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Writers Against Racism: Teri Woods

How could an innocent book release party turn into another chapter in our W.A.R. series? 

Read on…

(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?

ALIBI by Teri Woods (Grand Central Publishing August 6, 2009)

"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."


  1. Jo Ann Hernandez says:

    oh man, this hurts just to read. Oh how it hurts.

  2. George Edward Stanley says:

    Am I missing something here? I thought it was illegal to deny people entry to an establishment – white, black, skinny, fat, whatever! I do read stories about NYC establishments (nightclubs) only letting in “famous” people – or people with “connections” – whatever that means. I’ve always wondered about the legality of that. The racism aspect of this just shows how far we still have to go. (Is it just me or do other people also think we’re heading backwards??) Frankly, I think having a New York Times Best-Selling Author, along with invited guests, in one’s establishment would be a real plus!

  3. B Herrera says:

    I’ve always thought people in places which denied entry if you weren’t famous or rich or white enough were just trying to hide the fact that they were inferior in every way. When a place starts bragging about accepting only “certain” people, I make a note to avoid that place because I don’t want to be around losers. But I also have been to places only to discover that I wasn’t welcome because I didn’t look elite enough. It is an awful feeling and hurts, no matter how tough you are. Also, perhaps the President of the United States would like to address the issue of so many black people being discriminated against. If he can do it for a Harvard professor, he can do it for a best-selling author and her many friends. Events like this need national attention. People who reject based on looks need to be publically humilitated so they can better understand the effect of what they are doing to others.

  4. Amy Bowllan says:

    My problem is that it’s as though Teri has to apologize for those who were over weight. Being of color, I can only imagine how many times in a day this happens. It’s amazing how there are no classes in schools that is solely in the curriculum to “undo” racism. We all have some prejudices, but it seems like the LOOKS one, is the most prevalent. No?

  5. B Herrera says:

    LOOKS are the easiest way to judge people by and most people who are prejudice are basically too lazy to look past the surface.