The publishing industry, like many other industries, is filled with white saviors. Basically, we knew this already, but I was sadly reminded of it when I woke up this morning and saw that Maggie Stiefvater wrote something about why she accepted an invitation to sit on a panel about the "other."
I'm honestly so appalled that I'm not even sure what to say. First of all, the fact that she mentioned something about "unpopular" races is just...I can't. That alone is full of white privilege. So basically, all other races are boring until a white person writes about us. Right?
I have no idea how this woman has not experienced racism or anything else that comes with being a racial minority, but presumes to sit on a panel and "educate" about it.
Second, she said that, even though she doesn't know what she's talking about, she's qualified to sit on the panel. Right. Because, you know, there has to be a token white author up there to validate everyone else's words. That's what she basically is saying, right?
Also, this is just a bunch of issues with the publishing industry in general. Publishing seems to be this super white industry, even though there are campaigns to get more diversity. The thing is, though, now that there is a call for diversity, white people (and other majorities) think it means that they can make a lot of money/get a lot of recognition if they write diverse characters.
(Sort of like how cis actors like Eddie Redmayne portray trans characters because of the recognition they hope to get, but I digress.)
Look, sometimes white people write good characters of color. But the idea is that we don't want them writing all of them. We want to write our own stories. And, since YA has this weird thing where they fixate on about five authors for ten years at a time, I have a feeling this is what will happen:
Say John Green decides to write a book about a black kid. The kid is well written, I guess, but there are black authors writing black kids from their actual experience. John Green gets film adaptations and awards and NYT spots.
Black authors sometimes don't even get agents.
And, since publishing (like a lot of entertainment industries) is still ruled by mostly white people, there's this weird...thing where people of color can't talk about these things. We can't bring them up or call people out. Because then we might look like "trouble to work with." I've seen black authors who are just painted as angry all of the time.
People have told me that you have to be this approachable butterfly for white people to pay attention to you. Even if your writing is good, you have to be this docile flower for the right editor to get your book and the right agent and the right author to blurb your book.
It's absolute rubbish, and I don't care if I never get published for saying so.
But then there was this drama with Halsey. Maggie has basically been making fun of Halsey, a singer who is probably way more qualified to sit on this diversity panel, for a while now. She basically uses her as a weird joke/parody thing, and also made fun of her break up.
Maggie was like "Ohhhh, I didn't think that you would see so basically it's okay."
1. It's not freaking okay.
2. She legit tagged Halsey in the tweets where she made fun of her. Maggie has 67k followers. And tagged Halsey. Rule number one, you don't tag someone if you don't want them to see the tweet. That's like, basic Twitter logic. Two, you have a lot of followers. You're somewhat of a public figure, and didn't think this would be seen? Okay. Sure.
3. This is partially me being bitter about the John Green Tumblr thing that happened a little while ago, but still. Basically, someone on Tumblr wrote an offensive post about John Green. They didn't think he would see it, because they were a tiny little blog and he is this big author famous person.
But oH NO. He found it and called her out and so did Maggie. She said the fact that this original poster didn't think John would see it wasn't an excuse. She JUMPED on this person about it, and wrote something about all the negativity on social media or whatever.
But, now that Halsey is calling her out, the fact that "Maggie didn't think she was going to see" is valid. Hmm. Now is it because Maggie is a white woman? Because she is the "voice of the youth" or something?
Or is it just because she's the exception to every rule?