By Tqwana B.
This will be quick and dirty. Many others have already taken to social media to give this woman the business. I’m only going to focus on one aspect of her tone-deaf comments here.
Please do read Debbie Reese’s post here – Not recommended: A FINE DESSERT by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall
Another weekend has passed and another privileged white author is butt hurt over being called out on their shit. Not another. The same one as before. Will someone please tell Meg Rosoff to have several damn seats?!
Anyway, if you haven’t seen her latest post, here’s the part I want to address:
So, publishers are pulling back from publishing diverse books?
Not that I actually believe this to be true. But, we don’t need or want ignorant people like that publishing books about representation, or you know – THE TRUTH. Because those editors and publishers and designers and illustrators aren’t willing to put in the work to get it right, and then we end up with A Fine Dessert, which perpetuates the myth of the happy darky, which “frequently portrayed African Americans as happier and better off under slavery than they would be… if they were free.” Not to mention how that relates to blackface and minstrel shows.
How could any editor – or any reasonably intelligent human being – think that showing slaves smiling, happy, licking the scraps from their masters’ plates while hiding in a cupboard was a good thing or a positive portrayal of owning humans?
Trick question. There can never be a positive portrayal of owning humans! Yes, let’s smile and laugh, as if getting caught wouldn’t end with being flogged or worse.
What’s next, Meg? Will you be defending illustrated books that show the Middle Passage as luxury cruises, perhaps?
If you’re not going to get it right, then don’t bother. Representation is about more than inserting a token, marginalized character(s) and expecting a pat on the back, because “yay, diversity!”
Get it right, or stay in your lane. And sorry Ms. Rosoff, A Fine Dessert did not get it right.
*As always, opinions are my own and do not represent those of my employer, friends, relatives, neighbors, roommates, strangers on the J train, former pets, etc.*