Woodson On Racist Comments
at the NBA

9780399252518_ab369Jacqueline Woodson, in an interview with the Guardian, says she is “trying to figure out how to think about” Daniel Handler’s comments at the National Book Awards last week.

Finding a good moderator for an awards event seems to be challenging. Many were hopeful that Handler would bring the right mix of humor and respect to the National Book Awards this year. Unfortunately, he kicked off the event with tired comments about the lack of glamour in bookish events, saying the National Book Awards are “like the Oscars if nobody gave a shit about the Oscars.”

Most of the rest of  his “humorous” comments were weak, but the lowest point occurred when, after Woodson gave a moving acceptance speech for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen), Handler made a strange racist comment that Woodson is “allergic to watermelon.” Earlier, he mentioned that one day he hopes to win a Coretta Scott King Book Award.

Handler quickly apologized for his “ill-conceived attempts at humor” and followed up with a pledge of $10,000 as well as matching donations up to $100,000, to the We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Indiegogo campaign.

2 Responses to “Woodson On Racist Comments
at the NBA”

  1. Chris Says:

    It’s sad this Handler’s comments are overshadowing Woodson’s well deserved achievement. It’s an egregious example of adding insult to injury.

  2. Brock Martin Says:

    Agreed – as well as overshadowing the works of Phil Klay, Louise Gluck, and Evan Osnos, the other winners.