There was much fanfare with the release of the all-female cast of the remake of Ghostbusters. I loved the Ghostbusters franchise and was interested to see what they would do with the new set of funny ladies as paranormal scientists. The cast was headed by SNL alums Kristen Wigg, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon with Melissa McCarthy as the powerhouse (my opinion). Because mainstream or at least visible black women comedians are in such short supply it was no surprise that Leslie Jones was cast. She’s currently on SNL, she gets big laughs and she’s super enthusiastic if any of you saw her Olympics recaps she posted on her social media streams, but there is something very triggering about women being visual in media. Especially if they aren't… Click To Tweet This is true for all women, but especially true for women like Leslie who don’t “fit in” to the TV narrative that CoverGirl and the networks would have you spend your last red penny trying to conform to. And here is where Milo comes in.
Milo Yiannopolous is a bully. He’s built his fame on the fears of folks who want America to be what it was, a gleaming paradise for well connected white men with well-paying factory jobs whose wives neither work, get fat or vote. A self-proclaimed journalist and member of the “alt-right” he prides himself on free speech. Be clear “alt-right” is in itself a politically correct term to boil down racist, mysoginist, anti-intellectual into something that doesn’t sting when you hurl it. Apparently, calling someone racist has now become more offensive than actually being a racist Click To Tweet.
Milo, puffed up with the digital pats on the back of the hordes of people who are sick of seeing brown faces forced on them on their television and movie screens, decided to ignite a firestorm of disgusting racist tweets at the lovely Leslie for kicks. His supporters jumped on the bandwagon and because lynching is a national past-time here in America Leslie’s timeline was filled with the most vile comments, not to mention the videos where people defiled her pictures and posters.
Because of this incident and more Milo was banned from twitter, but that was not the end for our dear friend. He now has a book deal with Simon and Schuster. As he tells it, he walked in and spoke his mind freely and instead of kicking him out they gave him 250K. Shocking to some, but not to me. You should have seen this coming. And if you didn’t I must say that you have’nt been paying attention.
As a member of the diverse book community we want to appeal to the hearts of those in the publishing industry so that they can see the error of their ways and just open their eyes to the wonderful stories featuring all people of all races, sexual orientations and ability levels. We call for boycotts and live tweet read-alongs hoping to show the industry how wrong they are, have been and continue to be. But let me be clear…
They don’t care.
The industry is a money making machine. As soon as they can prove that something will make a dollar and make it quickly, they will buy it. Appealing to the heart of the industry will never work, because publishing has no heart. What does work is showing the industry that there is a buying audience for their titles. When you can show them customers, they will provide a product. Milo was offered a deal because he’s proven that he has customers willing to purchase his product. Time focused on him only takes away from the great diverse books that we should be highlighting, reviewing and sharing.
I can’t in good conscience boycott S&S because they have great diverse imprints. Those authors may not be able to get shelf space where it not for those imprints. Boycotting S&S would mean that I would be boycotting those authors in order to prove a point about a book and an author I had no intention on buying anyway. Instead, I am putting my energy into promoting those authors that produce the content I want to see and I believe should be seen. If we can collectively do that the industry will undoubtedly take notice because they’ll want the dollars in our pockets. I also believe that positive energy is much more effective than negative. The Montgomery Bus Boycott didn’t work just because people just stopped using the busses, it was because of the alternative market that sprang up from ride sharing and walking.
Let’s be honest, the things we want to boycott were never things we wanted to patronize in the first place. What would happen if instead, you highlighted a self-published diverse author who could never get seat at S&S’s office. What would happen if you highlighted someone who could never convince all those young girls from Brown that slog through the slush piles that her Korean Steampunk novel was worth a chance?
What say you? Will you join me in the light? Check out my video about the #iwriteincolor campaign, it is a part of the light-filled movement.
You can read more about Milo’s books and the backlash at Publisher’s Weekly:
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