At this point in my life, I think of this as another way that white supremacy allows opportunists like this woman to capitalize on her whiteness while simultaneously attempting to appear hip and stylistically ‘ethnic.’ In other words, I think of this as her short-cut to money: the seven figures she allegedly received, not to mention the Oprah, etc publicity.
Because so many readers are white women, and thus estranged from any genuine experience of racism and/or ethnocentrism, they are happy to receive a canned version and apparently often naive to the fact that none of it is accurate. Again, if the writer knows that most readers, on a statistical basis, are white women, then she also knows that her gaffes will be overlooked or, more likely, never even perceived. That is, she can manage a low bar in her writing because she imagines a lot of white women readers who also operate at that same low bar when it comes to racial knowledge/experience.
I’ve noticed two other tacks which are taken by white women, who eventually reveal that, indeed, their primary motivation is $$$ regardless of authenticity, in addition to Cummins’ superficial take in which she asserts some actual connection to ethnicity. 1. Zink/Mislaid: white woman who thinks of herself as liberal writes about what it is like to be perceived as black; when criticized for her superficial and disrespectful take on it, she claims — in a masterful deployment of gaslighting — that it’s all just satire; and 2. Shriver/The Mandibles: conservative/libertarian white woman writes dystopian novel about the way the world falls apart once lisping Mexicans become president and which features a black woman on a leash: I call this overt white supremacy right from the source.
Summary tacks of white female publishing supremacy:
- Claim that ethnicity; treat with superficial and flippant disregard, screwing up even the readily-obtained, concrete details, which led Cummins to enjoy a 7 figure advance (at the expense of genuine Latinx)
- When white privileging is revealed, claim satire: Zink. As Zink reveals in interviews, she hit up Jonathan Franzen for his white male publicity and wrote Mislaid as quickly as she could because she thought of it as a meal ticket; ie, agent bait.
- Just do it: be all-out white supremacist, creating a dystopia in which all manner of POC are to blame for the deterioration of the world and which, not to be outdone by any sort of avowed white supremacist, slaps a black person on a leash. Shriver all but admits that she doesn’t like the competition which POC’s offer when they dare try to publish. This may disrupt her gravy train.
Here is the common theme: white women gaining both fame and money at the expense of a wide range of people of color and at the expense of the truth.