Monday, November 02, 2015

Words Matter: About Meg Rosoff's "Debbie Reese Crimes Against Diversity Stormtroopers" remark

On October 31st, Meg Rosoff posted this to her Facebook page:

Rosoff has said a good many disparaging things about me that I'm ignoring. This one, I will not ignore.

Like millions of people, I love Star Wars. But Rosoff is wrong in calling those of us who point out stereotyping, bias, and misrepresentations "stormtroopers." She's trying to cast us as evil for what we do. She is equating us with Nazi stormtroopers.

We're not bad guys. As Rene Saldana said, he thinks of me as a Jedi Knight. Lot of people said they want to make t-shirts with Rosoff's phrase on them, but we say who we are.

Let's do something like this instead:

Jedi Knights in Solidarity: 
Fighting Crimes Against Diversity

or how about this one:

Jedi Knights in Solidarity:
Fighting Ignorance, One Rosoff at a Time*

There's a lot of writers, librarians, critics, teachers, parents... working on diversity! I'd love to see what people come up with! Adding graphics (and adding a note about them. Elsewhere, Meg Rosoff indicated she didn't know "squaw" was a problematic word. Hence, I use "Ignorance" here. I'm ignorant of a lot of things, too. We all are. It isn't the Native American word for women. That is something that has to be unlearned.)

*I said "fighting ignorance" because Rosoff said she looked it up and did not know the word "squaw" is, quoting her: "sometimes (not always) considered insulting."

Update: November 2, 1:38 PM
Cynthia Leitich Smith tweeted this... and I love that hashtag! #diversityjedi

Update: November 3, 5:05 AM
The #diversityjedi hashtag took off yesterday afternoon and evening! If you're in Twitter, take a look!


Anonymous said...

I had no idea Meg Rosoff was such a nasty piece of work. Now I know.

Jessica said...



Kaethe said...

Gah! Appalling, but sadly, all too believable. I'm sorry you receive that kind of abuse.

maya gonzalez said...


Anonymous said...

Wow! Meg Rosoff should seriously be ashamed of herself. I'd never even heard of her until now. I've officially lost any respect I would have had for her as an author. Her behavior is totally uncalled for. Too bad the branch I usually go to of my local library has all her books. I think what I'll do is get a couple copies of Cradle Me, Powwow Summer, and Code Talker Stories to donate to the library.

Meg's nasty response is a reflection on her, not you. You had enough respect for her as an author and as a potential ally to call her in, and let her know where she went wrong so she could do better next time. Instead she went apeshit and started attacking people over it. That speaks to the kind of person she is. Like you said, you're someone who actually cares about what kids get in books. Judging from her actions, she's got no interest in doing better by her readership, some of whom are people of color and/or Native. Kids deserve intellectual honesty, and kids deserve books that affirm them as human beings instead of stereotypes.

You're fighting the good fight, Debbie, no matter what Rosoff and her fan club have to say about it.

okwari said...

I wouldn't use her name on anything. That gives her more of a status than she deserves.

I do like the Jedi reference, though.

We can all be Jedis, clearing a path for diversity.