I’ve never heard anything positive about people from the Mid-West and racism. I don’t know if Laurell K. Hamilton ‘likes’ Black people. She certainly does spend a lot of time making sure that the only two Black and part-Black persons who appear now and again in the series are sufficiently subservient, raped, tortured, mutilated, sexist/helpless, victimized, etc. (Jamil, Vivian). It also doesn’t help that both of these characters are lycans, inextricably tying Black people with animal behavior and baseness/lowness in the series. With the exception of the two ancient, creepy, chalky vampires accompanying Musette in Cerulean Sins, in Hamilton’s world, Black people don’t seem to catch vampirism so naturally she doesn’t have to write about them. Figures.

I don’t think that I want her too anyway. I don’t think her skills are that good so as to attempt to transcend her own glorified whiteness. I really don’t believe that out of all the Black people rumored to live in St. Louis that there’s not one who is a main character or regularly seen face in the series in her imagination. To boot, no Black person in ABHV has any authority or power.

I think as a white woman who is always most likely surrounded by white people, Black people never really occur to her for her books.

But if I had to say if Hamilton ‘likes’ Black people, I’d say no.


7 thoughts on “Does Laurell K. Hamilton ‘like’ Black people enough to include them more in ABVH?

  1. Fall 2009 was the first time I encountered the ABVH series. Of course, I noticed, like so many of the usual suspects who write paranormal romance/urban fantasy, etc, the protagonists tend to be generally white. I just assume that most of these people write from experience and simply do not have enough diversity among their acquaintances and friends to feel comfortable writing black leading/supporting characters.

    LKH did try to address this, as you probably already know, in a commentary before an essay written about this issue. The book is called ARDEUR (2010) – I’m too new at commenting, so I cannot find my italics!. The essay is entitled “Are the Fangs Real: Vampire as racial metaphor in the Anita Blake Novels,” by Mikhail Lyubansky. It’s been a while since I have read it, but I will probably revisit it pretty soon.

    I did, however, re-read her commentary. If you have not seen it or read it in a while, check it out. I don’t think she would ever say that she dislikes black people, of course, but she does call herself “white bread.” She even admits that she “didn’t have any experience here ti draw on” concerning writing about black vampires when she started the series in her early twenties.

    My opinion is a bit harsh, maybe: Though Anita Blake is a fictional character, LKH’s general ideology and life experience is expressed through AB’s. LKH has little to no significant social experience with black people, so neither does AB. Tiresome? Yes, it really can be. Unfortunately, I think it may be a little late in the game for LKH to acquire enough experience to write confidently for a black leading/3-dimensional supporting character/ dare I suggest . . . important lover for AB.

    At the end of her commentary, she does say that she is planning to tackle her thoughts concerning black vampires very soon. I guess we shall see!

    1. Thank you for you thoughts, Jane! I actually do have the Ardeur book. However, I haven’t read it–its just been sitting on my shelf collecting dust and what not–because my faith in LKH has been waning unfortunately.

      I read her commentary at the beginning of the essay and I would definitely say she’s aware of her problematic and marginalizing respresentations of people of color, especially Black people. She brings up Shang Da and Jamil, but I think we all know that she’s only holding up her subservient token minorities and going “Hey, hey, look! I gots colored people! See, see, here they are!”

      I definitely agree with you, I think that in order to “correct” this issue, she would have to write about 10-20 more books for ABVH. That may not even work.

      As a result though, I really have no desire to read anymore of the books, regardless of her talent and skill as a writer. It may be to late for her to try to come back to the issue from my prospective as a Black woman. The damage has been done. She has victimized other women and people of color too much for me to feel motivated to read anymore; her overvaluation of whiteness and exotification of ‘color’ cannot be overlooked. I know now that I have to write my own books now and focus on that instead of waiting for white writers to “up their game” as it were. Otherwise, its like waiting to be one of the guest of honor at a party that I haven’t been invited to and have been hired only as a waitress for. With white writers, me being a reader and minority, I always feel like I’m the butt of a bad joke or the token at a party, there for their amusement or as a background prop.

      1. I haven’t either but I heard from a friend a while back that I should definitely give her a try. As a matter of fact, I was thinking of her after I read your comment and finally remembered her name.

  2. I just went to her website. I read the excerpt of Minion. Though I am interested in her world (vampire politics surface immediately!), I was put-off by “black community” clichés, for lack of a better moniker. Since you haven’t read it yet, I’ll leave it at that for now.

    1. I stopped by her site. I must admit, I’m scared to be disappointed, what with my standards for Black fiction being so high and my expectations being so low. The Black writers market, for the most part, seems to be a mess of contemporary pop media nonsense. But I’ll give it a try and get back here with my thoughts.

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