Posted in: I love that bitch like a fat kid loves cake
Imagine my shock when I discovered that one of the stalwarts of our little world had passed. My heart goes out to Monica’s family, especially her daughter.
I’m still in shock now. I feel like my heart is breaking because I know that this great friend that I’d never even met, will no longer be part of our little corner of the world. And this world is a little less luminous because of her absence from it.
Monica Jackson was one of the most fearless woman I’ve ever known. She was bold, and brash and wonderfully honest. She spoke her mind, and I loved her for that.
Long after Romance Land had tired of the Racism in Romance discussion, she was always there, ready to bring this conversation that many readers and authors alike found uncomfortable, to the fore. She loved this discomfort, because it was proof to her that at last the issue was in the psyche of those readers, who subconsciously avoided those otherly books.
She was passionate about the Racism in Romance issue, and her tenacity and willingness to fight the long and good fight was inspiring. My long-forgotten Racism In Romance posts were actually inspired by Monica. For a while there, it was the hot topic in Romance Land. I think there may have even been a couple of At The Back Fence posts over at All About Romance. Progress indeed!
I worried constantly that she was making herself a target for haters, and told her so on many occasions. This was her response when I tried telling her off, yet again, for painting an arrow on her own back:
“Karen, I know you voiced concern over me making myself such a target for hatred, but I can do nothing about that but be silent like most other black authors are if I can’t decry it, note it, or protest it.”
That was just so typical of her. It really wasn’t in her nature to remain silent in the face of blatant prejudice.
The other thing I loved about Monica was that no matter how much we disagreed, (and we disagreed a lot), she never held a grudge. We had a mutual respect for each other, and this allowed us to have those inflammatory, call-a-spade-a-spade heated conversations, without feelings getting hurt on either side.
We argued back and forth about different issues for years. To me, those debates are still one of the main highlights of my time here in Romance Land..
Back in March 2007, Monica wrote the following on my blog:
“When I first got published, I was excited and naive. I thought I was an romance author. It took two or three years to realize that I couldn’t participate in mainstream romance because I’m black. This made me angry and I decided to fight.
I have fought this evil for over a decade with no essential changes except the issue is now recently being discussed with anger, insult and hatred toward blacks, but there are flashes of light in the darkness.
I get a lot of personal hatred from those who dismiss blacks, our feelings and opinions, and some respect from those who appreciate being enlightened about something they were unaware about…
Most of the black race discussions in romance blogs and boards are devoid of black participation. With what’s being said by many nonblack posters, please don’t blame us. It would be like strolling through a minefield.
It seems as if the civil discussions about blacks and romance rarely can include blacks giving our experiences, viewpoints and opinions.
And that’s just wrong.
Any mention of racism by a black person is taken personally by somebody and then it’s open season for attack. But we are talking about racism. It is what it is and if it didn’t exist, the discussion would be moot.”
I know that things haven’t changed much since then, but as always, I live in hope that African American or black authors, will one day, be just authors.
If I had known that Monica wouldn’t be around forever, I’d have made a much bigger effort to meet her. I am so sorry that we never got to drink a glass of wine or two together, whilst discussing how we could take over the world and make everybody read books featuring black characters.
I’m going to miss my friend. She was a warrior who wanted to change the landscape of romance so that it contained more people who looked like her and me, and I will be forever grateful that she rose for battle each day, even when the most ardent of us, tired of the fight.
Rest in peace Monica Jackson, you were what I strive to be every day.