2007-05-30

Not just romance, but...

Is this this article really telling me that Harlequin Publishing not only publishes romance novels, but that it also publishes African-American romance novels? What the hell?? We have plain old reg'lar romance and African-American romance? What am I supposed to conclude here?

11 comments:

richard said...

What are you to conclude? That the apocalypse is nigh, naturally. For the full list of imprints, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_Enterprises, or perhaps even http://www.eharlequin.com/

(I'm watching And Now For Something Completely Different as I "work" this evening - the lumberjack song just went by.)

Mark Hanington said...

I had no idea that Harlequin was a Candian publishing company. Trust the Canadians! Let us collaborate, you and I (or you and anybody else) and write an Inuit Romance novel, leaning heavily on our Inuit heritage to so so.

richard said...

Let us go then, you and I,
While the evening is spread out against the sky,
Like a...

Zootenany Hoodlum said...

Honestly, I get it, in that if you look at all the pictures on the covers (and I know you do, so you just wander downstairs to your collection) all the pictures are of white people. The descriptions of the characters leaves one to conclude they're white, etc. So, I guess, "african-american" romance is an effort at inclusivity (it's a word now) and writing books in which the main characters are not all white. You'd like to think this happens naturally but, you know, it just doesn't.

Mr. Kite said...

This is classic market segmentation. There is definitely an African-American subculture that is distinct and separate from the mainstream culture, at least in the U.S. anyway. I think Harlequin is simply trying to capture that segment by targeting African-Americans with culturally relevant material.

fiona-h said...

It seemed nothing but racist to me when I first read it.... but when you put it in terms of "culturally relevant material," I guess I can see the point. Barely.

Darren said...

Outside observers (esp. Americans) are often struck by how much inter-racial dating (and low levels of racial tension in general) there is in Vancouver. African-American romance makes no sense to Vancouverites (or Canadians in general I'd say).... *our* romance novels have interracial couples entwined on the cover to start with!

Mr. Kite said...

I don't think that Americans are surprised by inter-racial dating. I think it is quite acceptable in most U.S. metropolitan areas. But I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so my experience might not be representative of the U.S. as a whole.

I guess what I'm hearing is that there is little or no distinct African-American "community" in Vancouver. There is such a community in the U.S. and it has a unique and distinct identity that reflects the African-American history and experience. This is where hip-hop, BET (Black Entertainment Television) and Ebony magazine come from, just to name a few. More power to them. They should be proud of their unique identity. Plus it brings diversity to the mainstream.

I don't see it as wrong (racist) to acknowledge and cater to this culture any more than it is wrong to cater to any other distinct cultural group, be it women, kids, gays, Christians, or hockey enthuiasts.

Now if Harlequin published books that insulted or demeaned African-Americans, then that would be a much different story.

fiona-h said...

whether these books are insulting or demeaning - I could not tell you. I never read them, African-American or otherwise. ignore zoot's slanderous implication!

PS - I see you're starting a blog, mr. kite!! good for you!!

Zootenany Hoodlum said...

I agree with Mr. Kite and I definitely don't agree with Darren that Americans are surprised at inter-racial dating. Huh?

richard said...

Zoot's right about the whiteness of Harlequins, so if we need Harlequins, then we need multiple versions of them. But my original point is simply that I'm a snob.

African-American or non-, French-Canadian or Anglo, Democrat or Republican: there's no mode of Harlequin that's going to find its way onto my reading list.