[DWJ] McKinley and racism (WAS recommendations)

Martha Hixon marthahixon at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 17:14:21 EDT 2013


ah, thanks. I'd forgotten those descriptions from the Damar books,
actually, it's been so long since I've read them.

I wonder what McKinley would think of that interpretation. She has said in
the past that these early books in particular were projections of her own
desire for heroic fantasy with heroines she could identify with, and she
herself is of course white. She does write romantic fantasy that is, I
think, projected from a very personal inner place for her. I am certainly
not defending the racist tinge of the books, just musing over it. I myself
was rather troubled by this same issue in *Chalice,* where at the
end, SPOILER ALERT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the main love interest (almost always referred to by the female main
character as Master, by the way, which also gives me uncomfortable vibes),
who is clearly described as having black skin at the beginning of the book,
is transformed into a light-skinned man before Mirasol and he are allowed,
narratively speaking, to get married. So, it seems to be an ongoing theme
for her.

I don't think I'd recommend McKinley for a 10 year old at all. A teen, yes,
despite the unintended racism.

Martha

Dr. Martha P. Hixon
Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615-898-2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu


On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Dorian E. Gray <dorianegray at gmail.com>wrote:

> Martha said...
>
> Gillian,
> >
> > just wondering: in reference to McKinley's Damar books, what do you mean
> by
> > ""it's a bit of a what they need is a honky"? Here in the States, "honky"
> > is a derogatory racist term for a white person. I'm sure that's not what
> > you mean, but I can't figure out your sentence :-).
> >
>
> It probably is what the OP means, actually.  The Damarians are described as
> being dark-haired and brown-skinned (and are fairly blatantly, in "The Blue
> Sword", equivalent to our-world Indian), while the heroines of both "The
> Blue Sword" and "The Hero and the Crown" are pale-skinned foreigners.  The
> books could be read as "those darkies can't sort out their own problems,
> better get a whitey to sort things out for them".
>
> Until the sky falls on our heads...
>
> Dorian.
> --
> dorianegray at gmail.com
>
> "The Imperial Service could win a war without coffee, but would prefer not
> to have to."
> -- Lois McMaster
> Bujold<http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16094.Lois_McMaster_Bujold>,
> * Captain Vorpatril's Alliance<
> http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/18158616>
> *
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