reading is our pleasure, it’s not an obligation. You shouldn't feel guilted into it or to like any book because of the author's or the characters' skin color. Nothing anyone has said should be interpreted in any other way. REALLY.

    But I would hope that in this day and age, all of the intelligent posters in this thread and the hundreds who are lurking out there– if we are making decisions to not read something because the author or the characters do not have the right shade of skin; if we'll telling ourselves, “Oh, it's just not my thing.” I mean, I hope that we then ask ourselves some questions:

    Why does color matter to me? What do I think it represents? Does color really represent what I think it does? How can I find out if what I believe is true? Does this line of thinking mesh with what kind of person I believe myself to be, with who I want to be?

    I hope we give ourselves honest answers, wherever they may lead us. And that's it. Nothing else. If you are comfortable with whatever the outcome, that's all we can hope for.

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  40. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:20:44

    Re: Hot Black men. Please, you guys are going for the obvious. Let me show you a real man. That’s right, I’m talking about the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS’ defensive back BOB SANDERS #21! Hope this link works:

    During the televised Colts vs. Jaguars game, they had a close-up of him on the sidelines, hip cocked out, his braids around his face, drinking some water…sweat kinda dripping off…

    sorry, mind wandered. Anway, HE is a beautiful man.

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  41. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:22:20

    Aw man, didn’t work. How bout this:

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  42. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:26:09

    oh.

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  43. Emma
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:27:28

    There is only one physical attribute I look for in a man and I can guarantee you it’s not the color of his skin. I won’t go into detail but if you use your imagination I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

    Yes ,I think there are issues in the media regarding black men and their sexuality.

    Not only black men. Unfortunately, it’s the same with Asian men and there are stupid stereotypes regarding both. A good friend of mine who is Mandarin dispelled the hell out of one stereotype in particular. :|

    I’ll say it again because I like the sound of my own typing. People are people and the sooner people figure that out, the better.

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  44. Robin
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:40:28

    Angela, if you’re trying to convince me that mainstream Romance readers won’t be able to accept African American heroes and heroines, I will stubbornly refuse to accede to that argument. If you’re arguing that Black men haven’t been manipulated into culturally warped erotic/exotic objects (although Aphra Behn made an interesting attempt in Oroonoko), then, I guess I have to say . . . isn’t that a good thing?

    Since you included Native Americans in your post, I’ll use them as an example of what I mean above. Going back to the Puritans, Native Americans were viewed as dark heathens, dangerous for their lack of Christianity, terrifying for their perceived sexual licentiousness (in marked contrast to Columbus, who wrote early in his diary that the indigenous populations would “make good slaves” ). The most horrific thing for a white woman captive to undergo was ANY sexual contact with Native Americans, and she had to come before the church to make a very long confession that could not include any hint of impropriety. Women who were raped (not that this was a regular occurence, just a pernicious fear) were seen as completely degraded, and so if it happened, you sure wouldn’t want to admit it, because it made your acceptance back into the community very difficult. Cotton Mather actually praised Hannah Duston(aka Dustin) for scalping her captors (a practice originating with the French, BTW) in the process of escape, even though it goes against everything the Puritan woman of virtue should embody (the narrative is in Decennium Luctuosum).

    As we move into the early 19th century and greater Westward movement of the emigrant and immigrant populations, Native Americans (and I’m skipping over a whole bunch of stuff during the Revolutionary period, else I’d be here all night) were seen as inconvenient squatters, dirty, degraded, half-wild savages. the 1832 Supreme Court decision of Cherokee v. Georgia held that Native American nations would heretofore be designated as “domestic dependent nations,” stripping them of whatever legal and political and economic power they had, and setting the stage for Westward settlers to hurtle over them or run them down on their way across the country. Captivity narratives, by this point, had become a major tool of propaganda on the part of the feds and others to show that Native Americans were savages deserving no rights or land privileges. Native Americans in these narratives were variously portrayed as bloodthirsty savages and as degraded heathens. If you’ve ever read Mary Jemison’s captivity narrative, it’s fascinating to watch her editor, James Seaver, try to wrestle the narrative away from her, especially because she stayed with the Seneca and married (twice!) into the tribe. He so wanted to make her the domestic Victorian heroine, lol, and her narrative a story of caution.

    By the time Longfellow writes Hiawatha in 1855, he’s already participating in the nostalgic memorialization of a group of nations basically thought dead (or well on their way). Cooper, of course, helped start that trend in Last of the Mohicans. But in any case, the image of the “noble savage” begins to emerge once Native Americans are no longer seen as a threat in reality — or as a threat that can (and must) be handled by faster Westward settlement. A number of cultural and literary historians have argued that the fictional transformation of Native Americans in the 19th century and into the 20th century occurs precisely because they are seen as defeated, degraded, dead. Thus their nostalgic recreation in the American imagination (like that anti-littering ad in the 70s featuring the Indian with the tear running down his face), especially in their representation as either bloodthirsty savages or natural nobility.

    Now I’m not trying to compare the experience of Native Americans to that of African Americans. I simply used the example in my earlier post to you to suggest that the translation between real life and fiction is not word for word literal. I could have used the so-called rapist hero, but wanted to stick to the racial examples. But in terms of the hero who forces himself on the heroine, that’s not really literally translatable to real life, is it? And regarding the sheik, I talked in an earlier post about my fascination with how the post-9/11 portrayal of Arab men has not been reflected in sheik Romance. Perhaps it has something to do with making a potentially threatening figure (as portrayed in the media or in the popular imagination) into a safe lover? I certainly think this is the case with the rapist hero (the domestication of the dangerous man). I think there are different paradigms, and often it’s the conflicted real life dynamics we see present and transformed in Romance. I notice now that Asian heroes are beginning to emerge in the genre (and Asians were often explicitly included in the anti-miscegenation laws, as well as being subject to any number of exclusionary laws in the 19th century), so this strikes me as a positive change. Again, not suggesing Asians had it worse than anyone else. I’m only thinking that if readers can embrace the ruthless Takashi in Anne Stuart’s Ice Blue, can’t they embrace a non-violent, successful, suave, handsome African American Romance hero? I’m not saying that every reader will, but not every reader loves the slutty white duke, either.

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  45. anu439
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:50:14

    can't they embrace a non-violent, successful, suave, handsome African American Romance hero?

    His name is Blair Underwood, he’s been on every chick show possible, I think, always as the perfect guy who loses out to other guy.

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  46. Angela
    Oct 25, 2007 @ 23:59:27

    Robin, I am not “trying to convince me that mainstream Romance readers won't be able to accept African American heroes and heroines”! I am merely presenting the context through which the media has filtered non-Anglo Americans and has shaped the way we view one another. You cannot fight something without knowing where it came from. There is no way you can talk about the segregation of AA romances, the stereotypes of Asians, Native Americans, Italians, Irish peoples, Middle Easterners,etc in romance novels (or lack of their presence) without knowing why this stuff exists. If the history of race, gender and sexuality in media is imperative to Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, Women’s Studies, US History, and so on, why should it be absent in the context of romance novels?

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  47. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 00:02:32

    His name is Blair Underwood, he's been on every chick show possible, I think, always as the perfect guy who loses out to other guy.

    Yes, well I’ve always been more of a Laurence Fishburne fan, I must admit.

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  48. Angela
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 00:17:02

    BtW Robin, reading your responses to me more closely, you’ve been finding some context to my words to me that don’t exist. The same thing you accuse Monica of, you’ve been doing to me.

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  49. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 00:23:32

    If the history of race, gender and sexuality in media is imperative to Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, Women's Studies, US History, and so on, why should it be absent in the context of romance novels?

    I think my long ass discussion of Native Americans as literary icons makes it’s clear that that wasn’t my point. But your insistence that African American men “Black men were never viewed as viable fantasies for (white) women” is so absolutist as to imply IMO that white readers will not accept Black Romance heroes. I will certainly agree with you that there has been a strong taboo historically around interracial relationships, but I don’t think it’s completely determinative, or that it has not been challenged and even subverted in some contexts (as an aside, have you noticed how many Black entertainers and athletes are married to white women?). So I don’t think the statement is valid in its absolutist form (even if Oroonoko were the only piece of literature standing in opposition), but even more, I think it makes it difficult to envision white readers embracing AA Romance heroes except perhaps as a guilty pleasure. And since some of us have said we do embrace AA heroes (without shame or fear our boyfriends or husbands will be scandalized), well, I think is less straightforward than you are asserting. Class, educational background, geographical region all play a role in these dynamics, as well, IMO, and also IMO, we’ve seen a lot of change socially in the past twenty or so years (following the convergence of the Civil Rights and Women’s movements in the 60s and 70s).

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  50. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 00:39:08

    BtW Robin, reading your responses to me more closely, you've been finding some context to my words to me that don't exist. The same thing you accuse Monica of, you've been doing to me.

    So are you telling me I shouldn’t take personally that “When you go into Battle” post from your blog, the one that (now removed) talked about knowing your enemy and had as its source link one of my comments from this thread?

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  51. Angela
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:01:15

    I was not referring to you as my enemy! That is why I took it down because I realized that it would be taken in that manner. What I meant by that blog was what I said in comment # 445. But anyways, so you’re justifying seeing your own context to my words because you feel I was talking about you?

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  52. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:12:14

    But anyways, so you're justifying seeing your own context to my words because you feel I was talking about you?

    Actually, I was just trying to understand what that was about, Angela, since it linked right to my response, not to your post. But I believe you, or at least I really want to. You didn’t provide any examples of your assertion that I was misinterpreting your points, though, so I had nothing to respond to there. Show me where I was reading in so I know where the miscommunication is. Since I feel you’ve misintepreted me, I know it’s entirely possible I’ve done the same to you.

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  53. Angela
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:19:09

    But your insistence that African American men “Black men were never viewed as viable fantasies for (white) women” is so absolutist as to imply IMO that white readers will not accept Black Romance heroes. I will certainly agree with you that there has been a strong taboo historically around interracial relationships, but I don't think it's completely determinative, or that it has not been challenged and even subverted in some contexts (as an aside, have you noticed how many Black entertainers and athletes are married to white women?).

    There you go finding a meaning to my words that isn’t there. When did I say that no white woman will not accept black romance heroes? Never As I KEEP SAYING: you can’t talk about a topic without knowing the history behind it. You cannot sit there and say that the segregation of black-authored romance with black heroes and heroines is not entwined with the sensitive racial history of this country. You cannot. But am I implying, by bringing that up, that things will never change? No. If any black person ever in their life thought that, there would not have been a Civil Rights Movement. As for black men and white wives in Hollywood and sports, did you not see the link I gave for YAAMS and how the media likes to place an emphasis on black male/white women pairings over black male/black women pairings? ([or even black woman/white male pairing] outside of the black gossip blogs–you rarely even see Pauletta Washington unless she’s with Denzel at a premiere, yet I see Coco and Ice-T on every celebrity blog and in those tabloid magazines and TV shows).

    I don’t know what your agenda is in all of this, but all of your responses seem to me come across as someone who is fed up with the discussion and as a result, wants to make me seem wrong and close-minded so I’ll go away and you can return to your life feeling vindicated in your opinions.

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  54. Angela
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:22:07

    And I must add Robin that you keep bringing up your life experiences to refute my statements, but if I bring in mine, you dismiss it as close-minded and hopeless.

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  55. Rebecca
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:26:57

    While filming the 1995 film, Virtuosity, Washington refused to kiss his white female co-star, Kelly Lynch, during a romantic scene between their characters. During an interview, Lynch stated that while she wanted to, “Denzel felt very strongly about it. I felt there is no problem with interracial romance. But Denzel felt strongly that the white males, who were the target audience of this movie, would not want to see him kiss a white woman.” Lynch further stated, “That's a shame. I feel badly about it. I keep thinking that the world has changed, but it hasn't changed quick enough”. A similar situation also occurred during the filming of The Pelican Brief when Julia Roberts expressed in an interview her desire to have her character in the film engaged in a romantic relationship with Washington's character. And an additional occurrence was in the 1989 film The Mighty Quinn where Washington's Quinn character did not kiss Mimi Rogers' alluring Hadley character. However, in 1998, Washington starred in a scene of a sexual nature with actress Milla Jovovich, in Spike Lee's He's got Game.
    The above is from the dailytrust. com Have no idea if it’s a good source for anything..never heard of it. Popped up on google search.

    Different story from the Hollywood Reporter as cited below

    Washington Nixed Roberts Kiss

    Newsweek vet Allison Samuels reveals in her new book Off the Record why Denzel Washington refused to kiss Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief. (It nearly ruined the movie.)

    Denzel Washington once turned down a love scene with Julia Roberts out of loyalty to his female African-American fans, Allison Samuels reveals in her new book, “Off the Record” (Amistad).
    Washington nixed the steamy segment even though Roberts insisted that he be cast as her co-star in “The Pelican Brief,” writes Samuels, a respected Newsweek reporter.

    Washington explained: “Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. And they have always been my core audience.”

    The info I cited previously was from an interview with Julia Roberts and she may not have known all of Denzels thoughts on the matter.

    As a Bulls fan, maybe I noticed Michael and Juanita Jordan more, but when they were together they had serious press.

    What about Will Smith and Jada? Any woman with her own rock band has to be seriously cool….of course she’s amazingly talented too..that always helps. :)

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  56. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 01:49:47

    I don't know what your agenda is in all of this, but all of your responses seem to me come across as someone who is fed up with the discussion and as a result, wants to make me seem wrong and close-minded so I'll go away and you can return to your life feeling vindicated in your opinions.

    I’m sorry you feel this way, Angela. But honestly, it has seemed to me that since your comment #389 you’ve been trying to bait me and dig at me, especially given that “know your enemy” blog post (and the fact that Nora Roberts actually stepped in to defend me was an EXTREME gesture, lol), so obviously we’re both feeling oversensitive. I’ve not been trying to belittle your life experience or accuse you of closed-mindedness. I apologize for anything I’ve said that made you feel that way. Many of your statements have struck me as so absolutist (those like “Black men have never . . ., “No one can deny . . .” ) that it does feel to me that you’re implying a rather hopeless situation. So I go to the exceptions, because I don’t think history is about “always” and “never.” For example, I think we could write a thousand page book on the image of the Black male body in slavery, the unbelievably complex dynamics there, which head in every direction all at the same time. And believe it or not, I’m trying not to go point by point and take issue with all of the statements you made about history with which I disagree, for which I have a different historical view and perspective, informed by my own years of research, because I don’t think that will do us any good. So instead I tend go to the places where I see opportunity and subversion and challenge to the dominant view, because to me this whole issue of integrating AA Romance is about moving into those places. Again, I’m sorry if what I’ve seen as a response of “yes I know, but” has been insulting to you, because it’s really that I just have another perspective, one I think is relevant and not apologist or derailing or dismissive of African Americans or your experience in particular. I apologize if it doesn’t come across that way to you.

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  57. anu439
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 06:52:42

    Damn, gotta hand to both Robin and Angela, excellent posts from both you. Difficult too, as they demonstrate how much active trust we have to have in each other’s intentions to even keep going.

    Angela,

    Given the historical lack of positive images of Black people in love (or not all, really, but specifically romantic images of Black characters), do you see the emergence in the last few years of just those kinds of images on TV as a positive sign?

    The fact that people know who Denzel is, Will Smith, Shemar Moore, the dude from CSI. I wonder if it has to do with the emergence of the Black middle class that we’ve heard about in the media. If it’s increasing as much as people say, that means more interactions between Black and White middle class people–more potential readers who are familiar with and comfortable with images of non-AA romantic characters.

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  58. Devon
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 07:51:23

    Just throwing this out there, but the only tv place where I can readily think of Black man/ White Woman pairings is soap operas. Does anyone watch them? I rarely do these days, but I can remember several.

    Also, just wanted to bring this guy to everyone’s attention. I think he belongs in Sharon Cullars’ Black Black Dagger Brotherhood.

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  59. Nora Roberts
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 07:51:52

    I can’t, just can’t read all the really, really long posts–though I’m sure they’re very smart.

    But this comment, Monica, stopped me in my tracks.

    ~Black men are not societally accepted as sexual fantasy objects in any media. ~

    It’s so, well, black and white, and so inaccurate from my perspective–and the society of people I know.

    Will Smith? Are you listening? You should call me.

    I think there are very important issues here, and mostly now they’re being discussed intelligently. That’s great. But a claim like this tosses me out.

    Suggesting Robin attempted to derail the discussion of the issues doesn’t strike me as accurate either. Esp if you’ve ever followed Robin’s comments in the past. Her style simply is to take the discussion or the issue into other levels–whatever the discussion or issue. It’s not derailment, it’s personal thought process.

    Let me say this, which I hope is on track:

    I don’t believe AA Romances should be segregated. I don’t believe AA writers should be required to write only AA characters. They fact that they are, ever, is wrong. What can I do about it, on a personal level? Well, I read what I want to read–and don’t consider the author’s race, creed or sex when I do. I either like the book or I don’t. My husband’s bookstore doesn’t segregate–never has, never considered it.

    I believe Monica and others in her position are entitled to their passion and their anger on this issue. I know what it’s like to have an issue that’s both personal and professional that fires me up from the guts. But I also know that accusations of racism will alienate rather than unite. It’s the reason I tend to stay out of these discussions, frankly.

    And now I’ve written a really long post.

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  60. ilona@ilonaland.com
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 08:12:46

    Yes, Nora, but you put paragraphs in it, which makes it easier to read.

    I’m sorry, Robin, long blocks of text just totally lose me. :(

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  61. Nora Roberts
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 08:30:57

    On interracial relationships on TV.

    Rose and Bernard from Lost.

    The couple (forget the names) on Heros. In fact, Heros strikes me as incredibly diverse in characters and relationships.

    Didn’t Ross (during one of his breaks from Rachel) have a thing going with a hot black girl?

    In the early days of ER–the Brit woman doc and the hot black surgeon. (Whose character I never liked because he was an arrogant prick.)

    And Six Feet Under–not only interracial, but interracial gay relationship.

    These are top of my head, mostly because it’s about character dynamics for me, not color. But I’ll admit to being surprised when Rose’s presumed dead husband turned out to be a white guy. And I thought it was smart that the writers surprised me.

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  62. Monica
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 08:35:56

    When chided by LaNora, I tend to keep it, LOL!

    Suggesting Robin attempted to derail the discussion of the issues doesn’t strike me as accurate either. Esp if you’ve ever followed Robin’s comments in the past. Her style simply is to take the discussion or the issue into other levels–whatever the discussion or issue. It’s not derailment, it’s personal thought process.

    I will buy that it’s her thought process. Lord knows when I rush off a comment it’s often my thought process also. I made a point (in all caps too!) that I WAS NOT accusing her of racism, but rather saying what she has said to me, many times and far more strongly, about the tone of my comments. It’s a different issue than stridency–but it’s how the substance of some of her comments come across to me (and Angela). Constructive criticism.

    It’s all right, her good points outweigh it and I deal with the frustration. So can Angela and others. We are strong! :-)

    What concerns me overall is that while I’m expected to take very severe “constructive” criticism and it seems that VERY FEW, if any, can take the same.

    The black men as sexual objects statement was to the majority and I appreciate you all proving me wrong on that.

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  63. Ann Aguirre
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 08:51:00

    This is just a personal preference, but I’d actually have to say I tend toward being attracted to black men. Not because they’re alien or exotic or the forbidden “other”. I forget what else has been said in that vein. But because I really like the aesthetic look of dusky skin.

    That goes for women too, to be honest. I don’t have any self-hate because I lack that malanin myself, mind you; that’s just how I am. And I am aware my ideas of beauty do not confirm to the norm. Because women I think are flat-out smokin’ hot are usually at least 30 pounds overweight by societal standards.

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  64. Donna
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 09:04:09

    After giving it some thought I guess my problem with an international couple (black man with white woman) is that I feel it is a betrayal of black women. I'm not a writer so I can't really express my reasons for this “feeling” and do it justice. I'm fine with white men/black women. I just feel that the black woman's struggle to be something more than just the stereotype gets derailed when the movie or show pairs up a white woman with a black male. But then does it always need to be one way or the other… no. I'm just expressing why I get uncomfortable. Skin color is not a problem with me, stereotypes are.

    I know this is illogical of me and believe me… Denzel is HOT!! But I agree with his not making the relationship in Pelican Brief about romance and sex. It was so much more than that, this movie broke a mold. Since, IMO, everyone expected a romance, not having one set it apart.

    I hope this post makes sense. Expressing myself through the written word is not one of my strengths.

    Books handle situations so much better than movies or TV shows, I know this. And now after reading these posts I am going to have to go out and buy some AA romances. I want to see if they go beyond stereotypes. I had a bad assumption that they didn't. MY BAD. This has been an education for me.

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  65. Nora Roberts
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 09:16:51

    Halle Barry. If I went for women, I’d be ALL over her. Is she not perhaps the most perfectly perfect woman every created?

    Monica, I never thought you suggested Robin was racist. I should’ve made that clear. I guess I didn’t see her comments as criticism, constructive or otherwise either. Though, okay, I fully admit I didn’t read them all, word for word. Or yours, or Angela’s.

    I skimmed for gist–which may be why I see it otherwise. The gist I got was here are some of my thoughts, and other points. Not that yours were wrong, just she had other things to say that took the discussion into another area.

    But you and I have–as you’ve said–different filters. I get that, too.

    I agree with many of your points. I don’t agree with all of them. But I do know this thread is approaching 500 comments, and much of the discussion has involved the issues or race, prejudice, AA Romances and people’s thoughts and feelings about all of it.

    That’s important.

    I’m not criticising you, I’m commenting. I expect if I could drag myself back and read through this entire thread, I’d have other comments–agreeing and disagreeing with others. But I ain’t gonna do it. It’s too looong. I have to work.

    But I do support your stand that AA Romances should be bought, edited, published and shelved as are any other spokes on the genre wheel. That particular issue is black and white for me, too. That it’s otherwise, anywhere, any time, is an inarguable injustice in my view.

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  66. Donna
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 09:21:16

    “Books handle situations so much better than movies or TV shows, I know this. And now after reading these posts I am going to have to go out and buy some AA romances. I want to see if they go beyond stereotypes. I had a bad assumption that they didn't. MY BAD. This has been an education for me.”

    Just realized I stereotyped AA books… geezzz! Now double BAD on my part. This has been an eye opener!

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  67. Monica
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 09:43:30

    Thank you, Nora.

    Thank you, Robin too for getting it and not getting angry. Anu, Donna, and so many others I don’t have space or time to list, I appreciate your good and solid points.

    Some of you that I disagreed with gave me something to think about, and I thank you for that too.

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  68. Bianca
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 10:08:35

    Been thinking….

    1. The whole issue on whether or not non AA people who do not buy AA Romances are predudice. Probably not. There is a assumption being made that its overt or subconscious racism. I don’t think so.

    and heres why
    1. I find it highly illogical to think that theres is a cabal of backroom people rubbing their hands and going muahahaha trying to find a way to keep ethnicities down.
    2. Communication is often a very messy affair. It may not be predjudice but simple not understanding. ie, people may not get “it”. You can alleviate that on many levels.
    1. Don’t expect others to reach out, take the ball in your court and do it yourself.
    2. Don’t assume your world filter is correct, stop hearing racism, predjudice and hear, I don’t get it, ask and try to explain.
    3. Learn patience, this will take time. Try mixing things up, try romantic comedy where you explain stuff. example, try writing in a character like turk from scrubs. He was my favorite, and he did explain things. You can do it as an interacial thing. Using race as the issue the characters need to get over before they do the I lub you, really I lub you too.

    2. The whole non AA people aren’t buying my books. It’s not racism, they may not be drawn. Well, try different ways of marketing. Known hot AA men on the covers. Try going with the whole fabio joke, and use Say sinbad with a blonde wig on the cover. Try oprah and get one of your books on the oprah book club. Try putting some of what you wrote up for mailing on the paperbackbookswap. Then talk about your favorite AA authors in the forum. It’s grassroots, but…. There are a lot of romance readers there.

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  69. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 10:19:41

    On interracial relationships on TV.

    Rose and Bernard from Lost.

    I hadn’t thought of them, but I have been since you brought them up.

    With our familiarity with Rose and her assertions her husband wasn’t dead, if—when we met the Others—there had been a black man of the same age in that group, many viewers would have immediately thought “Oh, that’s Rose’s husband!”.

    The surprise—which I think added to the romantic poignancy—came in his being white and therefore an unlikely candidate for being the missing husband. While it was a brilliant bit of planning on the part of the writers, I suppose it’s based on the assumption the majority of viewers wouldn’t mentally pair them up before the big reveal.

    Interesting. I’m not sure it’s truly relevant to anything, but I’m finding it food for thought, anyway.

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  70. still~answered
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 11:04:51

    Robin, referencing your inquiry as to what gave me the right to inquire into Jane’s professional/personal life, I would question whether I’m inquiring into her personal life at all. I have asked two things, is she a currently licensed attorney and then, indirectly, whether she is using a pen name in her role as a semi-professional reviewer. As to what gave me the right, I’d counter with WHO gave me that right, and say it was Jane. Jane has mocked at least two people with the “oh, I didn’t realize you were a lawyer bit,” but I’ve never seen her affirmatively state she is. As you’ve noted, people tend to assume certain things, and people have assumed she is a lawyer. If she is mocking people for not being lawyers, I think she needs to affirmatively state that she is, rather than relying on questionably formed assumptions. On the subject of using a review pen name, Jane publicized the real identities of Triskelion authors with her little (or is that “litte”) Pacer download. I have not asked her real identity, only posited that Jane Litte isn’t it.

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  71. ferfelabat
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 12:04:27

    testing

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  72. Heather Holland
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:09:07

    In reference to black male leads in a movie with white female leads. Bone Collector. Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I love that movie, and yes, they were involved in it, or at least it was heavily implied.

    I think it’s there, maybe more so in television than in movies, but we don’t really realize it’s there. I couldn’t think of any instances of this happening at first, because it’s not an issue to me, so I never gave it a conscious thought. It’s normal…it’s acceptable…so I didn’t waste time trying to analyze the situation. Just like when you know Spanish and you watch a film in Spanish. It just seems like there isn’t that much dialogue, but that’s because the brain is automatically translating it for you. It’s the words you can’t translate that you actually hear. Or so my Spanish teacher once claimed. My point is, all I see are two people together and to me that’s all that matters.

    And I said that I wouldn’t get into this, but this dang thread is addictive. I just feel that sometimes we over think things. There are people out there that no matter what you say to them, how you present your case, how well thought out the plan is, they simply will not hear a word you say and their minds cannot be changed. But we have to remember that it’s not all black and white. There is middle ground. Shades of gray all around.

    In a perfect world, we would all just be people, but sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. Change is hard and slow in coming. Perhaps one day, we can reach a point where we are all just…people.

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  73. anu439
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:10:31

    Just realized I stereotyped AA books… geezzz! Now double BAD on my part. This has been an eye opener!

    Heh, this reminds me of my hang-up about categories. I've read less than a handful of categories, but still I’d developed a firmly negative opinion of them. After the DA post on categories, I checked out a couple and found to my surprise that I actually enjoyed them. Felt like an idiot. So now I'm making more of an effort to read them, and it's pulling me out of a small reading slump.

    And yeah, there are AA romances that are plain bad, or preachy, or whatever your preconceptions. But there are also ones that aren't. As readers, we endure the bad to get to the good. That is our lot;)

    Speaking of, I checked out the reviews for Sharon Cullars' Again the other day. The plot seems really fascinating. And it looks like it might elevate my opinion of another genre that I'm pretty negative about: erotic romance.

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  74. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:16:25

    In reference to black male leads in a movie with white female leads. Bone Collector. Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I love that movie, and yes, they were involved in it, or at least it was heavily implied.

    If I’m remembering back that far correctly, I think it was The Bone Collector in which there was a Tom Cruise reference with regard to Lincoln Rhyme. So if that is the series I’m thinking of, he’s white in the books and black in the movies. (And I loved DW in that movie—I wish they’d adapt more of that series.)

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  75. Emma
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:17:05

    And it looks like it might elevate my opinion of another genre that I'm pretty negative about: erotic romance.

    Seriously? How can anyone be negative about erotic romance? You do know it has sex in it right? How can anyone be negative about sex?

    Sex rocks.

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  76. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:32:37

    Just throwing this out there, but the only tv place where I can readily think of Black man/ White Woman pairings is soap operas.

    How many of these shows do you think are written by women? I have watched The Guiding Light since 7th grade (it’s weird how you can randomly pick up the storyline a million years later, lol, and can’t ever really quit the thing, either), and there have been several black/white pairings on the show in the past few years, and I think the head writer is a woman. Also, in Rebecca’s example, it was the women actresses who were pushing for the romantic connection with Denzel Washington’s character, which is interesting, too, I think.

    Thank you, Robin too for getting it and not getting angry.

    Thank you, Monica, for keeping at it.

    I think there are very important issues here, and mostly now they're being discussed intelligently. That's great. But a claim like this tosses me out.

    After my exchange with Angela last night I realized that there is a certain fear, I think, that looking at the places where things have changed can be seen as a denial of other places they haven’t and of the many historical issues related to current racial attitudes and prejudices. Which then, perhaps, results in a more emphatic insistence intended to ensure we’re not overlooking those things. I know I need to remember that for the future so that it doesn’t appear I’m ignoring the problematic issues by trying to point out the places things have changed or by challenging a particular historical assertion.

    Also, the history of race in America is so incredibly complex. In the 19th century alone you have slavery, the demonization of African American men, the hyper-sexualization of the Black male body, the impact of white women on the abolitionist movement (and all the complexities of that), the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Edenic vision of the intact Black family in sentimental fiction (e.g. Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and the various issues with that, the intermarriage patterns between African Americans and Native Americans (e.g. the Cherokee and the Lumbee), and on and on. So the question becomes one of how to achieve a coherent vision that yields clear conclusions (my answer: you can’t, but obviously not everyone agrees).

    Then there’s the way that Romance portrays different images of race, gender, sexuality, etc. There’s the strange and circuitous ways that the genre translates troubled social relationships, the way some of the genre seems geared toward escapist fantasy while other aspects of it seems more about exemplifying love relationships in an idealized but not necessarily mythologized way.

    There seems to be some tension around whether Romance featuring AA couples is indistinguishable from Romance featuring white or Chinese American or Mexican American or British or Scottish characters, or whether historical patterns are such that it will not be read that way. Or whether interracial Romances are read differently than AA hero/heroine Romances.

    There’s the issue of the “average” Romance reader and what she will or won’t read (and am I the only one who thinks this average reader is a fiction?). And then there’s the books that are being published in the mainstream featuring Black/white pairings and their reception (and not all of these are written by white authors, but some of them are). Is it about the race of the author, then, or the characters?

    And most frustrating to me is that we just won’t know until Romance by and about AA characters is published and shelved as “the same” instead of different.

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  77. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:38:24

    Seriously? How can anyone be negative about erotic romance?

    When I was at Borders last weekend with my 12-year-old son and we found ourselves eye-level with the cover-out display of BIG SPANKABLE ASSES, I wasn’t a big fan of erotic romance, either. It was as uncomfortable for me as I imagine our being in the curtained-off room at the back of the video store would be. We left the romance section immediately, and I ain’t going back. If my Walmart doesn’t carry it, I won’t buy it. As for our family trips to Borders, I’ll be catching up on the sci-fi world, I imagine. And I’ve got erotic romance on my backlist, so it’s not like I’m anti-ER as a rule.

    On a more positive note, books aren’t segregated at my Borders.

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  78. Heather Holland
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 13:54:02

    Kids in the romance section of the store. See, I have no issues with this. It doesn’t bother me for my children to see the covers. I won’t allow them to read the books or watch dirty movies or anything, but I have no issues with allowing them some freedom where seeing these things are concerned. I’d rather them be informed than in the dark like I was growing up. My point is, they have limits and they know where they are. I don’t try to protect them from seeing body parts or violence in games and movies. So long as they know what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not, I think my job is done.

    My embarrassment in the romance section comes from my twelve year old and her big mouth. She exclaims and quite loudly, “Mom, where’s your book? You know, the one you wrote. Is it here?” Then she picks it up (if there is one) and ohs and ahs over it while flashing it at anyone who might be close by while talking about her mother writing the thing. I know I turn beet red in the process.

    They each have a copy, but aren’t allow to actually have it or read it until they are 18. The oldest teases the youngest (who is two years younger) about getting to read it first. Kids.

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  79. BlkLitReader
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:03:06

    I’m rather perplexed by those who are trying to reason and dialogue on this subject. It’s obvious, to me at least, that the non AA (read white) romance reader is in a damned if they do, damned if they don’t position. And, unfortunately and conveniently made the scapegoats.

    If a white reader is racist, and buys and reads a AA romance book, and they talk badly about it, whether the complaints are raced based or not, then it’ll be said, the reader is a racist, so their opinion doesn't matter.

    If a white reader isn’t racist, and buys and reads a AA romance book, and they talk badly about it, whether the complaints are race based or not, then it’ll be said, the reader is racist, so their opinion doesn’t matter.

    If a white reader don’t care one way or anther, or won’t co-sign the notion, that all books should be shelved together, then they’re a racist, but if a AA reader want a separate section, to have books shelved together, then that’s okay. Wonder if the AA authors are as vocal on AA book sites, nearly demanding that the AA readers agree that shelving books by race is racist. And, if not, do they deem and broad-brush nearly all the AA readers as racists?

    Another thing I find interesting is the AA authors were not published widely by publishers, years ago, then when the AA imprints were created, the AA writers didn’t scream, this is racist. Nope instead they gladly accepted the book deals, signed the contracts, cashed the checks, and had books published and sold. They also never complained that their books were marketed at their (admittedly) targeted audience — AA readers. Never called out their publisher on such racist practices.

    When the AA imprints were created, then was the time, to say, no, we don’t want our own separate AA imprint, we want to be marketed, shelved and sold, with all the other non AA writers. Now the AA writers are calling the same practice, of which they embraced years, as racist. If it is wrong now, it was wrong back then. If you going to stand on principle, stand on it, ALL the time.

    It’s like wanting to be treated special, but then when that special treatment doesn’t offer you the advantages, any more, or to the extend you wished or thought, then the special treatment suddenly becomes wrong.

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  80. Heather Holland
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:03:24

    I guess I should have pointed out that I’m not embarrassed about what I write. I’m not ashamed of it. I love what I do. Everyone who knows me, knows what I write. I really couldn’t care less if they approve of it or not. I don’t make my career choices to please anyone but myself.

    My embarrassment in that situation came from having attention called to me. I’m not a people person. I do not speak to people I do not know. I’m much more comfortable in a world of text instead of spoken words. In fact, the phone is my enemy because it forces me to speak, which is why I generally don’t answer it.

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  81. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:05:07

    When I was at Borders last weekend with my 12-year-old son and we found ourselves eye-level with the cover-out display of BIG SPANKABLE ASSES

    Does anyone know how that book is selling, because all three novellas feature interracial Romances? I’m ambivalent about the cover and title. Part of the me loves the erotic dimension of the bit butt thing (speaking as someone with my own big butt), and part of me hates the fact that it’s value in the title is reflected in its spankability. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be fun and flirty, but . . . . Anyway, I do wonder how it’s doing sales-wise.

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  82. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:30:02

    When I was at Borders last weekend with my 12-year-old son and we found ourselves eye-level with the cover-out display of BIG SPANKABLE ASSES, I wasn't a big fan of erotic romance, either.

    Shannon, I’m with ya on this one… and just like you, I write it as well as read it. But the title, combined with the cover, makes it a book I can’t have in my house. Not with a six year old who reads better than a lot of 9 and 10 year olds and an eight year that’s already ready at a middle school level.

    Last thing I need is the monster coming up to me and asking, Mama, what’s a big, spankable ass?

    am I the only one who thinks this average reader is a fiction?

    I’ve suspected that average, normal, typical were nothing but fiction a long time ago. ;)

    most frustrating to me is that we just won't know until Romance by and about AA characters is published and shelved as “the same” instead of different.

    You can that again.

    BlkLitReader, you ask some very thought-provoking questions. I don’t necessarily like it, but there’s probably some serious truth to some of your comments. I just hate to think that a book can’t just be judged, liked or disliked on the quality of the story alone.

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  83. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:45:58

    Another thing I find interesting is the AA authors were not published widely by publishers, years ago, then when the AA imprints were created, the AA writers didn't scream, this is racist. Nope instead they gladly accepted the book deals, signed the contracts, cashed the checks, and had books published and sold. They also never complained that their books were marketed at their (admittedly) targeted audience -’ AA readers. Never called out their publisher on such racist practices.

    Are you sure? It’s my understanding that AA imprints were the most viable (and in some cases only viable) way for many AA authors to be published, so I cannot find it in me to blame them in any way to taking the opportunity, although I have no doubt that it was seen as separate and unequal at the time, too.

    Also, from what I understand, many authors have no choice as to how they’re published; the publisher decides on the imprint, cover, title in many cases, and marketing. I don’t begrudge AA authors at all the opportunity to be published, and while I don’t think publishers were trying to marginalize AA authors with separate imprints (after all, publishers worship the color green above all others), the effect has been discriminatory.

    And I suspect that many AA authors would argue that they shouldn’t have to cry racism, that their books should be sold as strictly Romance, not as AA Romance, separate and apart. I think it’s heartening to know that the market of AA readers is strong enough to support a few imprints, but they still only represent part of an enormous market.

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  84. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 14:47:55

    Sigh…. and cranky teething infants don’t make it easy for me to read my post thru. Most of the comments I quoted above from Robin or Shannon Stacey, but I didn’t quote the one that Blklitreader had posted, the one that I was referring it. It was post 479 and since it’s rather lengthy, I’m not going to repost it. But still, as I mentioned, you ask some very good questions.

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  85. anu439
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 15:11:46

    I'm rather perplexed by those who are trying to reason and dialogue on this subject. It's obvious, to me at least, that the non AA (read white) romance reader is in a damned if they do, damned if they don't position. And, unfortunately and conveniently made the scapegoats.

    If a white reader is racist, and buys and reads a AA romance book, and they talk badly about it, whether the complaints are raced based or not, then it'll be said, the reader is a racist, so their opinion doesn't matter.

    If a white reader isn't racist, and buys and reads a AA romance book, and they talk badly about it, whether the complaints are race based or not, then it'll be said, the reader is racist, so their opinion doesn't matter.

    How do you come to this conclusion?

    In a 5-minute search, I found the following negative reviews:

    AAR/Leanne Banks

    MrsGiggles/Donna Hill&Francis Ray anthology

    DA/Monica Jackson

    I don’t recall any outcries about these reviews based on race. I know that you voice an important fear, and that it drives at least some of the hesitation about reading AA romance. I get the fear of being in a rock and a hard place. I can’t say that there’s no truth to it because I plain don’t know. But from what I’ve seen, I think the fear is much bigger than the reality.

    Your other points about AAs and publishing. As I said way earlier, I honestly don’t understand the shelving situation. I know that I believe that books shouldn’t be shelved based on race. Beyond that, I don’t have a clue. I want some numbers, I want some stats, I want facts. All I’ve heard so far is speculation about polls/surveys, anecdotal evidence of what people want, etc. Nothing that gives me a full picture.

    But if you’ve got a reason for believing that AA romance should be shelved differently, let’s hear it.

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  86. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 15:23:37

    I just feel that the black woman's struggle to be something more than just the stereotype gets derailed when the movie or show pairs up a white woman with a black male.

    If you haven’t seen it, Donna, I recommend Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever, which contains a number of conversations among African American women, some of which focus on the difficulties of interracial dynamics, including the topic you brought up in this post.

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  87. Bianca
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:00:08

    Well, just came back from the grocery store. And I saw an AA romance, I think it’s called seducing the mercenary, right next to all the other romances. Read the blurb, and it’s another version of noble savage, though modern day.

    but heh, I found they combined my favs. I picked up a historical paranormal. teehee.

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  88. Nora Roberts
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:00:53

    Gosh, just can’t read all of these. Work. Life.

    Did want to say to Bianca that I don’t think Sinbad in a blond wig is the sort of image ANY Romance writer wants on her book.

    And try Oprah? Get your book in her book club? HAHAHAHAHA!

    Sorry, really, I can only think you just don’t know how that works. Why should you? First, you don’t try Oprah, and you can’t GET your book in her bookclub. She’s in charge–and she doesn’t like or select Romance. She’s said she doesn’t care for it.

    I do realize you’re trying to offer sincere suggestions. And I do think you’re right that much of this is a grassroots thing.

    And here I am in tandem with Robin yet again re the AA imprints. I’m not an AA author, but I can say with certainly, that if I were, and this had been offered to me, I’d've grabbed it like a lover. It’s a way in. And I’d hope, maybe, to be able to change things from the inside.

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  89. Bianca
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:14:51

    I actually didn’t know she didn’t like romance. Then again, I don’t watch her all that often. But I figured if presented with a really good one, she would think about it to promote good will or something.

    But as for sinbad in a blonde wig. I’d buy it, just for the giggle factor. And comedy breaks down barriers. But I was mainly using that as a joke. I was hoping to get someone to splurt on the computer.

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  90. Emma
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:40:21

    When I was at Borders last weekend with my 12-year-old son and we found ourselves eye-level with the cover-out display of BIG SPANKABLE ASSES, I wasn't a big fan of erotic romance, either. It was as uncomfortable for me as I imagine our being in the curtained-off room at the back of the video store would be. We left the romance section immediately, and I ain't going back. If my Walmart doesn't carry it, I won't buy it. As for our family trips to Borders, I'll be catching up on the sci-fi world, I imagine. And I've got erotic romance on my backlist, so it's not like I'm anti-ER as a rule.

    Yeah my 2 year old godchild saw the cover too. She said, QUITE LOUDLY, tia tia look a boom boom. And I said, yes baby it is a boom boom and we went on our merry way. I understand everyone doesn't want their children exposed to things of a sexual nature at certain ages but unfortunately in this world it's not as easy to shield them as it once was.

    Anywho BPA @ B&N is at 24911 and on Amazon its at 11115 as of about 30 minutes ago.

    After giving it some thought I guess my problem with an international couple (black man with white woman) is that I feel it is a betrayal of black women. I'm not a writer so I can't really express my reasons for this “feeling” and do it justice. I'm fine with white men/black women.

    The first part of this confuses me. It's okay for the goose but not for the gander? Isn't that a double standard? You love who you love and who gives a hoot what race, religion etc they are.

    Skin color is not a problem with me, stereotypes are.

    There are always going to be stereotypes but you know a lot of the stereotypes are our (AA) own fault. Look at Shanaynay. I loathe that character. Seriously. It embodies EVERY negative stereotype about black women. And when people see those types of things in entertainment (Movies, TV, etc) they figure all black women are like that and we're not. Far from it.

    And comedy breaks down barriers.

    Not always. Some comedies and comedians are irresponsible and continue to perpetuate stereotypes that are extremely harmful. This is the main reason why Dave Chapell quit the way he did.

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  91. Seressia
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:41:57

    Regarding Ross’ relationship with Aisha Tyler on Friends. I think it’s sad that they could find a lost monkey in NYC in 22 minutes, but it took 10 years to have a recurring black character, not to mention as a love interest.

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  92. Seressia
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:46:13

    Robin, I’ll admit, when I read post 353, my first thought was, “Here we go, someone pointing out that other ethnic groups have it bad too” when we were talking about AA romance. It wasn’t until further in your exchange with Angela that I got that you were trying to show that if non-AA readers could read those, they could read AA roamnce. Actually you just flat out said it, and with less test, so I thank you for that. :)

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  93. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:49:03

    I actually didn't know she didn't like romance. Then again, I don't watch her all that often. But I figured if presented with a really good one, she would think about it to promote good will or something.

    Eh, I don’t see Oprah ever doing anything to promote romance, regardless of who wrote it, whether the book was targeted at the black community, at women in general, or green skinned aliens from the planet Flatajah.

    Oprah pretty much does the ‘literary’ thing. I could be wrong, but aren’t there quotes out there where she was pretty much down on romance books in general?

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  94. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 16:52:11

    Yeah my 2 year old godchild saw the cover too. She said, QUITE LOUDLY, tia tia look a boom boom. And I said, yes baby it is a boom boom and we went on our merry way

    Snicker. A boom boom. ;) Cute. I’m just going to have to make my book store runs either alone, or with the DH for a few weeks because I can guarantree my six year old son would see it… and very loudly ask what a big spankable ass is.

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  95. Emma
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 17:06:25

    Snicker. A boom boom. Cute. I'm just going to have to make my book store runs either alone, or with the DH for a few weeks because I can guarantree my six year old son would see it… and very loudly ask what a big spankable ass is.

    Shilo, I think kids do it on purpose. It's like the time my other godbaby pulled down my shirt and yelled, Your sou sou (breasts) is showing. LMAO. Umm yes, Lana it's showing because you just pulled my shirt down thank you very much!


    Eh, I don't see Oprah ever doing anything to promote romance, regardless of who wrote it, whether the book was targeted at the black community, at women in general, or green skinned aliens from the planet Flatajah.


    LMAO. Flatajah. I don't know why they cracked me up.

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  96. Emma
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 17:08:58

    Regarding Ross' relationship with Aisha Tyler on Friends. I think it's sad that they could find a lost monkey in NYC in 22 minutes, but it took 10 years to have a recurring black character, not to mention as a love interest.

    Please don't hate me, but I never understood why Friends needed to have a recurring black character.

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  97. Emma
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 17:15:03

    A friend pointed out that I involved myself in this when technically it doesn’t involve/effect me. I don’t have a problem with sales. I write about black women, black men, black wolves, black etc and people still buy my work. But in my opinion eBooks are REALLY different than print. Why? I wish I knew. But I’m sure the people who buy my work come from all types of backgrounds and since by buying my book they help to support my near debilitating purse and shoe habit I appreciate beyond appreciate them.

    I personally think something positive will come from this whole thing but then again I just got a UPS delivery so I'm riding on a serious purse high. (Yes, I know I'm a dork.) And you know what, it doesnt effect me now and it may never effect me personally but as long as it effects anyone, anyone (black, white, purple) it is something we all need to be concerned about.

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  98. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 17:26:50

    Actually you just flat out said it, and with less test, so I thank you for that.

    Seressia, I actually started that line of argument in the double digits, lol, and said it explicitly at 275, but as several people said, I write long-ass posts and often am too lazy to make a lot of paragraphs. So thanks for hanging in there. ‘)

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  99. Gennita Low
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 18:21:55

    Holy 500 posts Batman!

    Do we get a prize? :D

    Regarding Big Spankable Asses: I’ve been on several forums, some of them not romance book-related, that have made fun of that cover. Not sure whether the buzz of that title and cover meant more sales.

    Oprah: I think her words, when she was questioned by one of the women in the audience about not recommending romances, were, “Honey, that’s not real life.” Like Frey’s book was real. Uh-huh.

    Report: I went to two Walmarts today. I found it very interesting that one Walmart, in white surburbia, has its AA books mixed with the regular romance books while the other Walmart, which was close to the black college and community in town, had its own AA section. In my forty-five minutes or so shopping in the latter Walmart, quite a number of AA readers went by to browse.

    I’ve no idea what that means exactly, but still, interesting. Sorry, no big spankable asses allowed in any Walmarts, of course. Ha.

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  100. Gennita Low
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 18:24:47

    I forgot to add:

    Perhaps you can get Oprah to champion the cause of desegregating AA books–romance or other genres–if someone can bring it to her attention. A segment on her show might bring awareness.

    Yay, 500.

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  101. sula
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 18:28:37

    Holy wow, I forget to check this thread for a day and it grows another 150-odd replies.

    Whenever we get into these discussions, I always feel very conflicted because I am a white girl who has been dating a black guy for over four years. Naturally, I find it hard to believe that I could be accused of being in the group that doesn’t find black men sexually attractive. I’m sure this is going to come out all wrong, so please forgive me, but here goes. I have often felt like in the eyes of some black women, I’m the enemy. Because I’m with one of “their” men. That the fact that he is with me and not them is a slight to them or to all black women everywhere. One one level I think I can understand this but on another, it confuses me (and frankly hurts me). Because if I’m willing and happy to be in a loving committed relationship with someone of their race, doesn’t that show that I’m accepting that race? If we get married, spend our lives together, have kids and mix our DNA together, isn’t that saying something? And in the end, aren’t we just proving that we’re two humans and that love transcends things like skin color (and in our particular case: culture, language, nationality, and religion)? And really isn’t that what the whole idea of romance is all about?

    And on the subject of AA romance, is it really shallow of me to admit that I picked up a Beverly Jenkins book at my library the other day because it featured a hot black man on the cover?

    Ok, those are all kind of random and I apologize in advance if I offend any sisters.

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  102. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 19:07:24

    Shilo, I think kids do it on purpose. It's like the time my other godbaby pulled down my shirt and yelled, Your sou sou (breasts) is showing

    *G* okay, totally unrelated to racism in publishing, to big spankable asses, to opinion v fact, to publishing, reviewing… it’s just plain cute.

    At least it is now with about five and half years distance. When my oldest was about 3, and my son was about six months, we were walking around the mall. My daughter, the 3 year old, walks up to two nice looking guys, about my age, and flips up her shirt.

    What does she say, you ask?

    My mama has really big boobies. I don’t.

    This is what happens I guess when you breastfeed and try to be honest to young children about just what you are doing…. it’s funny now. But then, man, I was so emabarassed….

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  103. Seressia
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 19:49:32

    Did Friends “need” to have a recurring AA character? No, but it was about single people in New York. Now, I’ve only visited NYC a couple of times so I can’t say for sure, but is it crazy of me to think that young black NYers like to sit in coffee shops too? Or is it only in certain areas of NY?

    To BlkLitRdr: My first novel was an interracial romance, published in 2000. I sold it to the first company that said yes, who happened to be black-owned. I assumed (there’s that word again) that the book would be shelved with all the other romances because hey–it WAS a romance and that was the section of the store I went to for books.

    The first cover for the trade edition had a BW and WM on the cover with a pink flowery tree background, and its back cover copy starts like this: “White hot chocolate meets vanilla shake, sparks fly…” or something like that. It was reissued this year with just a white man’s torso with a kiss imprint on his skin. It’s been selling like hotcakes, but I don’t know if that’s from the cover, the mass market size, or the fact that it’s in Wal-Mart. I would be interested in knowing if someone pick it up just for the cover then stopped reading when they discovered the heroine was black.

    I’ve dealt with race in my IR books, but the h/h don’t get all hung up over it (they have other issues, lol) I’ve had diverse casts, multiracial characters. I’ve written to Queen Latifah about AA romances, but not Oprah. Again, I’ve talked to Sue Grimshaw and Sean Bentley with Borders. But I still think discussion has had the most promise.

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  104. Robin
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 20:01:50

    I would be interested in knowing if someone pick it up just for the cover then stopped reading when they discovered the heroine was black.

    I’m reading it right now, Seressia (it’s the book I’m not finishing while I’m participating in this discussion — review to follow, eventually). And I have to tell you, the cover fascinates me because a) the stomach seems androgynous to me (a bit fleshy) despite the obvious briefs, b) the race seems ambiguous to me because the guy’s stomach looks more brown to me than white (even though I know the hero is white), and c) the kiss cracks me up. I thought it was intentionally ambiguous, which I liked. Although I didn’t buy it because of the cover. I’m very glad it’s selling well, though.

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  105. Seressia
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 20:29:38

    I just remembered that author Gwynne Forster wrote an article on AA romance for Affaire de Coeur magazine. You can read it here.
    It may have some bearing on the discussion.

    Gwynne has a master’s in sociology and worked for the UN and has been widely published as a demographer.

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  106. Emma
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 02:42:43

    Report: I went to two Walmarts today. I found it very interesting that one Walmart, in white surburbia, has its AA books mixed with the regular romance books while the other Walmart, which was close to the black college and community in town, had its own AA section. In my forty-five minutes or so shopping in the latter Walmart, quite a number of AA readers went by to browse.

    You know this is interesting. I went to Wal-mart downtown tonight (the same Wal-mart where the cashier warned a friend and I not to come to into the store on the 1st and 15th because that was when a lot of the customers received their government assistant checks.) and noticed the same thing. There was a huge section of AA and literally 10 non AA books.
    When I visit the Wal-mart near my sister's house there is no AA section. All the books are happily integrated. So you have to wonder why? I've asked the store GM at the downtown Wal-mart in my city and he promised to call me with an answer after he spoke with corporate. I'm still waiting for the call. *shrugs*

    *G* okay, totally unrelated to racism in publishing, to big spankable asses, to opinion v fact, to publishing, reviewing… it's just plain cute.
    At least it is now with about five and half years distance. When my oldest was about 3, and my son was about six months, we were walking around the mall. My daughter, the 3 year old, walks up to two nice looking guys, about my age, and flips up her shirt.
    What does she say, you ask?
    My mama has really big boobies. I don't.
    This is what happens I guess when you breastfeed and try to be honest to young children about just what you are doing…. it's funny now. But then, man, I was so emabarassed….

    Rofmao! That is too cute! It's like the time my friend's baby tried to lift up my shirt when she was weaning him. In front of the cashier. And my friend told the cashier I was her wet nurse and I was available because I had enough for her baby and 8 others.

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  107. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 06:50:49

    When I visit the Wal-mart near my sister's house there is no AA section. All the books are happily integrated. So you have to wonder why? I've asked the store GM at the downtown Wal-mart in my city and he promised to call me with an answer after he spoke with corporate. I'm still waiting for the call. *shrugs*

    Wondering if it’s a demographics thing. I’m thinking the Walmart closest to where I live, about 10 miles away, give or take, has a separate section for AA books. The area around the store is pretty diverse, Hispanic, black, white.

    Now, to paraphrase Gennita, another local Walmart, right smack dab in the middle of white surburbia, their books are all mixed.

    Does it have to do with the area’s demographics? Interesting to see how it is at other locations.

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  108. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 06:54:23

    Rofmao! That is too cute! It's like the time my friend's baby tried to lift up my shirt when she was weaning him. In front of the cashier. And my friend told the cashier I was her wet nurse and I was available because I had enough for her baby and 8 others.

    I weaned my oldest when she was 6 months old and decided to try and take a bite out of me.

    The younger two, a little longer. My cut off point? They never bit me, but when they decided to start trying to undress mama in public, they were weaned. My son started that little trick when he was 9 months. The baby, though, she didn’t start until she was a year. :| Become a mama, and dignity goes out the window.

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  109. Emma
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 15:40:27

    Wondering if it's a demographics thing. I'm thinking the Walmart closest to where I live, about 10 miles away, give or take, has a separate section for AA books. The area around the store is pretty diverse, Hispanic, black, white.
    Now, to paraphrase Gennita, another local Walmart, right smack dab in the middle of white surburbia, their books are all mixed.
    Does it have to do with the area's demographics? Interesting to see how it is at other locations.

    I probably live in the weirdest city in California, demographics wise. It's a good size city split into separate areas, Downtown, East Village, Los Alamitos, Belmont Heights, Belmont Shore, Bixby Hills, Bixby Knolls, Naples, The Wrigley, The Northside, Signal Hill, Lakewood outskirts, and on and on.

    Downtown is…Well they are trying to clean up downtown. They're building million dollar condos and slowly but surely trying to encourage the huge population of transients to relocate. There are three Wal-marts in the city. One on the outskirts of Lakewood, one off of the 605 at the Carson Town Center and the one downtown.

    The weird thing is all of the areas have a significant AA population but the Wal-marts that aren't downtown are in areas that would be considered upper middle, middle class while the downtown Wal-mart is closer to the neighborhoods that could be considered less than desirable.

    Yet the Downtown Wal-mart is not only adjacent to the beach, it's also adjacent to Ocean St. and 2nd which both lead into Belmont Shore and Los Alamitos which are trendy upper middle and upper upper middle class neighborhoods. So I'm confused by it all. I do think that more AA's from the “less than desirable” neighborhoods frequent the downtown Wal-mart and that's who they may cater too.

    And no I am NOT saying that only AA's from bad neighbors read AA. To me the books the Wal-mart store downtown stocks are NOT AA. They are what I will politely call urban lit. There aren't any normal AA books in the section. Last night I only found one normal AA book, a historical by Beverly Jenkins, and it was on the bestseller aisle away from the urban lit.

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  110. Hopeful
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 10:18:56

    I have been following this discussion for a while and have decided to put my two cents in.

    I am an African American Romance Writer who probably spends more time reading than anything else. I don't choose my reading material based on the characters ethnicity, but by the author's ability to transport me to another world and experience.

    I was raised on a small island and can remember days spent fleeing Russia, courtesy of Danielle Steel and Zoya and dancing the jive with Malcolm Little before he became Malcolm X. You see, my parents read everything, and I do as well.

    These days, when I am not chained to my laptop, I find myself transported to incredible places created by James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Dyanne Davis, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gwynne Forrester and Jodi Picoult. And believe me, those are just a few on my list.

    Now I know that my two cents may not mean much to a whole lot of people, but I'm willing to bet that there are probably more individuals out there just like me who wish that they hadn't left ‘Nineteen Minutes' in a hotel room last month two chapters before finishing it.

    I hope that one day someone will buy my book because they have heard that I too offer a reprieve from a hectic day or from a life they want to escape. And I hope that they find the book among all the other authors that I admire.

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  111. Elly Soar
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 16:50:28

    I’m really happy this thread has winded down, b/c it takes a lot of work to keep up with! But I’m not really happy with the way one comment was addressed, so I’ve gotta add in re:

    When the AA imprints were created, then was the time, to say, no, we don't want our own separate AA imprint, we want to be marketed, shelved and sold, with all the other non AA writers. Now the AA writers are calling the same practice, of which they embraced years, as racist. If it is wrong now, it was wrong back then. If you going to stand on principle, stand on it, ALL the time.

    NO. This is PROGRESS. It is not hypocrisy at all to allow for changes in ideas and practices over time. Take women’s education – at first, women were very happy to get a higher education at all, so what if they couldn’t go to the same colleges and universities as boys and were segregated into women’s only colleges. But then PROGRESS happened (gross oversimplification) and women were no longer content with this situation, but wanted to be able to attend Yale, Columbia, etc. This is the exact same situation.

    When you first have an opportunity, you take it – but then your dreams get bigger and you know better what is at stake and you fight for those visions instead. And this is how changes come about.

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  112. Donna Barstow
    May 02, 2009 @ 15:48:33

    Informative and infuriating. The fact that racism has lost its power and zest in a court of law doesn’t make it less painful nor less punitive for anyone.
    Here’s what has been happening to me all week: http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/05/donna-barstow-racist-pearl-clutcher.html because of my cartoon in Slate: http://cartoonbox.slate.com/donnabarstow/2009/04/27/.

    I was called a racist 21 times in that post and comments. Other blogs are even worse. So happy the US Govt has decided hate blogs, and stealing intellectual content is okay, so long as the lazy uncreative bloggers can have something to copy and bash. (and I’m a blogger myself. It’s just that I don’t steal.) It’s NOT fair use, and it IS defaming. I’m just having a hard time finding the right laws to quote to prove my point to the bloggers and the ISPs.

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