Interracial fetishtism–not cute or sexy, a total turn off

I read one of Lena Matthews’ books and it toed the line of Black-white interracial fetishism and stepped over it once or twice even though I enjoyed the book overall (The Blacker the Berry).

After tentatively browsing her titles, I don’t think I’ll be reading anymore of her work. My threshold for this kind of thing is not that high.

Interracial romance is obviously a gimmick with this lady. The way white-Black interracial relationships are fetishized as better than Black/Black and special or preferable by some fellow writers and readers is not only disgusting, it is in and of itself racist. Interracial romance as a whole is usually chock full of colorblind racism, multiculturism, and generally no realistic approach to addressing actual no-questions-asked racism. Its more a compromise not to deal with reality and the pathological racism/anti-Blackness that whites exhibit towards Black women and their race.

Interracial romance usually isn’t a testament to love or anti-racism. Its a smear campaign geared at making everyone who isn’t on the ebony-ivory fetish train look as if they are all bigots of the same caliber to hide the insecurities of interracial fetishists who don’t want to be called out for being colorblind racists. It screams, Look, hey look, we’re not of the same race and we’re making gooey eyes and fucking! See, take that racists!

Its immature and unhelpful.

Interracial fetishists are racists of the worst and highest sort, and they try to use love and equality to obscure the truth of their natures.

Matthews has apparently done some work for Ellora’s Cave, which makes me cringe. I used to skulk around looking for stuff to read there and their interracial romance category is one of the reasons I no longer do so.

If you like to walk on the white side, good for you. But don’t expect some of us to be so easily fooled or swayed by thin plots, glossy settings, and pleas for us to suspend our disbelief. Write it well (and with a little more realism) or expect criticism from readers and writers like me.

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A Response to Kelli Collins

Well…at least ours wasn’t the book you liked the least. That’s something. Though I *am* sorry we made you give in. We’re like sirens that way. ;)  It’s my hope women never feel ashamed for reading our books, however, our the romance genre at large. Whichever emotions a book makes you feel, shame definitely shouldn’t be one of them. Many thanks for giving us another try, and much luck in finding books you love!
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Kelli Collins
Editor-in-Chief
Ellora’s Cave
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Dear Kelli Collins:

I am surprised that in the vastness of the blogoshere you came across my article on Elia’s Diamonds at all. I was somewhat humbled to see an editor in chief pop in there.

I realize that you may have approached my critique with good intentions and I understand that you were trying to be politely humorous in your response but I am really, really not amused with the romance publishing industry at all. This issue is not “cute” to me, and it wasn’t Ellora’s Cave itself that made me give in, so don’t get too full of yourself. I mean, if you were starving, wouldn’t you eat the things avaliable to you that don’t fill you up but keep you from dying? If you’ve only ever known a lover who doesn’t fulfill you but is the only person you can be intimate with, wouldn’t turn to them time and time again before realizing that they just can’t give you what you want? Maybe, maybe not, but these are working metaphors for my relationship with with publishers like Ellora’s Cave.

Because you really are like sirens and I think you should stop to wonder why it is you keep crashing people’s ships on the rocks, leaving them to drown, then thinking that it’s somehow funny.

Ellora’s Cave nor can any publisher please every single person. Please don’t think that I don’t understand that. Not every single book I’ve ever read from Ellora’s Cave has been a complete waste of time and simultaneously many of the titles under Ellora’s Cave have constantly reminded me that there is a deep-seated issue in the romance publishing industry and the industry at large. There’s plenty of reasons why I can say that that it but something tells me you’re not interested.

At one point, it was my dream to be published by a company like Ellora’s Cave when I was in high school. But the more I read, the more I realized that it’s a business and people don’t seem to care what they’re printing as long as it sells.

I know, I know. Don’t like it, don’t read it–the golden rule. But I sure wish exposed writers and publishers alike would, I don’t know, do something more than what I’m having the misfortune of stumbling across.

Sincerely,

Taviante Queens

Elia’s Diamonds

A Reminder of Why I’ve Mostly Given Up on the Mainstream Romance Industry

I finished reading two romance novels last night in ebook format and I was tired and sad to say that it’s work like this that makes me so eternally sick of the romance and erotic romance genre and publishing industry.

I read The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp and Rent-A-Studd by Lynn LaFleur. Eck, I gave in to Ellora’s Cave.

I fasted from Ellora’s Cave and broke myself of that filthy habit two years ago but I still long to read about intimacy, the best attempts I’ve ever read being constrained within the limitations of time pieces like those written by Robin Schone, the realism of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the urban snippets of intimacy in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.

I feel somewhat ashamed to admit I’ve been reading this kinds of books again, mostly because of the way people look down on intimacy and erotic romance, and the ways in which women are socialized from the cradle to chase after romance and the love of a at all costs. But I like, enjoy, and relish in intimacy, depth, and intensity and plots that have these elements as an integral parts.

However, the romance, erotica, and erotic romance market, particularly the historical, urban, and paranormal romance is just full of shit.

Rent-A Studd was weak and shallow in several places, relying heavily on Fabio-esque era and woodsman/earthy male archetypes and uppermiddle class white fantasy and detachment but was much better in my opinion for several reasons than The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp, granted that they belong to two different genres of romance.

Both books were horrid in their own right, though the LaFleur was more digestable and even cute at times.

Maybe I’ll give both books separate reviews later, but for right now I need to get the poison of disappointment, disgust, and outrage out.

The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp was HORRIBLE. The heroine, a white European young woman named Brenna, over the course of the novel, is

  1. stripped of her only passion which is painting,
  2. betrayed by the family she tried to protect endlessy,
  3. her sisters are in constant danger of being raped by the men that her “husband” brought to their keep with him or by men they will be forced to marry,
  4. psychologically abused,
  5. kidnapped,
  6. she is married to a man who claps her in shackles, manacles, and a collar and makes her hobble in public in them,
  7. forced to marry a man in her sister’s stead,
  8. nearly has her head cut off by her unwanted husband,
  9. unwanted husband leaves her to stew in her own filth for a month while shackled up, taking the key to her bounds with him,
  10. publically whipped by the man she is forced to marry after being duped into attempting to kill him by her sisters and father,
  11. coerced into a sexual relationship with this man to save her messed up family.

This was worse than Angel in the Red Dress by Judith Ivory, which is what made me go cold turkey on romance in the first place.

As a Black woman, whose descendants were enslaved and suffered every manner of abuse and brutalization imaginable, there was little to nothing amusing to me about this woman’s situation, let alone romantic.

Why do so many heterosexual white female romance writers feel the need to write about this shit like its cute and indoctrinate and pacify women into a culture of socially-induced Stockholm Syndrome? I just don’t understand.

Is there any such thing as quality romance/romantica in the world??? Because most of it appears to be a bunch of shit.

If this is the future of romance and it related genres, I give up. I just give up.

evermore real,

Queens