The Brooklyn Book Festival runs from September 16th-22nd, but the main stage of events takes place on the festival’s final day, September 22nd. There are over 40 panels open to the public and featuring a diverse group of book authors, columnists, and other writers speaking on a wide variety of subjects. Check out beneath the cuts for a selection of recommended panels featuring Saphire, Anthea Butler, Sonia Sanchez, James McBride, Toure, and many, many others. If you’re in the area next weekend this is an event I highly suggest stopping by, and if nothing on our list stirs your fancy you can see the full schedule here.
ESPN has certainly hitched its’ promotional wagon to Michael Vick, but first things first: don’t blame Touré for the question, “What If Michael Vick Were White?” – or for that pic above of said hypothetical “White” Vick.
“I had no knowledge of or say in the title of the story and the horrific, misguided picture of Vick in whiteface, which dismayed and disgusted me when I saw it,” he explained in a column for CNN. “I think careful readers will note that the story and the image don’t really interact. They’re like two people who kinda know about each other but don’t really know each other. But this has happened to me before.”
He made a similar disclaimer on Twitter, according to Colorlines:
My essay on Vick is nowhere near as inflammatory as the pic of him in whiteface which contradicts me saying you can’t imagine him as white.
I wrote an essay about Vick & race. ESPN the mag titled it & added art without me (normal procedure). Judge me on the story not the art.
In his CNN piece, Touré also mentioned that he wanted to talk about football more in his Vick column, but that ESPN “was less interested in that.” Reading his essay on the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback again, I think his editors let him down in the process.
The Root: What was your reaction to Toure’s comments?
Dolen Perkins-Valdez: My initial reaction was ‘here we go again with the stereotypes.’ [During slavery] black women were portrayed as seducing men. The ‘wenches’ were so sexual that the white men couldn’t resist them.
The use of the phrase “good-good” objectifies women in the same way that slavery objectified women. It reinforces the idea that women were just bodies to be used in any way. The last line in my book was, “She was more than eyes, ears, lips, and thigh. She was a heart. She was a mind.” The sort of flip-ness of the comment was unfortunate. My feeling is we need to educate ourselves about what really happened.
TR: But Lizzie, one of the main characters, does love her master and specifically use sex to curry favors for her children and other slaves.
DPV: I think there was a lot of gray. Yes, surely women who were favored by the master used whatever little power they could gain from that favor. I think it is a little bit reckless to say that black women intentionally seduced masters. The power they gained was still so small. To call Lizzie a seductress, fooling Massa with her ‘good-good’ is not accurate. He seduced her when she was a 13-year-old orphan. [...]
[Public rapes] definitely happened in the slave quarters in broad daylight. It happens in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The men are made to give oral sex to the overseer. The way she writes it is very oblique. [In the rape scene in Wench] these two Northern women thought they were coming to see a beating and the master got carried away in the frenzy of the moment. But the master wasn’t doing it for them, he was doing it for the other slaves as a warning.