The Ultimate Literary Fail
I’m always known for being late on what’s trending, and I’m definitely late on the recent buzz regarding a certain YA book that has angered the internet.
The book is called Revealing Eden, Save The Pearls: Part One by Victoria Foyt. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where global warming somehow made black people, referred as ‘Coals’ in the novel, the dominant race whereas white people (‘Pearls’) are the severely oppressed minority. A Pearl named Eden must mate before her 18th birthday or else she will be sentenced to a heat-induced death. The problem is that since she’s a pearl, she has a very low chance of mating based on the mate-rate system seeing as how white skin is now ugly and disgraceful. Her only chance is to mate with a Coal, a black man.
Eden was secretly dating Jamal, but their relationship puts her and her father’s experiments in trouble as she is exiled to a land known as Rainforest. Now, she must save her father who is humanity’s best hope for survival while posing as a coal through the racist art of blackface.
I’ve never read the book in its entirety (only some snippets) which may be a good thing after reading the synopsis and reviews. I probably would’ve put a gun to my mouth after reading it. Thankfully, some people have taken that risk and have criticized the book accordingly. And from what I’ve gathered, this may be the worst YA novel of the new millennium – maybe of all time!
Through my investigation, I read the reviews for this book and many declare it to be a racist, poorly written materialized nightmare for white folks who fear a black planet. They’ve paid special attention to the racist terms for different colors of people, but none was more obvious than the fact that blacks were referred to as Coals and whites were called Pearls.
Plus, the black characters in the novel were stereotyped with the women being seen mostly as bitter and conniving and males as vile and animalistic. Eden, who’s supposed to be the protagonist of the epic, was the only character given unlimited sympathy even though, from commentary alone, had nothing appealing about her. (And no, it’s not because she’s white.)
Then, we have the tired-ass trope of white men saving the world. Eden’s father is a scientist who’s working to fight off the harsh effects of radiation by creating a way for humans to surviving. How, you ask? He will use DNA from a jaguar, an anaconda, and an eagle.
Even in science fiction terms, that doesn’t make one bit of sense.
Did I mention that there are numerous videos promoting this book and many of them have white people in blackface? No? Well, there are numerous videos promoting this book and many of them have white people in blackface.
All this and more is why this book is like the Main Kampf of the 21st Century. Of course, there are those who have tried and failed to defend Foyt’s piece. Even Foyt herself tried to defend herself, but to no avail. Her ignorance regarding race relations shines just as bright as it did in her novel. Her latest article Judging a Book By Its Cover only exacerbates her arrogance. And seeing as how I’m bored this weekend, I will attempt to respond as best as I can:
I would like to address the recent accusations of racism that have been aimed at my YA novel, Revealing Eden, Save The Pearls Part One.
This should be good.
Some have taken offense at the cover photo on the dust jacket of a blond, blue-eyed girl with her white face half covered in dark. Without reading the novel or understanding the premise, some believe that the photo shows the girl in “blackface.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
You see? That right there is part one of the problem. Even if you had good intentions behind the cover alone, blackface is still blackface. It is still offensive to black people because it carries a heavy load of oppression. It was used as entertainment for whites to feel good about being white and justify their absurd hatred towards blacks. Thus, they can continue their oppression of black bodies because their racist beliefs were strong enough to influence their actions, a travesty we still see today!
Well, it’s something we see. She doesn’t see it and as such it doesn’t exist. Good grief!
First, consider that the basis of all prejudice is judging a book by its cover. To condemn any book on the basis of its cover is hardly different than condemning a total stranger because of the color of his/her skin. How can you critique or damn a book if you haven’t read it? This kind of blind attack is exactly what creates racism or condemned many progressives as communists in the Fifties.
You know that saying about people who assume? Yes. She’s making an ass out of herself.
First off, don’t lecture (black) people about what prejudice is. We experience it daily, nonstop. Second, don’t think that for one moment that the harsh criticisms of this book is based on looking at the cover alone. There are people who have actually read, or at least tried to, and have make their assessments accordingly. In other words they went inside this novel and did not like its contents.
Let me reiterate, many progressive people condemn this novel not because of the cover, even though it is part of it for obvious reasons, but for the outrageous tale of reverse racism that many white people believe to be experiencing today even though it has been fantasized, declared and advised by right-wing extremists.
Revealing Eden is a sci-fi fantasy adventure romance. And while it is a work of fiction, the premise is all too believable in the face of extreme global warming. So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country.
But from what I’ve read from numerous reviews, global warming is the one of the least important sub-plots of the whole story. And if Foyt thinks that it’s meant to provoke the white community to think about racism in a different light, she is sadly mistaken. Again, her book does nothing but fuel the notion of reverse racism. There are a lot of white folks who really believe they are the oppressed people despite the undeniable truth that they still have an overwhelming number of privileges based on their skin alone.
Those are the ones who think black people are advancing based on skin color alone (the affirmative action argument). Those are the ones who think that black-on-white crime is growing in epidemic numbers. Those are the ones who think the first mixed-race President of the United States is, for some dumbass reason or another, doesn’t belong there and is trying to get back at whites for slavery. And those are the ones who think that the problems black people face is nothing to complain over like the way you’re responding to the ones who were offended by your work.
If global warming results in a meltdown of the ozone layer many things would change, including the inability of those with little melanin in their skin to survive the blistering effects of increased deadly solar radiation. In humans, melanin is the primary determinant of skin color. People with dark skin have more melanin and, although they also get skin cancer, they do not contract it at the high rates of those with fair skin.
In Revealing Eden, “The Heat” (basically, skin cancer) wipes out the majority of people with light skin. Then people with dark skin are in the majority. In this future world, because those with fairer skin suffer a debilitating, perhaps fatal condition, they are considered second-rate.
And what causes the deterioration of the Ozone? Air pollution mostly from fossil fuels. Who largely controls the distribution of these fuels? Wealthy white males. Who is also hellbent to preventing cleaner fuels from being distributed. Wealthy white males. So, if this story goes by contemporary information, who’s the blame for their own destruction in the first place before black people took over?
The titular character, Eden Newman, loathes her white skin because of this, and accepts the oppressive opinion that she is ugly, even worthless. Because her chances of survival are so low, she has little chance of finding a mate (her mate-rate is an embarrassing 15%). And if she doesn’t find a mate by the time she is 18, she will be killed.
It’s hard for POC to feel sorry for Eden because in the real world, white skin is celebrated, adored and modeled as a sign of supremacy, normalcy and beauty. On that same note, dark skin is loathed, ignored, disrespected and shamed due to the atmosphere of a white racist society. This is why someone like myself scoff at this character because that it fiction. I live in reality which is not something I can turn off.
Foyt also supersedes her adversity of surviving in a hotter world with the fact that supposedly is unable to mate. Sure, according to the story she must mate before she is 18 or else she’ll be killed, but one can not help but sense an overwhelming stench of sexism in this plot that hints that women nothing more than reproductive objects.
Again, I can only go by reviews, articles and blog posts.
She colors her skin with a special dark coating in order to protect it from “The Heat,” and because she is desperate to appear darker in order to be desirable. With the clock ticking, she will do anything to attract a mate.
The use of blackface presents a mockery or travesty of African Americans’ lives. Eden Newman wishes to “Great Earth” that she had dark skin, not because she wants to make fun of people with dark skin, but because she admires their status and is jealous of the genetic advantage they offer against “The Heat.”
Once again, blackface is blackface. Whether your intentions are good is not the issue. The ends do not justify the means in this case.
Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Coals oppress Pearls because they fear that those with light skin will add to a population unable to survive “The Heat,” and drain meager resources.
But in the real world, pearls are considered beautiful and almost priceless while coal is considered dirty and ugly. Case in point, there’s a saying during the Christmas holidays that bad boys and girls will not get presents from Santa this year. Instead, they will find lumps of coal in their stockings.
Eden Newman evolves from a girl who loathes her white skin to someone who understands that real beauty comes from within. Finally she begins to shed her skin covering, and learns to accept herself–a journey we all must take, regardless of race. She begins to realize that she has misjudged her Coal boss, Ronson Bramford, and they fall in love.
Well ain’t that sweet? If we ignore race, the world will be a better place. That’s just ginger peachy, isn’t it?
In this future world, Eden Newman’s father works at Bramford’s laboratory where he creates the evolutionary technology that will enable mankind to survive “The Heat.” The experiment involves the creation of a hybrid human with the combined traits of great predators that are able to survive in extreme environments.
Bramford is a hero for funding this technology, and for risking his life to adapt. He becomes the first hybrid man-beast, and in doing so, begins the process of mankind going back to nature, reclaiming the land, saving Earth.
Here we go with the white male savior bit yet again. Also, see my response above to how Eden’s dad goes about creating this hybrid.
In the second book, Adapting Eden, Save The Pearls Part Two, Eden only wants to adapt into a hybrid human like Bramford so they can be two of a kind and, like Adam and Eve, restart the human race.
Wait!? There’s a part two? Haven’t we suffered enough? I guess not.
Artists provoke to get their point across. I abhor racism. In Revealing Eden, I aimed to turn racism on its head in order to portray its horrors and its inevitable road to violence. I believe that anyone who reads the novel will understand its strong stance against racism.
Not only did you not turn racism on its head, you strengthen it. You made it’s justifications stronger. For the millionth time, there are plenty of whites who feel they are victims of reverse racism and this novel is loaded with it. They may even use this as the gospel to further oppress black people.
And there is reason to support my belief when you consider that the novel has won five literary awards, including the Eric Hoffer Best Young Adult Novel 2012 (Eric Hoffer was a great humanitarian), or that Marianne Williamson called it on her Facebook page, “A fascinating story…for lovers of all ages!” or that dozens of reviewers from the San Francisco Book Review to Fresh Fiction to many book bloggers have embraced it with glowing reviews.
So, just because it won numerous awards that it doesn’t deserve, probably because it demonizes black people, it’s worthy of praise by anyone who reads it. No one has the right to put it down doe legitimate reasons. Get the fuck outta here!
And if you ask if all these reviewers are white then consider that you have a racist point of view.
So, it’s racist to question the critics and not the critics themselves? Double good grief!
I sincerely hope that you will read Revealing Eden and grasp its message of love and hope for the planet and for all mankind. Perhaps it can lead to more discussion about the harm we are causing to our environment and to each other.
I will not spend any money reading this. Even if it’s offered for free, I would still think it’s too expensive.
Throughout the novel, I quote Emily Dickinson, Eden’s “adopted aunt.” These lines of poetry most represents Eden’s journey from a frightened, self-loathing girl to someone who opens her heart: That love is all there is / Is all we know of love.
I’m not phased as this is just another case of whiteness in the world of literature. Still, it doesn’t mean I’m no less frustrated by the level of ignorance by the overprivileged and their followers.