Ranty Rant – 2 – CtM/Sabaa Tahir

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth has been released – if you didn’t know this then you haven’t been on twitter.

There have been many, many complaints from marginalised groups, that this book is racist/ableist. I have not read this book (and not planning on it), so I can only take others’ word on it.

On top of criticism of the story, there has also been criticism of Authors who have supported this story. One of these authors is Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes. She recently posted on her blog. Sabaa has read the book and has said that, to her, the book isn’t racist.

Sabaa did say however, that you are right to disagree with her, because that is your opinion.

Yes, I understand that people are angry. However, I feel that because of that anger, Sabaa’s explanation has been misconstrued. Here is what I think she is saying:

  • Sabaa doesn’t think CtM is racist – however that is HER opinion. She is definitely NOT saying, that this book isn’t racist to other groups.
  • She is saying that everyone has a right to feel their OWN feelings towards the story. If you find this book racist, she is not saying you shouldn’t.
  • Sabaa herself has had issues with books where other people haven’t seen the issue. The same PoC who have issues with CtM could very well have read the book she had an issue with and not found an issue at all.
  • What one person finds racist, another might not see it that way. Whether they are white or PoC. It is a difference of opinion and open to debate, but just because someone doesn’t agree that something is racist doesn’t mean that they are racist.

So like I have said before, educate your peers. If they don’t agree, move on. We all have the right to a difference of opinion. Don’t call people out by sub-tweeting or screen shotting – how is that educating? Calling someone out does more harm than good, talk to them quietly about it and you might actually make some ground.

What I don’t agree with, is when a white author tries to define racism – you just can’t do that. I am white. Have I had PoC be racist against me? Yes, but probably only once or twice in my life. Have people had prejudice towards me because I am white? No. Have I been beaten or bullied because of the colour of my skin? No. This basically applies to every white privileged person, and we therefore DO NOT have the right to define racism.

I would just like to note – I am not saying the book is/isn’t racist as I haven’t read it. I do trust when people say that they find it damaging towards their ethnic group. I am just trying to explain what I think about Sabaa’s explanation.

The most important thing – respect each other and your opinions.

Anyhoo, that’s all for now. If you would like to voice your opinion below, please feel free.

Steff xx




  1. JJAzar · January 20, 2017

    I’m not informed about this issue. I’ve seen a handful of bloggers condemning racism in a particular book, so it’s PROBABLY this one, but nonetheless, I can’t comment on the content of this book. What I can comment on is one of the statements in your analysis where you write, “What I don’t agree with, is when a white author tries to define racism – you just can’t do that…This basically applies to every white privileged person, and we therefore DO NOT have the right to define racism.” I respect and understand that position, but I do not think you should deprive yourself the right of defining what is an important term. There is no doubt that minority citizens have great insights into the subject of racism, but to restrict the dialogue to one side is not constructive, in my opinion. G0 easy on yourself, is what I’m saying πŸ™‚ We can all talk about this (This is coming from a lad who, however pale, is a minority). Great post, it got me thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · January 20, 2017

      Oh yes it would definitely be either this one or The Continent. Thank you for your opinion, I always find it interesting to see what other people think about defining racism – it is so subjective. And I think that is where a lot of people get lost – they think that if one person doesn’t think something is racist, they are automatically racist. I think me saying that white people can’t define racism, is maybe too broad of a term. I guess what I am trying to say, is that if a PoC is saying that something is racist, I as a white person can’t just dismiss that. Because racism to a white person is always going to be entirely different to a PoC…do you know what I mean? I don’t know if I am wording it very well lol, it’s in my head but I don’t think its coming out very well.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Things like this need to be discussed, it’s how we learn and grow πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • JJAzar · January 20, 2017

        I understand you perfectly! Those who can’t necessarily identify with another’s struggles should not be so quick to dismiss that person’s struggles. I get you! Thanks for bringing this issue to light, I enjoyed reading your take.

        Liked by 1 person

      • littlebookynook · January 20, 2017

        Yes! Thank you for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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