Today we begin our readthrough of the extremely wrongheaded YA novel Save the Pearls, which purports to be an anti-racist parable but ends up being offensive to just about everyone. We began with some general comments about the book’s summary and promotional materials; none of us had read it yet.
“Save the Pearls” is a vanity published YA novel trying to bill itself as the next “The Hunger Games.” The publisher says that “‘Save the Pearls turns the tables on racism.’”
It uses blackface as a plot device.
In author Victoria Foyt’s futuristic world, no one wants to mate with white people—or “pearls”—considered to be the ugliest humans oppressed by people of color. In order to survive, they must put on blackface make up to be attractive to the ruling class of “coals.” Hoyt explains: “their stunningly dark skin that carries the greatest amount of melanin…makes them the strongest, most powerful race alive.” The protagonist is a white girl who must smear her face with “midnight luster” make up in order to protect herself from radiation and in order to look beautiful to the oppressive “coals” in hopes that they will mate with her.
I have no fucking words for this. >_<
First, if this is reverse racism world, why are white people being referred to as a precious stone and black people referred to as “coals”? -_- Sure, you could claim it’s to show just how backwards this world is! But more likely it’s to show the innate awesomeness of white people and to imply the innate value of white people that’s being unjustly ignored.
Secondly, seriously, with so few unconventionally attractive heroines in fiction, we need a book about the poor oppressed thin blonde white girl who struggles through “racism” to find true love?
Thirdly, the “look at this horrible future where a blonde thin white girl who would be a model is seen as ugly! How awful a world that would think this!” is SUCH a f-ed up message. >_<
Fourthly, I always hate when privileged people have escapist oppression fantasies. >_< Whether it’s middle class white cis straight people lamenting that they don’t live “interesting lives” like marginalized people, or MRAs and their oppression fantasies. If oppression is a fun fantasy to you, it says a lot about your privilege.
Fifthly, that book sounds hella racist.
Read these tweets for quote excerpts from the book. It’s really an excuse to be racist to black people while saying “it’s not racist for her to think such horrible thoughts about them b/c they are her oppressors in backwards upside down world!”
Sixthly, BLACKFACE IS HEROIC!!! GO HER!!!
Seventhly, that video actually has her in blackface.
Eighthly, of course the expected reaction is for men to go “OF COURSE I WOULD DATE HER!! SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL! WHO WOULD THINK SHE’S UGLY?” and the expected reaction of white people is what I said above “what a f-ed up world where she’s discriminated against!”
Ninthly, it’s pretty sexist to equate her finding a husband as “saving” her. And the implication to men watching the video that by finding her attractive enough to f- you are “saving” her.
Tenthly, racism is all about people not wanting to date you. That’s the biggest problem with racism.
Ami Angelwings: I think the twist ending of the book should be that there are no black people, and it’s all white people in blackface oppressing each other. >_>
Nobby: That would be quite awesome. Sadly, she does not seem that clever.
Rutee: Fucking honkies. Seriously, I fucking wish racism was such a small problem for me I could imagine a world where the worst that happens is I get called a jewel and have trouble marrying a dude. Which, you know, the ‘have trouble dating’ part happens in real life to non-white people anyway, sure, but as you said, it’s far and away not the center of oppression for us.
Oh wait, this isn’t by vanity fair, I feel a little better. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK though. How the fuck does. What the shit is. Blackface! How does this ever, ever, EVER fucking look like a good idea!?
I’m happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest.
Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash.
Soap-mouth-washing words that were forbidden in my youth now populate rap songs so often I wonder if, happily, they have lost their vile connotations.
Are you serious? Do you live in the world?
I have endeavored to raise my children with a color-free mentality. My son once mentioned that his color was white while mine was tan. This was said with no more feeling than if he’d been describing the different colors of our bedrooms.
In fact, I hope that my book will give those who have never experienced prejudice the opportunity to think about it in a new way, especially in terms of how our decaying environment one day may turn around the status quo.
Yeh, watch out, people who aren’t white are coming to get us one day!
Seriously…the love interest is referred to as ‘beastly’?!
The book appears to lift pretty heavily from this YA novel, coincidentally or no, because a white author can obviously explore this premise a LOT better than a black author
Baron_Blackheart: That’s…one of the worst book premises I have yet heard.
Cliff Pervocracy: I can sorta, if I squint, see someone believing that the only way to explain racism to white people is to make them imagine it was happening to them, they they’ll sympathize with a victim of racism if she’s a pretty white girl, and somehow then be better able to transfer that sympathy to people of color.
…Yeah, okay, that doesn’t even fuckin’ make sense plus I think it’s pretty obvious the author is just regular racist, not even the “well-intentioned” kind.
Amnesia: Obviously somebody didn’t take the advice “Write what you know.”
In author Victoria Foyt’s futuristic world, no one wants to mate with white people—or “pearls”—considered to be the ugliest humans oppressed by people of color. In order to survive, they must put on blackface make up to be attractive to the ruling class of “coals.”
“In order to survive,”? Are the “coals” killing them? Cause from the description, it sounds more like “In order to have sex/procreate” which is not exactly life threatening.
“An entire population thinks you’re ugly” =/= WORST OPPRESSION EVA!
Ami Angelwings: I also don’t understand why white people can’t mate with each other?
magical_laura: Apparently they can but Eden is incredibly horrified at mating with a white guy or some shit:
And if you don’t have a mate by the time you’re 18 they take away your ‘basic resources’?
Ami Angelwings: Also, I love how Foyt can’t think of anything actually bad to call white people to be derogatory.
Something white, considered ugly, and hides from light? How about maggots?
There, in 5 seconds I’ve thought of a better idea than she did e_e
(That is if she really DID want to insult white ppl, which it’s pretty clear she doesn’t)
Cliff Pervocracy: Oh my God, this editorial by the author…
I’m white, and except for our housekeeper, everyone I knew in my hometown in the Southeast was white.
Our young heroine, Eden Newman, blond, blue-eyed, slender and 17, considers herself ugly, worthless, the dregs of society.
She couldn’t have made her brunette, brown-eyed, chunky, and 43? Not that it would really help this trainwreck of a story, but making her not just white but a Perfect Princess Of Whiteness is so goddamn amateur hour.
Is this a likely future scenario? I wonder.
In Revealing Eden, the depleted environment brings about extreme social change. However we get there, eventually, the majority will be non-white, and the actors, models, teachers and politicians will reflect the new status quo.
Perceptions of beauty also will likely change. Access to jobs and education will probably shift too. And possibly, past cycles of prejudice may replay… with the tables turned?
Ohhhhh. I see. This is not a “maybe she’s trying to get white people to sympathize with victims of racism and she’s really bad at it” situation. This is some Stormfront shit.
I don’t harbor fears that the existing minority races are waiting for the day they can take revenge on whites. I hope that we are as a whole more evolved, and have learned vital lessons during the Civil Rights era.
She means, she hopes black people learned vital lessons during that era (the last time racism existed, obviously). About how to treat white people.
Discordia: What the *beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep* This should just be called White Privilage: the novel
Amnesia: Please, oh, please, do not let this become the next Twilight.
Amnesia: Just watched the video clip. Now it’s even more ridiculous.
So, humanity has collectively decided that prime fertility is teen/early twenties, and that everyone who isn’t mated should die? You really think letting black people rule would make us that stupid?
Eden: PEARLS AREN’T THAT BAD, REALLY! (But I would die before I mate with one of the two offers from Pearls that I’ve gotten) FOR THE FUTURE OF PEARLS! (Nevermind that by mating with a “coal” I’m ensuring that none of my children will be Pearls at all)
Y U NO USE BRAIN FUNCTIONS?
Ami Angelwings: The more I hear about this the more I want to smack Foyt in the face with a giant trout. This is so fucking anger mongering.
Sharculese: so is there a way in which this isnt just the turner diaries for tweens?
Kyrie: I bet at the end she decides to reclaim the slur “pearl”, realize that white people actually are pretty, fall in love with a white guy and then a bunch of conventionally beautiful young white people teach colored people how not to oppress them.
Simone Lovelace: The reviews on Amazon are pretty great, in a “hey maybe there’s a tiny flicker of hope for humanity” kind of way?
Nobby: Wow, it’s true!
Random Amazon Review wrote:There is never a reason to make racism about white people. Repeat that as many times as you have to before it finally sinks in.
Me: And it’s only part one! Ohnooooooooo!
I would ask “What’s with these vanity-published authors pouring all these resources into making websites and YouTube videos about their books instead of just writing a better goddamn book?”, but seriously, I don’t need to ask.
Me: OMG, that superlatively positive Huffington Post review is actually real! Can you buy Huffington Post articles? Because there seem to be broad swaths of that site with no standards whatsoever.
Cliff Pervocracy: Does HuffPo have some “anyone can blog here!” section that I’m not aware of? Because Foyt’s articles on there are, in addition to being racist, not written to professional standards and consist almost entirely of self-promotion. Is this part of some ill-advised “write your own HuffPo article, kids!” gimmick?
Snowy: Oh wow what the hell is this, stormfront fanfiction? *puke*
Foyt covers interracial issues, what beauty means culturally, and environmental destruction, all while entertaining the reader with one twist after the next.
Who wrote this crap?
Nobby: HuffPo has some very serious quality control issues. I’m not sure why, but it’s definitely come up before. I tend to run into it with incredibly credulous alt-med articles about, say, how awesome homeopathy is, so I’m not too surprised :-/.
What would happen if global warming continued to the point where resistance to deadly solar radiation determined class and beauty?
Wait, what? What does global warming have to do with excess solar radiation? I mean, breakdown of Ozone can lead to global warming, but I’m pretty sure not the reverse. Heck, one of the main problems with global warming is too much shielding!
Ami Angelwings: They confused greenhouse gases with UV rays. Sadly, I know a lot of people confused by this, b/c they grew up as kids being told that the ozone was breaking down and UV rays would kill everybody, and then now they’re hearing about this “global warming thing” and they think it must be the same thing.
Fenriswolf: This is… really real? Really really really real? That is revolting. It’s almost impossible to describe how wrong it is because there is too much wrongness!
Not to mention the patheticness of the entire concept revolving around “mating”. Whaaaa? Hell, it’s not like white men found black slaves too hideous to rape.
Ami Angelwings: That’s another thing that Foyt completely misses… that there’s a LOT of s- involving the intersection of racism and misogyny that WoC get, and it’s not simply “oh I won’t date them”… esp if we’re talking a society like hers where the oppressed group doesn’t have any rights… rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, exotification (though I’m sure Foyt thinks this is a good thing), etc etc…
but apparently the only thing bad about racism that Foyt can think of is “nobody will date this poor beautiful woman”
Fenriswolf: Yuuup. It boggles the mind. Reminiscent of the drama about Rue in The Hunger Games actually, in as far as not even knowing what to say to someone who just said they couldn’t sympathise with a character once they knew she was black. Mind. Blown.
Naira: Well…I just threw up a little bit.
Trying to write a book that takes on society’s prejudices: Good thing
Not knowing a damn thing about them before writing: BAD THING
I really, really want to give people the benefit of the doubt, most of the time. That they’re not trying to asshats. But this whole thing is making it really hard. After a while, you can’t justify being as naive as this author apparently is. You have to grow up and join the adult world. If no one helped you do that earlier, then the onus is on you to educate yourself about these issues.
Prancing along with that much ignorance may not be a crime, but it is certainly nothing to be proud of, either.