Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Proposal: Open Source Book Re-Covery Project

In response to the whitewashing of book covers, films, and mass media, I'd like to propose the Open Source Book Re-Covery Project.

Let's create a central repository for fan-created alternative covers for books. Covers with people of color on them. Covers with cool but not stereotypical designs. Covers that demonstrate the diversity and richness that's already inside the text, or that reimagine white texts as more diverse, male-dominated texts as more feminist. This project should be centered on race, but I personally think we should pay attention to other issues with mass media representations as well, particularly the misrepresentations of beauty, weight, age, and gender-queerness, and that we shouldn't leave out reimaginings that are just plain fun. Ideally, people could print out replacement covers for whitewashed texts, or libraries and bookstores can create displays that will let readers know that there's more out there with people of color than they think.

I'm envisioning a wiki, which will make it easy for people to update with new covers or to search for books by author, by genre, by race of author, by race of protagonist, by any characteristic the wiki users think are important. Each individual book page can link to the multiple available covers as well as to publisher contact information, to make it easy for readers to write or email the publishers to protest white-washed covers, to praise books by authors of color, to counteract the many ways in which the publishing industry continues to maintain white supremacy and racism--from the white-washing of covers to the de facto implementation of POC quotas or bans to the ghettoization of books by people of color to the reduced advances for POC authors writing about people of color to the preferential marketing of white authors.

So. Anybody have Webspace they care to donate?

Obligatory links
For reviews and recommendations of books by authors of color, check out Color Online and 50 Books POC.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Raises hand cautiously.

I'm already hosting a couple of instances of MediaWiki (the SF Editors and SF Artists wikis). I could throw up another one, but I seriously don't have time to curate one. (Anne Murphy is in charge of the other two).