Do you ever just look at something, and KNOW that it’s just jacked all the way up? I mean, not talking about politics? Because shock and awe is how I’m feeling right now, and it’s not the good kind. How many of y’all saw this:
My first thought was along the lines of, “Huh. That’s kinda cool.”. THEN I READ FURTHER. And I have no words to describe the idiocy that is this idea. THIS IS NOT HOW INCLUSIVENESS WORKS, PEOPLE. You don’t take a bunch of books and just slap new covers on them with POC to make them *seem* inclusive. That’s like slapping a band-aid on a GAPING CHEST WOUND, ffs. It ain’t gonna work, and you look like a damn fool for even thinking it might.
This particular move strikes me as so incredibly tone-deaf, what with all the chaos about the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and their issues, and about American Dirt and its issues…basically, you’d *think* that those making these sorts of decisions would think carefully and thoughtfully about whatever moves they make at the moment. Instead, B&N apparently went out, got drunk, played some shitty pool, and threw a random dart at a board labeled “How to be more inclusive”. Obviously, they missed the board and came up with this dumbass idea instead.
Guys, being inclusive in the book world means hiring outside the white, hetero box. It means finding authors who are able to write #ownvoice titles, and putting the weight of your time and energy behind them. It means reading titles by POC and others, and making sure they are represented on bookstore shelves. It means helping customers find those titles. IT DOES NOT MEAN SLAPPING NEW COVERS ON OLD BOOKS AND CALLING IT A DAY.
We all need to start doing better. And we start by listening, and by learning. I know I’m trying, so I suppose the best I can hope for is that this can be a learning opportunity for not only B&N, but for everyone in the book world (including readers). Inclusiveness – and the lack thereof – is a real problem. This kind of thing is NOT how that problem gets resolved. Honest conversations, true effort, and a willingness to change is how that happens. #DoTheWork