Very early this year, before coronovirus upended things and before the Black Lives Matter protests, one of the big pieces of news and talk was that book, American Dirt. I know, seems forever ago! Hardly a blip now!
American Dirt was disliked for the way the White author had portrayed the Mexican characters, and I think even more so for the fact this book was elevated so much by the publishers and bookworld, above books written on the same topic by authors of Mexican origin.
There’s another book I want to challenge here on similar grounds: A book called The Moonlit Cage by Linda Holeman. This has been bothering me in the background for a year or two, since I came across it on Amazon. Now, I have not read this book. But in it, a young Muslim woman in Afghanistan is saved from oppression by a White British guy (eww) who is apparently the first man to show her kindness. Now, I am totally sure that it is possible to not know any nice men in a meaningful way if all you know are Muslim men; but — this is so obviously written by a White person, is it not? Her little fairytale dream of a sweet, lovely Muslim girl being saved a big, strong, handsome White man, that’s all it really is. In reality, do British do any saving, or are they more likely to be going around destroying? It’s completely racist, is it not? Why did she not write a book where all the White men were the mean ones, that’s completely in the realm of possibility, too. But no, it had to be the White man who did the saving.
And what really made me mad is this book has tons of good reviews, and apparently this author has sold millions of books. There you can see how public opinion is reinforced, and how worldviews are formed. It’s just so gross.