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U. Michigan Dean Under Fire Over the Covers of His Books

U. Michigan Dean Under Fire Over the Covers of His Books

“After pushback over the book covers, the dean announced in an email to students that the covers will be redesigned.”

The dean in this story has written books about Asian culture and the covers of his books have been deemed problematic.

Campus Reform reports:

‘#StopAsianHate’: UMich dean caves to left, changes book covers amid claims of racism

At the University of Michigan, a dean under fire for “offensive characterization” of Asians has issued an apology calling himself “part of the problem.”

Michigan Law Dean Mark West has published several books on Japanese culture, including Secrets, Sex and Spectacle: The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States and Lovesick Japan: Sex, Marriage, Romance, Law. After pushback over the book covers, the dean announced in an email to students that the covers will be redesigned.

Courtney Liss, a third-year University of Michigan law student, shared tweets on March 17 about the book covers and her March 16 email to the college’s deans, calling on them to release a statement about “anti-Asian xenophobia and racist attacks.”

Liss has been rallying for the book covers to changed for three years.

statement released by West on March 17 discussed inequalities, the Atlanta shooting, calling on the community to “eliminate anti-Asian sentiment and all aspects of racism.”

Days later, the dean shared with UM law students how his books on Japanese culture have “contributed to a narrative that promotes a two-dimensional and offensive characterization of people, and especially women.” The email, published by Above The Law, states that the dean initially saw the covers as “edgy,” but began changing the book covers in spring 2020.

“We as an institution have been grappling with the structural racism in American life and with our own role in addressing it…I have been reflecting on choices I have made that are, quite simply, part of the problem,” Dean West said in the email.

West shared that he found himself “increasingly uncomfortable” with the imagery and believed the books would have gone out of print sooner. The dean is now working with the publishers to completely change the covers on his books and on the publisher’s website.

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Comments

The Gentle Grizzly | September 3, 2022 at 10:10 am

How many actual ASIANS are protesting? “Liss” doesn’t sound Asian. I will guess she is not attractive, and is perpetually angry, and her future as a lawyer will be in divorce courts.

You can’t judge a book by its cover but apparently you can judge the author by it.

irishgladiator63 | September 3, 2022 at 1:29 pm

“Days later, the dean shared with UM law students how his books on Japanese culture have “contributed to a narrative that promotes a two-dimensional and offensive characterization of people, and especially women.””

I’m assuming these are scholarly books. That is, they are factual or examining some part of something factual. How do they contribute to a “narrative” if they’re true? He’s essentially apologizing for writing down reality.

    Hadn’t you heard? The narrative is truth, reality is subjective, and facts are simply colonialist social constructs used to keep people of color subjugated.

So, now I really want to see the covers.

    Apparently too late, on Amazon they only lost 4 works of which only one has any graphics on its cover.

    Holy [email protected] – $60 cover price? What nonfiction author can charge that much and expect any sales anyw….., ohhh, wait…. Cornwall University Press. Must be a textbook. Required to purchase if you take one of his classes.

    Suddenly I don’t care if he gets to publish at all, let alone if he can choose his own cover art. Most textbooks are overpriced scams for the teacher to suplrnt his/her regular salary.

“…an apology calling himself “part of the problem.””

Well he got that right; by apologizing he is.