Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dragons Can Be Whitewashed Too

The Dragon and the Stars (DAW, May 2010) is a science fiction and fantasy anthology featuring Chinese writers from all over the world. The cover is of a Western dragon, not a Chinese dragon. Click here and here to read blog posts and comments about the cover. Thanks to Bibliophile Stalker for this news!

14 comments:

beth said...

Wow. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! So odd that the book publishers and cover designers are shallow even in this aspect...

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

... Wow. I think I'm ready to cry. I don't even have words for how upset I am about this.

Zetta said...

That's ridiculous...I'm with you, Ah Yuan--I'm so fed up with these idiots. And I have to believe that if the industry weren't so homogeneous (WHITE) we wouldn't as frequently run into these idiotic situations. Thanks for sharing this, Tarie.

Tarie said...

I'm tired and exasperated. I'm also close to exploding.

Chen said...

Sound like an interesting anthology, though.

Charles said...

Please buy the antho though. Boycotting it hurts the contributing authors (me!) and sends the message that such themes aren't in demand. =)

Tarie said...

Chen and Charles, I hate all this. I hate how the publisher has put me in this difficult position. :(

Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon has a Chinese dragon on its cover. Did that hurt the book? NO. It was featured on American national television (The Today Show with Al Roker). And now it has a Newbery Honor Award!

campbele said...

Taria,
Americans will be oblivious of this issue unless it's brought to there attention. As you can see with the whitewashing issue, they'll do it as long as they can get away with it.

Do you by chance know if the editors or publisher has been contacted for comment?

Charles said...

Unfortunately, the art problem is more of a budget problem as the recent anthologies in the line has been sourced from stock photos: http://oldcharliebrown.livejournal.com/301877.html

Tarie said...

Edi, the publisher is DAW. They specialize in science fiction and fantasy and I believe they are under Penguin USA.

Charles, I have mad respect for you and I love you, but I think we are going to have to agree to disagree here. There are certainly stock photos of Chinese dragons. Much more thought needs to go into book covers. After all, books are not just commodities (though publishers treat them as just commodities). This isn't just about one book cover. This is about race and representation on book covers in general.

Doret said...

This doesn't make any sense. Why do they think a Chinese Dragon would hurt sales?

Many White people love Asian fiction. In the bookstore I get White customers all the time looking for books by Asian authors.

If I was going to add anything to the Stuff White People like Blog

It would be Asian fiction

So there really was no need to Whitewash this Dragon, even if DAW was marketing to only their White customers - I think they would fully embrace the authenticity of a Chinese Dragon

Tarie - Do you know you are going to read the collection?

Maybe the people who picked the cover didn't realize what they were doing. But that is No Excuse. If you don't know ask.

If they didn't want the authors to know they knew nothing about Dragons and their importance to Chinese culture - there's always google.

Tarie said...

Doret, I honestly think this is carelessness on the part of the publishers. And like you said, that is no excuse. This kind of carelessness (or ignorance or both) perpetuates institutional racism!

I don't think I'll be buying the book. This is a very personal choice, as well as a political one. I must be consistent. I can't boycott one publisher (first Bloomsbury, now Little Brown) and then tolerate another who made a similar mistake just because that second publisher published Asian writers (including one who is an influence and inspiration to my blogging).

Anonymous said...

that cover is just awful. the people who pick it up on a whim aren't getting what they expect and the people who would like to read the book will probably miss it entirely.

-_-

Tarie said...

Anon, exactly! :(