How could an innocent book release party turn into another chapter in our W.A.R. series?
(photo comes via Hachette Book Group)
While the owners of a NYC nightclub are calling it a publicity stunt, author, Teri Woods, is calling it RACISM, and is filing a $1 billion discrimination lawsuit to prove her case. And as far as a publicity stunt (my thoughts), why would she want to jeopardize her writing career? I mean, having spent the last several months with W.A.R., the one thing I learned is that authors of color have a difficult time getting published, so why go out of your way to ruin an opportunity?
"Woods said most of the 175 guests invited to Greenhouse on Aug. 6 for the launch of her new book, "Alibi, [ Grand Central Publishing (August 6, 2009)] " were kept outside. All who were denied entry were black." (via Lou Young CBS 2 NY)
"Woods says, "I was clearly violated that night, and so were so many other people… All I know is it had something to do with ‘your people’ and ‘fat.’ There was nobody out there who was fat, and even if there was a fat person, who cares?" (via The Gothamist)
Well, Teri, people still – do- care about looks; which is precisely why we have been sharing our W.A.R. stories. Whether it’s depicted in a book, taught to us in school, or learned at home, racism exists. And while your lawsuit will not rid the people who violated you (and your guests) of their racism, it will send a message that will hold people accountable for their actions. We still have to have dialogues about why they didn’t want your guests to enter their nightclub.
Author Mitali Perkins addresses her own expierence with looks in her W.A.R. interview.
"It’s my first week in this new suburban born-in-the-USA middle school and I’m in P.E. class, waiting to be picked for a team. I’ve been feeling invisible as the only brown-skinned seventh-grader ever since we moved here from Flushing, Queens. Until now.
"Oh, fine, then. I’ll take the black ugly thing," says one of the captains.
Every head swivels. Every eye focuses on me. I’m stunned for a moment. Immobilized. Then, fighting back tears (stupid tears), I shuffle over to my team and we start playing."
Author Malathi Michelle Iyengar also contributed to W.A.R.
"Growing up in North Carolina, I was constantly bombarded with messages telling me that my brown skin made me dirty, ugly, and un-American. These messages came from other children, from adults, from commercial media such as television, and yes, even from children’s literature. I distinctly remember sitting in the bathtub and trying to bleach the brown out of my skin using water and a creamy bar of Lowila soap."