My heroes: Rutger’s Women’s Basketball team

I am so angry I hardly know where to start. Don Imus’ racist, pig-headed, degrading, insulting comments about the players of the Rutger’s Women’s Basketball Team make me sick. Physically sick, close to vomiting.

I would love to see him fired, but I don’t think that is going to happen. That is a shame.

I need to vent: America is a racist country. I love this place – I am incredibly proud to be an American and I embrace my country, my flag, and our history, warts and all, because despite everything, I think this is the most amazing country in the history of the world. But we are stupid when it comes to racism.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we do not understand, nor do we properly study, the history of slavery in America. Why not? Because if we did, it would make white people feel bad. The truth of the matter is that this country was built on the backs and in the blood of millions of enslaved people. (Read Complicity; How The North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery.) And that is an uncomfortable truth to ponder.

We need to learn about slavery to understand how we got here. We need to admit that many people are ignorant of cultures other than their own. We all need to talk to each other, and offer respect instead of assumptions. And speaking as a white woman to all my friends and readers out there who are white: we have to stop allowing comments like Imus’ to pass without loud and immediate outrage and consequence.

What about free speech? you ask. Isn’t the man allowed to say what he feels?

Yes, that is another beauty of America – freedom of speech and thought. He can say whatever he wants. So can I. And I can choose to boycott his radio station and his television station and all of the sponsors of his show, and I will. I will also find it hard to vote or support any politician who goes on Imus show after this, unless and until the man shows real growth and change.

And don’t even think about getting in my face and saying that the language Imus used is acceptable because it can be found in the lyrics of black hip-hop singers. Since when have we used the language and attitudes and behavior that is found and praised in popular music as our benchmark for what is acceptable? There is a vigorous debate in the African-American community about hip-hop lyrics and how language can/should be used. (You might also want to read The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t and Why by Jabari Asim.) I don’t see a place for my voice in that discussion. But I can sure as hell call out a white guy on the carpet for bringing down my country and harming a group of talented young women.

::pauses for breath::

Maybe, just maybe, we can turn his ugly language and attitudes into a teachable moment. If this happens, it will be because Coach C. Vivian Stringer is an amazing American woman, and her team is a class act. The team held a press conference today to respond to Imus’ hateful comments. (Learn more about the individual players from Sports Illustrated.)
Coach Stringer could write volumes about rising above pain and oppression.

Remember that phrase “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”? That’s a lie. Words hurt. Words hurt deeply.

Book Tour Day 7 Report & Sarah Dessen is a Classy Dame

Sleep is magical, don’t you think? By the time I crawled into bed last night my eyes had rolled up into my skull and I had to fumble to turn out the lights. I fell asleep with my hand on the light switch. I probably woke up the entire floor with my snoring. I know I woke myself up.

Before I recount yesterday’s events, I have to point out that my friend and fellow YA author Sarah Dessen is a classy dame. Sarah is a huge North Carolina fan. Huge. And I love my alma mater, Georgetown. Sarah graciously let me bully her into accepting a public bet on the outcome of the UNC/Georgetown basketball game in thr NCAA tournament. And, of course, UNC lost. Which means Georgetown won. ::dances, pumps fist in air::

Sarah is a good sport and lived up to the conditions of the bet. But the truth is, she didn’t really want to make it in the first place. In fact, she might be thinking that she jinxed her team with it. So to honor her, I’m going to send a copy of TWISTED for her public library, too. And I sure hope she is pulling for Georgetown against Ohio State.

Now, after a great night’s sleep and a disgustingly healthy breakfast, let us return to the scene of yesterday’s crimes.

Book Tour Day 6 Report – Ohio friends are the best

Short entry because it’s late and the day starts early tomorrow.

It did not start early today, thank goodness. I enjoyed a lovely breakfast, read my book, talked to family members and chilled until it was time to leave for Dayton. When I got there, I was shocked to see an actual crowd. On a Sunday. The bookseller was happy, the author was happy, the readers were happy. Happy, happy Dayton.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is just one section of the crowd, The Extreme Readers Book Club from Ross, Ohio. Thank you Jen Rettig and Alyssa White for bringing the group!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I was moved to tears by these two, Sue and Georgina Grant. I met them 19 years ago when Sue’s family and mine moved into the same neighborhood. Our girls played together for years.

After Dayton, I hopped in the car and headed for Columbus, Home of the Movie Version of Speak. I was certain that few people would come out. I mean, come on – a Sunday night? During March Madness? With the event held in a high school? I had low expectations and felt bad for the bookseller.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Once again, Columbus came through for me. We had 125 people who wanted to spend their Sunday night with me. It was a magnificent audience (waves hi to the kids in the back row) and I wound up talking for more than an hour. bananagirl19 posted about the presentation on her LiveJournal. Many of the people there were teachers. One was Ann Laubach, who I grew up playing with as a kid in Syracuse. (Small world, eh?)

“But,” you exclaim in wonderment. “How could that be? The Georgetown/UNC game was playing. How could you have missed it?”

Once again, my LJ friends came to the rescue. toomuchtv37 had her mom texting her throughout my presentation. Every ten minutes or so I would point to her and she gave us all an update on the score. I talked and talked and signed a lot of books and the game was tied at the buzzer. And my girl toomuchtv37 kept me up to date. And, then? And then! She came up to me with the glorious news – Georgetown won!!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Bless you, toomuchtv37. Bless you, and your mom, and modern technology. Hoya saxa, indeed.


12:00 PM
Speaking at Lapeer West High School (not open to public, sorry)

Sponsored by:
Halfway Down the Stairs
114 E. 4th St.
Rochester, MI 48307

7:00 PM
Signing at Southfield Public Library (yay! open to public!)
(event location) 26300 Evergreen Rd.
Southfield, MI 48076

Sponsored by The Book Beat
26010 Greenfield
Oak Park, MI 48237

Book Tour Day 5 Report – Catching my Breath in Ohio

It was another early flight out of Miami, but it wasn’t hard to make the plane because I was still buzzing with adrenaline from the Books & Books event. I flew North, to Ohio.

My author schlepper here is Kathy Tirschek. (The proper title is “media escort.”) Her job is to take me from event to event, and make my life on book tour as smooth as possible. Kathy is a total pro. As we drove to Fort Thomas, KY to the first event, I didn’t even notice the car was moving.

The Blue Marble Bookstore, an independent children’s bookstore, was my first stop of the day. I met the owners, Tina and Peter Moore at the McConnell Literature Conference years ago, and it was delightful to finally make it to their store. Along with being wonderful people and experts on children’s literature, their bookstore has a Goodnight Moon room.

Haven’t you always wanted to step into a book?