To champion cultural diversity (lol) Barnes & Noble launched a special imprint of classic books with covers featuring poc from different backgrounds (why classic books? Because they're in the public domain so they can collect 100% of the profits from these re-prints!).
The books are almost entirely written by white authors and feature white characters (history alert: Alexandre Dumas, who wrote The Count of Monte Cristo, was actually 1/4 black. His father was successful in his own right and his family background is pretty interesting and heartbreaking).
Alice in Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, Three Musketeers, Moby Dick, The Secret Garden, The Count of Monte Cristo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Emma, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Frankenstein
A lot of writers were unhappy with the shameless cash grab:
Good job you managed to make diversity look racist, a real talent of white America!— porochista khakpour (@PKhakpour) February 5, 2020
What in the Caucasian— roxane gay (@rgay) February 5, 2020
What's not mentioned in here, though highlighted in the press release I received, is how they picked these titles: they used ~AI~ to scour a corpus of 100+ books to determine whether or not the protagonist was explicitly described as white, and if they weren't, they went to town! https://t.co/RgpSdB54B9— Elizabeth Minkel (@elizabethminkel) February 5, 2020
Everyone is rightly talking about The Secret Garden, a novel explicitly about colonialist racism, but *many* of those books are subtextually or textually racialized. I think it's important to study them that way—and these covers are setting up one hell of a bait and switch.— Elizabeth Minkel (@elizabethminkel) February 5, 2020
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