UPDATE, January 1, 2011: The Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez blog posts referred to here no longer appear on her site. Valdes-Rodriguez hinted that certain blog posts would very likely be deleted in accordance to the statement she published at Please Respect NBC.
Racism is a strong word, and when allegations about it start appearing on the web, people pay attention.
In the last few days, best-selling author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez has been posting forceful and very honest blogs about the television script adaptation of her book series, The Dirty Girls Social Club.
The posts, which are part of WordPress.com, can be read in their entirety at these links: Afro-dectomies and other Hollywood secrets, Every Latina a Slut, and other Hollywood secrets revealed, and How I’d fix the Dirty Girls Script’s Opening Title Sequence.
In these posts, Valdes-Rodriguez, who optioned the rights to her work to Ann Lopez‘s Encanto Productions, alleges that the writer hired to develop the script, Luisa Leschin, left Valdes-Rodriguez “offended and disgusted by the stereotypes, racism, sexism and general idiocy this writer brought to the material.” For a more detailed summary of the posts, you can visit The Frisky.
What is interesting to note is that this is a very contemporary example of Latino-on-Latino allegations of racism, and we don’t think this story will be going away in the near future.
We did want to call out some additional points that Valdes-Rodriguez writes in her posts:
- On her reasons for blogging about this: “I have hundreds of thousands of you, my readers, standing with me. I do it because I have met you, and seen your tears of joy for finally having seen images of Latinas as human beings in my books, and I know that you will be sickened by what has been done in our name to my material. I do it because I’d rather no show get made than to have my name attached to Luisa’s bastardizations. I do it because I am the granddaughter of a loan shark from Havana; what you do to my family, you do to me. My books are my family. I will not take this lying down. I will fight. I will scream. I am not afraid to burn bridges with this because, let’s face it, they burned the bridge with me as soon as they sold me down the river. I stand on my island with all of you, and I scream.”
- On the need to break stereotypes:”When I wrote my novel, I was aware, as I am now, that only 13 percent of Latinas in the United States go to college at all, compared to 27 percent of the general population. I was also aware of the many obstacles our Latina girls face on the road to getting their educations, including, far too often, families that don’t value education and who will, upon seeing Luisa’s idiotic treatment of “college,” only have more ammunition to say no to their daughters who want to go to college. For most people, what they see on TV is reality. The reality Luisa has created is not only tired, boring, cliched and stupid, it is dangerous. There’s a reason Latina teen girls have the highest suicide rates in the nation; Luisa’s script only contributes to the social beat-down our girls face day in and day out. She is not part of the solution, as my book was, she is clearly and EAGERLY part of the problem.”
- On the qualifications of the production company and writer: “Since I got this script, I have been researching the qualifications of Ann Serrano Lopez, Luisa Leschin and Lynnette Ramirez — women I am ashamed to say I trusted far too quickly. In short, only one of them went to college. Two of them are in their fifties. They are, simply put, the wrong group to tackle my book. They don’t get it, are not equipped mentally to get it, and never will.”
A recent post from her Facebook site hinted at legal action: “THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB is not just a book, it is a BRAND. MY brand. My future livelihood as an author (hard at work on a third installment of the series, in fact) hinges on it not being destroyed or corrupted. In this light, we consider a brand defamation civil case, unless things dramatical change dramatically.“
We think that this is just the beginning of a social media frenzy from Valdes-Rodriguez as she tries to rescue what she feels is a major commercial threat to her brand.
We will share more when we can, but we ask you, what are your thoughts about all this? Do you support what Valdes-Rodriguez is doing? Why? Let us know.