‘The Hit List’: Laila Karlton–LKH, are you fking serious!!!

DISCLAIMER: I was reading this over at wikispaces and I had to there. I said I would never BUY another Laurell K. Hamilton book. I never said I wouldn’t glance through it if my mom brought it home from the library even after I told her I wasn’t reading the stuff anymore….

So we finally get a real Black female character, Laila Karlton, who isn’t some completely exotified kind of Black, like Vivian the lightskinneded and Irish. She is in fact a federal marshal (or is at the time she introduced) though she’s not real at all–as in 3-dimensional. I knew LKH couldn’t pull it off.

Laurell K. Hamilton, let me tell where you went wrong, AGAIN:

  1. Your description of Laila Karlton is so minimum it’s insulting. I see her muscles but I don’t see the rest of her.
  2. Why does she have to be 5-foot-whatever pounds of muscle? Thinking of how people stereotype Black women, like Michelle Obama, for example, as muscled he-women Amazons, I can say I don’t appreciate this description at all.
  3. We didn’t know she was Black (with a capital B, not a lowercase ‘b’, LKH) until she said it herself. Scared much because you knew you were doing a shit job with this character from the beginning, like with all your other Black characters?
  4. Why is it that the first thing Anita and Laila talk about is how petite, big-breasted, and big-assed Anita is because she’s part-Latina? As I’ve said before, Anita is for all intents and purposes white–stop hyper-emphasizing and hypersexualizing what you view as her “ethnic” features. Which are basically her hair, her ass, her “dark” eyes, and her breasts.
  5. Why is Laila presented as jealous of Anita’s petite white body?
  6. Furthermore, why is it we spend so much time talking about Anita’s shining, hardass reputation again? What’s with the flattery for both her track record and her body?
  7. I’m thinking of Laila’s father and brothers: Of course, there are big, strong Black men, but of all the body types you could write about, why are you choosing to write about the most stereotyped and racialized ones you can think of?
  8. Anita has to be the guru on hunting and executing and Laila gets to listen to her condescenion as the rookie-type? Great.
  9. Why do you have to continue to beat down every female character who comes along with Anita’s reputation, physical appearance, misogyny, and cred in the field?
  10. And Laila’s a racist because the guys in her family taught her to be like that?
  11. Laila is weepy in the hospital and needs peptalk from the white-skinned wise one who doesn’t even shift at the full moon though she possesses/is infected with mutiple strains of lycanthropy?
  12. Did I mention how fucked up it is that, once again, Black people like Laila can be made into werewolves, animals, but are never, like, swans or “good” vampires (with even unchalky skin, of course. Ashy skin does not look good living Black people, it doesn’t look good on any one actually)?

This is why I refuse to buy anymore of your books. Laurell K. Hamilton, you’ve lost me.

Really,

Ms. Queenly

 

Read all my other posts on LKH and Anita Blake here.

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My thought pool on the LKH Anita Blake series

Thought I’d go ahead and stick it all in one post:

Issued: Laurell K. Hamilton

My Anita Blake books laid to rest in storage

the god of abvh is white

Anita Blake Half-Latina!?–Who knew!

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

Three Memories of Laurell K. Hamilton/Anita Blake that I’d like to Share

Laurell K. Hamilton: Admiration the Furthest Thing from Understanding?

ABVH Tight Bod Superiority Complex

Toying with Whiteness and ‘darkness’

Polyamory in Anita Blake–*thumbs up*

Bestiality in Hamilton’s Anita Blake series

Anita Blake series Inconsistencies

Bitch Feminism and Anita Blake, #1 Bitch?

 

the god of abvh is white

I promise, I’m getting to the end of my rope talking about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake stuff, as far as overall commentary goes. There’s a lot to talk about, its a long series, but I’m getting tired of it and am taking a break from reading the series and buying it.

People love to portray gods, angels, goddesses, and Jesus Christ as white people and this explains why some of them believe white folks are god’s chosen people and everybody else is scum. I don’t believe for a second for that ancient Egyptians all look like white Europeans, no offense to all the white people who have ever played Egyptians in movies. I think that kind of religious idealism only works in literature and is contrived in film.

Practically everyone in the Anita Blake series is white because Laurell K. Hamilton is white and interacts probably mostly with white people. Therefore, in the ABVH universe, if the god/creator is white then it only stands to reason that the majority of the people in her created world are white. The characters are created in the likeness of their god, which would be Laurell K. Hamilton.

Every now and again, somebody like Bernado, Jamil, Shang Da, Jade and Vivian (*rolls eyes*), Yasmeen, and Raphael pop up, but only at Hamilton’s whim. There are neither consistent nor regularly appearing characters. That’s if they’re aren’t already dead, raped, tortured, or mutilated as sufficient to Hamilton’s liking.

Of course, by the reckoning and conception of the god of ABVH, Black people do not typically become vampires. Perhaps we should be happy. Who wants to see pasty, ashy, bloodless Black people? Only white folks look good that way apparently. We’re not called ‘people of color’ for nothing. Still, what I find lamentable is that Hamilton, as the god of ABVH, couldn’t figure out a better way to portray Black vampires, as opposed to almost scrapping them from the story all together. Examples of solutions: They have a gene that protects them from the worst of vampirism, like the discoloration when they haven’t fed. They’re usually a different kind of vampire than the typical European brand (which is the explanation that I go with in my writing, tying them in more culturally with Black history as I understand and sense it). The pale ashiness just doesn’t show up on them the same way. I don’t know! Any of these explanations would have worked for me but she just decided to make it so Black people don’t seem to catch vampirism, period. On the other hand, she had no problem making it easy for them to be infected with lycanthropy. So she can see them as animals, but not as something so classically reserved for the European as vampires, huh?

That is just quintessentially ignorant and white racist right there.

There is a constant reinforcement of white middleclass American and (romantic) European motifs, primarily French and British, in Hamilton’s universe. Maybe it is not so much that she can’t write Black characters or that Anita just seems white, but more that she has built a world in which people of color are excluded and made fodder by default.

Writers are the gods of their own literarily crafted worlds. They are limited only by the reach of their own minds and imaginations and experiences, and sometimes by the demands of the market for those who are published. Obviously, some people imaginations can’t reach that far. And then again its not so much an issue of the imagination as it is white people just not “knowing how to write” people of color in a genuine, not-so-racist way. And maybe they just shouldn’t. That is why they are the gods of their own world and in that world representations of people of color reflect their own pathologies about people of color rather than presenting real persons who inhabit and exist within these worlds.

I’m pretty sure she’d shrug and give some insensitive answer to this line of thinking, but, hey, what can you do. She writes what she writes and I think what I think about it.

 

ever more critical,

Ms. Queenly