It all centres around this book:
In the past few weeks, mass critical discussion of a YA novel by Victoria Foyt – titled Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls – has sprung up online after various people noticed that the book was, shall we say, extremely problematic vis-a-vis racism. And by ‘extremely problematic’, I mean the white female protagonist wears blackface (complete with extra-red lips), black people are called ‘coals’, the black male love interest is literally described as animalistic and bestial, the dystopian elements come in large part from black people being in charge while whites are a demonised minority…
You should really read the rest of Racism, Revealing Eden and STGRB as it gathers together more than enough food for thought on why Revealing Eden fails so dramatically. This makes what follows so much worse:
I have been an anthologist and magazine editor for most of my life, and as of last year became co-publisher and editor of Weird Tales, America’s oldest fantasy magazine. In the upcoming issue, we are publishing the first chapter of Victoria Foyt’s SF novel, Saving the Pearls: Revealing Eden (the subtitle after the colon is an indication that the story will continue in a subsequent novel).
I think NK Jemisin’s reaction nails it:
They’d bought a magazine with an invaluable reputation that had been years in the building, after all; I figured no one would be stupid enough to piss that all away. I was wrong.
They’ve shat it away. And pissed on the steaming pile afterward.
I’ve read historical short stories and novels that make me uncomfortable and I wouldn’t champion them but as a lesson from history I’ll accept that they are what they are.
But the current editors, as Jemisin has so eloquently expressed, have lost the plot.
I know that supporting something that is racist, even if the author and the editors are blind to it, is bad, but then to reprint the first poorly written chapter as something worth reading takes it to another level.
I just don’t get it.