I am shaking, I am so extremely disgusted and angry. I wanted to bring this to people’s attention. Here is an article from Feb. of this year written by Victoria Foyt. This excerpt in particular (bold emphasis mine):
[Imagine this: a fourth grade girl with wild curly hair, huge green eyes and large bee-stung lips, her skin perpetually tanned from the Florida sun, stands alone waiting for her mother to pick her up after school. A large yellow school bus begins to pull away when a young boy sticks his head out of the window and hurls a racial slur at the girl.
Her first reaction is shame. He has slandered her with an ugly epithet — a disgusting remark about her lips. Later, she wonders how he could possibly have mistaken her race. She is white, the remark usually targeted at blacks. (The term “African American” did not exist in that day.)
Confused and hurt, she wonders why her appearance should elicit such hatred. She hides this incident in the back of her mind and never repeats it to anyone until many years later when she writes a book in which she turns racial stereotypes upside down.]
I have tried to read this as any other way but the fact remains that Victoria Foyt seemed to have been inspired by being hurt because hate speech and racism that was usually targeted at blacks was, in one single instance, targeted at her. A white woman.
Any decent human being might have seen this as an opportunity to take that shame and confusion and use it to relate to the many people who are given this sort of treatment every day of their lives.
But no, not Victoria Foyt. She has used it to create a world in which a white female protagonist can again sit and wonder why anyone would wrongfully hate her. A world in which the heroine must rise up and prove that yes, she is beautiful and smart and “mateable”.
The only thing Victoria Foyt has done to turn the tables on racism in this book is the fact that she took the cruel, screaming boy from her childhood (would it be safe to venture a guess that it was a white boy who would yell “an ugly epithet—a disgusting remark about her lips”?) and wrote him as a black villain.
Can we stop focusing on who’s being discriminated against, and just stop discriminating?