By now, you've undoubtedly seen stuff about the Save the Pearls series.
Or maybe you haven't.
The Save the Pearls series - the first one being Revealing Eden - is a dystopian novel in which white people, referred to as 'Pearls,' live on the bottom rung of society. The darker the skin, the more power you have in this sun-scorched world. Black people are called 'Coals.'
It's supposed to be a star-crossed lover story or something. Foyt described as a Beauty and the Beast story.
Now, there are already a lot of issues with this book on it's surface and in its description. The Frisky analyzes them better than I ever could, and gives a better summary of why its important to analyze better than I ever could.
No, I'm here to talk about the book trailer.
The Frisky article also talks about the book trailer and why it's offensive on so many levels.
I agree on all points.
Just because something is convenient for your story - or even a part of it - does not make it okay to do. In the novel, does the main character disguise herself as somebody of darker skin? Sure. It's supposed to be super-important.
But look at how it was handled in the trailer:
You saw it. The actress dons blackface.
Now, I don't know who to blame for this - Foyt, for writing a book that doesn't quite handle the racial stereotypes she's supposedly trying to fight, or the actress, for agreeing to don blackface, or the indie publisher for backing a book trailer like this.
But instead of pointing out all the obvious reasons why its wrong to do blackface, I'm going to point out where this went wrong in something completely different: the trailer.
Did I watch the whole thing? Sure. I was stunned by the use of blackface, which probably wasn't the point of the trailer. At the end of all of it, I was offended. I wasn't going to pick up the book.
And isn't the point of the book trailer to pick up your book?
Foyt and her publisher made a mistake. The audience Foyt claims to reach out to are people who want a 'color-blind' or a 'star-crossed' romance, who embrace the idea of cross-racial romance, who don't care about skin color, who love the flip-flop of turning society on its head.
Foyt had one politically oblivious side to her potential market and one politically sensitive side.
She managed to offend the entire politically sensitive side with the trailer and, now, the content itself and how she describes it.
Good literature takes risks.
But when the risk is offensive on nearly every level, for a point that's shoved in your face over and over again in an equally offensive matter, what was the point of the trailer at all?
Did you want people not to read your book?