Oh, white readers, never change. Wait. I mean: change immediately.

Olivia Cole tells us about some unfortunately unsurprising reactions to the new Catching Fire movie:

“I thought it was awesome. Well, except for Beetee. Why the f*ck did they make him black? Beetee wasn’t black.”

Oh for heaven’s sake.

Can you think of anyone remarking about a movie adapted from a novel: “Wait. Since when is X character white? S/he’s not supposed to be white!”?

Neither can I.

This phenomenon of white fans Not Taking It Well when one of their beloved characters is cast with a black actor means a lot of things, and I encourage you to read Ms. Cole’s piece for an astute overview, but it means the world of fiction needs more black characters. Sympathetic, vulnerable, intelligent, gentle black characters. We need more actors like Jeffrey Wright and Amandla Stenberg playing characters like Beetee and Rue. Eventually, the “Why Are They Making All the Good Characters Black” fans will find other irrational things to complain about. Some day, it will no longer come as a surprise to see a black character who is valuable for brains and compassion rather than muscle and aggression.

(Side note: If you can look at Miss Stenberg playing Rue and see anything in contradiction of Brain-Meltingly Adorable, what the fuck is wrong with you?)

Now I will share a handy idea quoted today by This is White Privilege:

If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.
— Jane Espenson
In other news, I am getting somewhere with Suicide is for Mortals. I’ve finally reached the point where I feel ready to put it in front of an editor. I’m corresponding with a potential editor already.

In which I spend a little while talking about racism.

News sources in Britain (I use the term “news source” very loosely for the Mail) would like to show us divergent twins born to biracial parents. First, we see these cute little girls who just turned seven:

It’s like baby pandas holding hands under a rainbow.

The kids are perfectly huggable, but I find it rather distracting how the Mail is so set on making sure we know they don’t face any racism! No, not at all, their differing colors are never an issue, thank you much!, but hey, maybe this really is their experience so far. They’re only seven and are still several years away from secondary school.

It hasn’t been quite so easy for these young men:

“We’re twins and we’re different colors because fuck you, that’s why.”

It’s interesting how their all-white school was so much easier for James (the darker one) than for Daniel (the pale one). Sometimes, it isn’t really difference so much as ambiguity that attracts hostility. Small-minded people want to be able to store others securely in neat little boxes, and a guy like Daniel upsets their sense of order.

And then there’s this shit:

But I’m sure you let them use your bathroom.

I haven’t read the books, but fortunately we have Dodai Stewart to show us the parts where Rue’s and Thresh’s physical descriptions were given in the text. One is left to wonder why it is such a goddamn surprise to these “fans” to see the characters portrayed by black actors.

Let’s be clear about what we’re dealing with: these are horrible people, and their reading comprehension is pathetic. Two separate issues, both disturbing in their own ways.

Between Joel “Adults should not enjoy books which I have not deigned to try” Stein and these asshats, I kind of want to read the series just to spite these ridiculous bigots.

Furthermore, as the author of a novel with a multiracial-black protagonist, this knee-jerk reaction bugs the shit out of me. Yes, it’s very nice to know that blond children can be seen as “innocent” whereas little black girls who look like this are not so hard to see killed. It’s very nice to know that characters who are portrayed on screen as African-Americans are not “good.” So I made it easy for everyone and put my highly intelligent, thoughtful, more-a-lover-than-a-fighter guy on the cover so no one runs the risk of reading a novel about a black dude without realizing it.

ETA: I’m sorry to say that I’m no longer using this cover for my novel. It’s still on the inside, however.