Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A question from Tumblr

I get many great questions on Tumblr--and some not so great. Here is one that I'd like to share with you. 

Anonymous asked a question

Hi, Its seems to me that there is recurring portrayal of black men in your novels being very negative to the growth and confidence of black women, your descriptions of them are in a sense a caricature of what the media is depicting black men as being right this very minute and honestly it is not helpful and is quite damaging. I enjoy your books but I found this slightly disturbing is this how you see them? Why is that it takes a white man to liberate these women? Please don’t think I am rude it’s just in the society in which we live in and the way black boys and men are being persecuted and are ALL treated like criminal, don’t you think we should be protective of them? I am not black so maybe I am being ignorant but I just wanted your thoughts on the matter.
Pepper's Response:
Not to mince words, I found what your wrote to be offensive—not in the fact that you were frank with your question but that you’ve formed a negative opinion of the black men in my stories and then prescribed your thoughts to me as if I share them.
  I don’t believe that I’ve turned the black men in my stories into ‘caricatures’. In fact the black men who happen to be antagonist within in any given story that I’ve penned are no different than any white antagonist. The relationships that my characters have are no different than the relationships that you, me or any other person might have whether they are black, white or any other race.
  Romance writers (such as myself) write about relationships. Our characters may move from a bad one to a good one—or from the loneliness of having no relationship at all to having someone in your corner. Writing about a broken relationship between two black people is far from ‘suppressing the growth and confidence of the black female lead’. One thing that you should know about my writing is that I mainly write about broken heroes/heroines and although there are at times outside forces that might bring them down, my attempt is to show that when they grow in their own self-confidence then there is NOTHING that can bring them down. In other words, the black men that they may have been involved with didn’t pimp them out, call them bitches and hoes or knock them up and leave them with babies to take care of. The so-called caricatures that you equate to my black male characters happen to just be people who have fallen out of love and have moved on. Period.
  Wide sweeping generalizations such as ‘there is a re-occurring portrayal of black men in your novels being very negative…’ or ‘your descriptions of them are caricatures of what the media is depicting’ are the worst critiques one can give because then I’m forced to venture a guess at instances when you’ve seen these negative aspects in my books.
  Did you not like Ashleigh’s boyfriend D’Angelo from Beast? Did you find that being a ‘kept’ man was a negative portrayal of a black man? Then I’d point out that Ashleigh herself was a self-proclaimed ‘fluffy girl’ that only wanted the handsome man on her arm. Her own shallowness is what caused her pain.
  Or what about The Throwaway Year—two people had fallen out of love and the man was the one who had the guts to walk away first. Anonymous, let me ask you a question. This is a question that you should answer to yourself and not to me. How many white authors have you written to ask why they don’t write stories uplifting the view point of black men in the media? Do you think that is a task only for black writers? Are you asking me to stop writing about black female antagonist and begin to write about black male ones? Are you going to ask author John Greene to stop writing about white people who are clueless about the state of affairs with black men in America? Do you understand why your questions are not just ignorant but racially biased? No?
  If you want to read conscientious books that uplift the state of cultural affairs there are plenty of them out there. I myself write romance stories about black female protagonist who are working hard to fix themselves and finding love along the way. Oh and you asked why does it take a white man to uplift these women. Uhm…because I write interracial love stories. Let’s ask Stephen King why he writes stories that ‘scare’ people because…well it’s scary and the world is scary and why write about scary things?
  Yes I’m picking on you a bit. Mostly because you deserve it for not recognizing that your question in itself was racially insensitive. But also because I have no doubt that you submitted this question solely for the purpose of criticizing me and my stories.
  We’re done here.


  1. As a proud reader of your books, I love how you set her straight. The concern trolling of this individual is on displayed for the world. When a black woman is the center of attention and concern. The worst type of people come out to do damage. Please take care. Thank you Bain

    1. Thank you Bain, you always have been there to support my craft and you are truly appreciated.

  2. Wow, the OP is just plain wrong. There are some I/R authors who DO portray black men the way the OP has described, but Pepper isn't one of them. I've wanted to question some of the other authors about their perceptions of black men, but just chose to stop reading their work instead. I was THRILLED when I started reading Pepper's books and saw how fairly and realistically she treats all of her characters and their relationships. I'm not sure if the OP is guilty of being racially insensitive, but she's(?) definitely guilty of being totally ignorant of the books she's critiquing. If she feels that way about Pepper's books, then she clearly didn't comprehend a word she was reading..makes me wonder if she actually even read the books at all.

    1. I wonder the same thing. I am convinced that this question was simply a passive aggressive means to throw out insults.

  3. Happy Sweetest Day Pepper!

    Don't let that negativity obtain free rent in your creative mind. There has to be something in the water this month. Another of my favorite authors got a very rude letter from a so called "fan".

    Stay strong and do you!


    1. Happy Sweetest Day to you too Monica. Some people don't know about this tradition so you must be 'up North' like me. Thank you for your wise advise

  4. Hi,I read Beast a long time ago and wanted to re-read it.I couldnt find it on lit :(. Could you please direct me as to where I can read it. Thank you so much

  5. Hi gifty sands. Beast is now a digital book as well as a paper back that can be purchased on and Barnes and Noble. If you like Beast, then you may like some of my other stories which are listed on my author's page.


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