This is something I’ve been thinking about doing ever since I got quite a few attacks when I mentioned the problematic nature of a few certain books on my story on instagram. So many people were reacting as if I had personally attacked them or the author. Saying things I had never said, misinterpreting my words, or simply placing words in my mouth.
I’m trying to make this as lighthearted as possible so this shouldn’t be such a terrible read. Now what I’m going to say may or may not shock you but some of you need a reminder so here we go.
1. You are not your fav author. I’m 100% sure that you are not Sorreh J Mass. So when I say the problems of the book…why do you take it personally? This just doesn’t make sense to me. If someone else didn’t like a book I liked because of, let us say, a love triangle I would not feel personally attacked.
So when I say I don’t like the fact is being racist or homophobic, or anything of the sort why do you attack me(or any other account)? Like where did we attack you? I don’t like racist books and you may not like love triangles. I don’t like homophobic books and you may not like fairy tale retellings. SOOOOooooOO
2. Acknowledging the problems a book has won’t make the author jump out of the pages and slap you. Here is another thing I promise you, the author will not jump out of the pages of the book if you see there’s something harmful about it.
3. You are not being judged for reading a book. You are judged for failing to acknowledge a problem or defending the book when people speak up about the problem. So lets just say, as a hypothetical situation, someone says “hey this author Magdalen Stevenston’s book is not diverse and actually very racist at this point”.
The response you should have is: Oh really? I hadn’t acknowledged that but next time I post about it or recommend it I shall point that out to save my friend from any hurt that might occur.
The wrong and harmful response is: “That’s not racist.” Yes. Yes it is
or “The author didn’t mean it that way.” Well it came out that way so it doesn’t matter at this point.
or “I HAVE A ______ FRIEND AND THEY SAID IT WASN’T RACIST” Well good for your friend, but marginalize folk aren’t monolith.
or “It didn’t bother me.” Good for you, Janice. Now maybe consider other people’s feelings before you go promoting or recommending it.
or “Someone just called me racist for liking Magdalen Stevenston’s book.” No, what the book said was racist.
Yes, these are all things that people have actually said. Instead of understanding there is a problem you make it worse. The book has hurt someone so don’t say it doesn’t. That’s when you truly look extremely disrespectful.
4. You don’t have to stop liking the book. Here’s the thing. A lot of people I am around in the book community, including myself, will stop supporting the book immediately. That’s just how we work. We aren’t asking you to stop liking it. We aren’t asking you to go burn all copies of the book you find. No.
What you can do to help is acknowledge the problem. For example.
“Oh I just read The BlueJay King. I loved it so much but there were a few things that weren’t okay. Like the fact they were racist to this character in this part. And also she shamed a girl for wearing a bathing suit but she is constantly being described as a feminist?? Those parts irked me but the rest of the book was great!”
What you shouldn’t do is “I’m going to purposefully read this book so I, a person who is not in the group of people it offended, can decide if they can actually be offended by it” Yeah because you totally know better than them about what offends them.
But hey, if you do want to stop promoting harmful books then do it! You can make some arts and crafts with the book. Or keep them and just not promote them. Or sell them and make some money $$$.
5. Don’t block people who say point out something negative about your fav. Seriously, unfollow if it bothers you but blocking is sending a very bad message. If they personally attack you for liking a book don’t hesitate in blocking. But if they are talking about a problem in a book the problem isn’t you. It’s the book(refer to number 1).
So, this is not all I have to say about this topic but I have a feeling I’m going to write more on this “Your Fav is Problematic, Now What?” so if you are intrested maybe consider commenting below that you do or dm me on instagram.
If you have any questions about this don’t hesitate in commenting below or once again dming me on instagram. Reminder that I am opening up questions for this, do not pester people who have not said its okay to ask question because if too much happens it can be mentally toiling.
Have a good day!