In July last year, my book Kama Sutra Lovers was released. I happened to be involved in a conversation not too long ago with an acquaintance who informed me that she wouldn't ever read it. Like any author, I was curious about her reasons, though I was sure I knew the answer.
"Why not? Is it because it's a tri-marriage--a ménage?"
"No, that doesn't bother me."
Huh. "Well, is it because it's a sci-fi? A futuristic?"
"No. I generally enjoy those."
"I know not everyone enjoys reading e-books..." I ventured.
She shook her head. "I have a lot of e-books. That's not it."
"Well, what's wrong with the book?" I finally asked in exasperation.
"It has a black man in it."
"I don't read books with black people in them."
I could not for the life of me think of anything to say to the woman. She had professed on more than one occasion that she was a big fan of my Mystic Valley books--and those people are blue! So why did it matter what color a character's skin was?
It was the first time in a long time that I had come face to face with such boldfaced bigotry. Oh, I know it exists. Both of my son-in-laws are black. My grandchildren are half 'n half, as my son-in-law says. I've seen the looks when we're all out together in the mall or a restaurant. But looks, while hurtful, are not quite the same thing as putting those same feelings in words.
I just can't quite understand what skin color has to do with who the individual is. There are good people. There are bad people. There are people with extraordinary drive and ambition. There are people who are lazy and lacking pride. Period. Color doesn't determine which is which. Each individual makes the choice of which way they will go.
I don't feel like it's any great loss that this woman won't read my book. I suspect that the love story would be invisible to her anyway. Because sadly, she's colorblind in the worst way.