By Kiarra M. Taylor
The events of the last twenty four hours have been nothing short of baffling. And once again it comes back to, arguably, one of the most contentious subjects in the world: racism.
Yesterday, a friend and an avid member of our beloved book community made an innocent post (see below screenshot, which is posted with Martha’s permission).
Read this post. Did it offend you?
If the answer is ‘no’, thank you. Thank you for allowing someone else’s opinion to be just that: THEIR OPINON.
If the answer is ‘yes’, buckle up and settle in for the ride, or more accurately, the read.
Martha is no stranger to controversy in the book world. She is an advocate for equality in all things. Whether it’s for plus sized models or models of different ethnicities getting more jobs/recognition. Whether it’s championing well known authors or the author just starting out. Whether it is loving, supporting, and speaking up for the LGBTQ community. Whether it’s drawing awareness to adopted children or children with special needs. Whatever it is, it’s always something that she feels passionate about, which she is very much entitled to do–note my use of that word ‘entitled’ because we’re going to come back to it shortly.
As we all know, being outspoken almost assuredly comes with backlash. I have to give credit to Martha because she is very much aware of the backhanded comments that are made about her in the book community. Very much aware of the assumption that she is a ‘drama llama’. Very much aware of the hate that is spewed her way because she has the audacity, the nerve, the courage *insert sarcasm here* to stand up for what’s right. Whether she’s standing up to an everyday person, your favorite author, or your favorite author’s favorite author. And she doesn’t let it stop her. She just keeps on moving forward with her dreams and goals.
There are people who don’t like this woman, think she is drama, and generally hang around on her friends list waiting for the opportunity to hop on HER post(s) and be nasty toward her, or, just to be nosy. Okay, so that’s the background that I wanted to lay out for you.
Now, back to what happened yesterday and is actually STILL happening even as I type this (yes, people are still commenting and making hateful, ignorant, privileged statements. Unbelievable, right?).
When Martha made her post, note the language she used. It was non-inflammatory, non-aggressive, and very self-oriented. What does that mean? That means she didn’t use offensive language, wasn’t overly angry (which she has the right to be if you want to go that route, but I digress), and most importantly she wasn’t making a post telling everyone that they should boycott signings that weren’t diverse, she simply stated that SHE, owner of her body and soul and wallet, would not be spending any more of her hard earned (she’s a teacher, if that’s not hard earned money I don’t know what is!) money on signings that didn’t promote diversity.
Simple statement. Right? Much like me making a post saying, “I don’t like the way Wendy’s fries my French fries. If they can’t fry them crispier, then I am going to take my money to Burger King.” This is a true statement by the way. Wendy’s, if you’re reading this FRENCH FRIES NEED TANS TOO!
Then guess what? People actually got offended by the post. *insert dramatic outraged gasp here* Yes, you read that correctly. People got on a post and had the nerve to tell the owner that she was wrong for feeling how she felt. The hateful, entitled comments that followed were mind-blowing.
Where I come into play…
I work all day, so by the time I got home it was 6:30 my time, but 9:30 everyone else’s time. I’m sitting in my car in front of my house scrolling through my timeline and I see Martha’s post. I keep scrolling. A few posts later, I see a post by another woman of color that is basically ‘vaguebooking’ Martha’s post. Normally, I would have kept on scrolling, because as we know, people are pussies and never have the nerve to go directly to the person who they took the time out of their super busy, super important lives to ‘vaguebook’ about. But then I read the comments. A group of people proceeded to drag this woman, my friend, through the mud. What’s worse is one of the people engaging in this ‘gang bang’ was a ‘man’. I use that term loosely, because where I come from I don’t know a single man who has the time or the inclination to participate in a group bashing of a FEMALE. Nope. Don’t know a single one. What’s even worse is that one of the people engaging in this ‘gang bang’ then proceeded to drop Martha’s name making it known to anyone who cared to read that they were talking about her. For me, that’s where the line was crossed. If you drop my name in ANYTHING, I’m going to rebut. I thought it only right that Martha had the chance. So, acting accordingly, I sent screenshots to my friend.
The people on this post were doing it because they thought they could, because they THOUGHT she would never see it. These, my friends, are what the politically correct call ‘cowards’. These, my friends, are what I call ‘pussies’. Have one. Love one. Eat one. But by all means, do not BE one. If you feel the need to say something, go all out with it. I’d respect you more for it. Am I still going to verbally eviscerate you? Yes. But, while you’ll walk away wounded, you’ll do so with a modicum of my respect, if that means anything at all to you.
Now, I have screen shots-almost a hundred of them-of every single hateful comment that was spewed. I seriously debated whether or not to include them all in here, but decided that it wouldn’t be right if I put the names and faces of these people out there. If I did that I would be just as guilty, as wrong, and malicious as the person who dropped Martha’s name on the Facebook post.
The point of this blog post is to tell you the unfiltered truth. When there is drama in the book world it is often propagated by people gossiping about it without knowing all the facts. These are the facts. The proof is still up on Facebook and I have asked Martha to leave the post there because she has done NOTHING wrong.
Take a look for yourself. Just know that my part in it, was based solely on sticking up for what was right. Martha’s part in it was based solely on advocating for what she feels is best for HER. No one HAS to comment on things they do not like or do not agree with. Yes, as the argument is so often stated, FB IS INDEED there for people to make comments and engage. But it is NOT there for you to come on a person’s post and attack them, tell them they are wrong for having feelings or stating their opinion, tell them they are “everything that’s wrong with America”, tell them that they are inciting drama, or DEMAND that they tell you when, where, and who was being racist for it to be validated. For them to believe you. “What signing?” “What event host/organizer?” “If you can’t or won’t tell us, then you’re lying and causing drama as usual!”
This, people, is entitlement in all its glory (if that’s even possible). Who are you to demand anything of a woman/person that you did not push out of your vagina? Sorry, honey, my mother doesn’t even make demands of me and she carried me for 40 weeks then proceeded to deliver me without an epidural. She’s the real OG and even she has enough respect for me as a person not to make entitled demands of me. So why in the ever loving BLEEP do you think that little old YOU CAN?
People came on the post saying, “I’m Asian and I go to signings all the time and don’t experience racism.” Or “I’m an Asian gay man blah, blah, blah I go to signings….” We get this people. We totally do. That has been YOUR experience, this has been MARTHA’S. Don’t come on her post talking about things which you do not know anything about because then you look inherently ignorant. And that’s just sad.
I’ll part with these words, in no way am I saying that Martha, my friend, an advocate for all things good and right, is an angel one hundred percent of the time. None of us are. I can personally tell you that I’m not generally a nice person (I’m a Gemini, enough said), which is why I tend to like keeping to myself. I don’t force my smart mouth or my inherent surliness on anyone because that wouldn’t be fair. But what I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with someone posting on their own page. I’m also saying that it’s never right to attack a person for their opinion, whether you take the ballsy approach and do it on their post or the pussy approach and make a post about them that you think they won’t see. It’s not right.
The ignorant people commenting on the post have attempted to make a martyr out of Martha. Meaning, you tried to figuratively eviscerate her for her beliefs and opinions. To that, she wanted me to let you all know, “Not today, Satan. No, thanks, I’m good.”
Stay classy, or stay ignorant or stay woke. The choice is up to you, but either way, you can rest assured that neither Martha nor I will come on your post attacking you for your choice.