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Entries in diversity (2)

Thursday
May222014

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Douche

A brilliant and thoughtful response to the Chipotle debacle.Not to keep beating the diversity drum but a few of us wrung our hands in worry when we heard about this and thought, no, they can't possibly be so culturally illiterate (like BookCon). Well, guess what kids, we were wrong.

Johanthan Safran Foerwhatever had a really cool idea. He said, "Hey, let's put literary stuff on Chipotle cups and bags!" And it's a brilliant publicity/marketing concept. The problem is, JSF (abbreviating because I can never pronounce his last name) has blinders on and he doesn't...even...know it.

He helped create the Cultivating Thought campaign featuring ten writers, including Malcom Gladwell and Toni Morrison. But none of them are Latinos. Granted, this is Chipotle, which is to Mexican food what Panda Express is to haute Chinese cuisine. Still. Junot Diaz? Luis Alberto Urrea? Borges? I'd actually eat at Chipotle for a Jorge Luis Borges cup!

Okay. Gotta run. I'm working on my Literary Fortune Cookie campaign for P.F. Chang's and I promised my friend, Jeff Yang, that I'd include at least one token Asian.

Peace, y'all.

Friday
May022014

A big THANK YOU to BookCon

There's been quite a viral uproar about BookCon. What's is BookCon? It's the big, grand, open-to-the-public day of Book Expo America, which is the largest book event in the country. And what did BookCon organizers do? Well, they created a line-up of literary luminaries consisting of 29 white people and a cat. (I'm not making this up).

So, naturally, everyone but Donald Sterling is quite upset.

(Heck, James Patterson is on a panel talking about children's books that he didn't even write. That's like the white CEO of P.F. Chang's being invited to compete on Iron Chef, but, hey, that's just piling on at this point).

But, in a weird way, I think we owe the folks at BookCon a big THANK YOU for pointing out that we are not in any way living in a post-racial world. And for giving the other 50% of Americans a rallying cry.

And if they ever want to include an Asian American author who wrote a book which spent two years on the NYT bestseller list, I might happen to know one.

***UPDATE 5/3/14***

BookCon has added Rachel Renee Russell--an African American author. At first they said she could be a moderator, but after realizing she'd sold more books than two of their panelists they agreed to let her actively participate. Kudos to Renee for her persistence (and insistence) and shame on BookCon for their tokenism.