Complaints

Question:
So I just want to say I really like your books, and they really helped me through sticky situations. But today, I’m going to…..Not complain, but, who knows.  So I was re-reading some Alice of books, since it felt like months since I read one. I was reading Dangerously Alice, and I read something that kind of bothered me. Alice is thinking about Gwen and as shes talking about her she says: “And she’s African American.” I mean, must you mention that everytime? Who cares, and it also bugs me a little that Gwen says “girl” all the time. This is just an example, “you can do it, girl” why, just because she’s black, she has to say girl at the end of all her sentences? And one least thing, when lester is telling Alice and her father about his new girlfriend Tracey, in Alice On Her Way, he says: “Oh, and did I mention she’s black?” I understand him saying that, I would to if I started dating a black boy, but why does he have to say it like it’s so important. I also didn’t like there reaction, all shocked, and crap. If I told my parents the wouldn’t even blink, and there is hardly an black people in our town. so it’s not like it would be a everyday thing and they were used to it. Anyways, think you for wrting the Alice sieries I really do enjoy them. I just felt like I needed to get that off my chest.

Phyllis replied:

 

I think you’re right-on about most of this.  I suppose some of it can be  traced back to long-ago criticisms; some fans complained that Alice had no African-American friends, so I felt–or feel–obliged to indicate at least once in every book–for the benefit of new readers–that she does indeed have friends of various races, religions,etc. etc.  But then I’ve also been criticized if those of other races don’t have any traits or mannerisms that show their ethnicity, with the comment, “Gwen could just have well been Caucasian; why did you feel she had to be African-American?”  Etc. etc.   I agree: that “girl” is getting old.  Hope I didn’t repeat that in the current manuscript.  I don’t, however, agree that Lester made a big deal out of announcing his attraction to Tracy.  It was not a big deal to him, and he didn’t even think about it until he had listed her other qualities.  And because he had not had an African-American girlfriend before, this would certainly have been of special interest to his family.  That they stopped chewing momentarily is not
“all shocked and crap.”  Sylvia’s teasing comment is, “Les, is there anything not perfect about Tracy?” since he’s been raving about her so. Thank you for being such a faithful reader; I don’t at all mind you “getting that off your chest.”

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