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« Backstory News & Submission details | Main | The Doctor is In »

April 20, 2006


R. Feinman

Read the author's blog and sat back in surprise. Have I been under a rock? Had no clue this type of thing was happening in the industry.

I'm with you M.J. Where are the investigative reports? Forcing a black author to write only of black characters is a severe abuse of power.

Ancient History Reader


Hallujah, oh my soul.

You said:
"Where are the investigative journalists? I haven’t seen a single article either inside the industry press or outside of it. And that’s wrong".

Well judging from the surrounding blindness of media entities to such boiling issue, speaks volumes that people in high places in America are still relishing RACISM. For what else could cause such reticence at this time?

But I can tell you if another race riot should beak out because minorities are just too fedup with being treated second class,
the media would be out there in just one minute.


This probably shouldn't be shocking, but it shocked me. Wish I had something more helpful to say.


I wish I was surprised by this, but I've heard things like it before--like a black screenwriter I know who was told by a production company that they'd make his movie if he rewrote it with white characters. Even though not surprising, it still has the power to shock, however, and it made me absolutely sick.

When are people going to start caring that many, many talented writers and artists go through this every day?

Katharine Weber

I have a black friend who has been told by her editors that she has to include physical descriptions of her black characters every so often through her novels. Every cover on her novels has shown at least an arm or a leg or something to indicate that the characters are black.

It goes without saying that I have never been asked by an editor to insert references to the skin tones of my white characters to remind my readers every so often that they are reading about caucasians.



Astonishingly bizarre of this civilize day and time, eh?

Why is it that such an incredible behavior of desperate racial treatment against author Millenia Black, by a posh mainstream publisher taken so reticently by the media?

Is racism being nursed here?

Do you've to be a White Run-away Bride, White Laci Peterson, White Chandra Levy, or anything just plain "white" for your cause to be news worthy?

Is this a picture of whited-wall sepulcher, over which men walk without knowing its there... only to have a ghost haunt your soul?

What does this say for the greatest country known today, "The United States of America?

Should circumstances have to compel White racist out of their closet?

Aren't they tired of being racist, of always turning their eyes away from the issues of minorities?

Oh, I can see something. Maybe you'll share my vision too. Besause there's no general "high premium" on minority as a whole...inturn there's often little or no media interest on minority causes. Of course, minority nwes don't sell 1/3 as much as that of whites.

But this latest one with Ms. Black, takes the cake. It's a very bad one, and I'm sure the most racist of them wont want to talk about it at their dinner table, because it really stinks

Well well, well. How does racism help any society? It does not.

It's the USA for you.

Justine Hanks

When indeed, T. When will people start caring about this. I think it's horrible, as a white person myself, I can't imagine being a black person in American today. We may not say so publicly, but we do feel a divide among us, that's what translates to what this publisher has done to Ms. Black. It comes naturally to them to treat her this way.

THAT IS WRONG. I hope she gets Oprah's ear on this!


Well, Oprah or no Oprah, she could sue them under 42 USC 1981. If Ms. Black can prove they refused to publish it because the characters were white, and she herself is not, they will have to prove they do this with ALL their authors or she'll have a pretty good case under 1981. It could even set precedent.

Bestselling Author, Pontif.

I’m a little late, but I just blogged about this and I don’t think a boycott (as is being organized) is the way to go. It wouldn’t likely be effective.

I think supporting Millenia in word and deed, by buying her first book, as Dakota Knight said, by not letting this subject die down, write to the press, Oprah and all the rest, to call attention to the injustice of a black author being told her book is unacceptable because the characters aren’t black, is more likely to yield better results, not just for her, but for all of us black writers to get a step closer to literary freedom. How does that sound?



(212) 930-8500





Ancient Reader

Ms. MJ Rose:

Here's the latest on the Millenia Black saga with her publisher at her blog? Well she has hired an attorney, served Penguin Publishers with a demand letter that resulted in the acceptance of her second book with all white characters. Yes, you hear it right!

Have you seen the latest entry on her blog?

Ancient Reader


How come you refused to post Millenia Black's own response to this post? Based on the reasons Ms. Black says on her blog that you gave, I cannot understand how the author's own reply would not be relevant here.


I didn't refuse at all. I told MB she was more than welcome to post her comments here.


I just went and looked at Millenia's blog. I'm confused why she thinks MJ should be the one to host her when she doesn't even list MJ's blog on her list of blogs she likes to read. How weird is that? And what is wrong with Millenia posting her essay on her own blog - why does she need MJ's blog? I'm honestly really confused by all this. (And I am a minority.)

Ancient Reader


Did you miss the part where MJ asked for responses to be sent directly to her?

It appears that's what Millenia did, so where is the cause for

From what I've read, the nuclei of the issue is that MJ seemed to have agreed to post the response, and then reneged on it by giving a begrudging excuse.


Dear Ancient Reader,
I didn't reneg. I offered her to post it here. This is my own blog not a journalistic space. I was the first blogger to even write about an issue back in the spring. Not a single journalist or industry pundit wrote about it -then or now - yet I'm getting lamblasted for being unfair.

Ancient Reader


Can I ask you to shift your perspective on my comments? I don't think anyone wants to lamblast you. I have not said, nor seen it said, that your blog was a journalistic space, or that you are obligated to post anything you don't want. What brings pause in this situation is the reasons you gave for not posting a particular response to your own pioneering post (as a separate entry as you did with the others) about racism in publishing, or as you called it, marginalizing.

You're saying you didn't renege, but didn't you? Ms. Black says you agreed and then changed your mind and told her to put in a comment. My observations lead to the appearance that perhaps you and maybe your peers have simply had enough of the topic, being it doesn't directly affect you, and that was the biased spirit you responded to Ms. Black. Post it as a comment, because you won your battle and there's been enough about it in the blog world. Again, not lamblasting you, MJ, but just questioning.


Dear Ancient Reader,
This is what happened.

I opened the dialog during the winter and invited responses. Now, this summer, I am covering other topics. That's why I suggested she post in comments where it would have some relevancy.

I didn't read the essay in question when she first sent it in email because I was travelling and had no time.

I aksed her to send it Word so if I chose to post it after I read - I'd have in the right format as I do with everything thing that comes in.

When I finally read the essay I didn't think there was anything in it that hadn't been covered in other responses on my blog back when I did the topic. Like the brilliant essay by T.Myers. That's why I suggested Millenia post it here, in comments - which is still offering my blog to her.

Millenia has her own very very successful blog - why does it matter at all for it to be on my blog? Isn't her blog for her essays?

Ancient Reader


It behooves us not to blow this out of proportion. Lets give this some tolerance for possible mis-inference, between you and Millenia.

There's no doubt that your blog is yours and Millenia's Millenia's. Your explanation seems to have a ring of truth and in this you must receive the benefit of anyone's doubt, I'd offer.

But I'll say this though MJ, talking to folks in blacks position seems to call for a special science. Because though your explanation has to be taken as genuine yet to one with a detective mind, your initial excuse for not posting the comment, could be interpreted just as Millenia thought, and that may only be avoided when you've a historical stance on the concerns . We'll bear in mind that suspicions may not be facts.

For your candor about this I apologize for any wrongly placed judgments that I've applied to you and applause you for the interest you've devoted to the issue instead, for indeed you could have been tight-lipped about it like some others who just don't give a damn, both blacks and whites alike.

You've been quite polite on the witness stand here, and I do respect that, thanks.


Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtfullness and willingness to understand it from my persepctive as I now understand it from yours.

Millenia Black

Hi MJ - I've read your comments to Ancient Reader. What I shared on my blog was not meant to be an attack on you. I want to make that clear. It goes w/o saying that you have no obligations, but being as I typed that response expressly for a topic you posted on your blog, not my own, I was disappointed. And the explanation you gave me, is not what you've now stated here. I was not aware that you hadn't read it the first time. So based on what you did tell me, I simply expressed my perspective therein. I'm sorry our lines were crossed.

In any event, I still look up to you as someone who has a worthy platform and can have a positive impact on the disparities currently affecting many authors. You have expressed your concerns about racial marginalizing in previous posts, and I think that's good. The effects of racial publishing is currently a "black authors'" problem, and that should not be. It should be a collective concern without regard to the race of the authors affected.

MJ, I think it's safe to say that we are united in the belief that books should be categorized per subject matter, and not per race of authors. That is not the way things are happening, so my hope is that, in the spirit of reform, you would not be opposed to continuing to shine focus on the unfortunate racial divide of our industry.


Thank you for posting, Millenia.

And I do plan on continuing any and all conversations - about any author or group of authors and even publishers or bookstores who have issues that need to be aired.


The comments to this entry are closed.

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