African American and “My Two Moms” sharing a small shelf in So-Cal

Black people. Gay people. They all look the same to Barnes & Noble, Orange, CA.

I’m not sure when this started. But it’s the first time I’ve noticed it.

Barnes & Noble is a strange bookshop. It isn’t really a bookshop in the sense of a real bookshop, like the awesomeness of, or Bookman on North Tustin Street in Orange, or that place on Roeland Street in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s really just the front end of a warehouse, stocked mostly with disposable non-fiction, aimed at America’s massive “me culture”.  1000 Barbecue Recipes. An entire 10 foot shelf just dedicated to cooking pork. Another dedicated to how to stop eating BBQ pork. Another to the growing co-dependency / drug addiction industry. Another for gun magazines. And another for scams like Mothers’ and Fathers’ days. And pets. Oh my god. Animals are gods in the USA – unless they’re edible. But even then they get a shelf. 1000 Ways to Cook a Chicken that never saw Daylight. Novels? Oh, get a Nook (TM), you nerd. Only that latest 50 big sellers or series with movies coming out can be purchased in print.

I bought a novel by Ann Patchett called State of Wonder (cause I like Orange Prize for Fiction stuff) and a book about psychopaths called The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, and went cycling on home.

Comment /caption removed to avoid confusing my readers. Maybe this is photo is what is confusing the simple folk at B&N, Orange, CA.


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5 Responses to “African American and “My Two Moms” sharing a small shelf in So-Cal”

  1. Shannon Says:

    It may vary store to store–when I worked at Barnes and Noble the Af-Am section was several bays long.

    The bumper sticker isn’t portraying Obama as gay, it’s LGBT for Obama, like Students for Obama or any other group.

  2. Jean Barker (@JeanBarker) Says:

    Ya. I see that – as I said in my caption. But it’s an interesting choice of picture. I guess I should remove it from the post if it’s causing confusion.

  3. Shannon Says:

    Oh, sorry–didn’t read carefully enough. It just wouldn’t occur to me to interpret it as Obama being gay. But I guess some people would just see the rainbow flag and jump to conclusions?

  4. Shannon Says:

    I mean, assuming they hadn’t been paying any sort of attention at all to the obsessive coverage of his wife and daughters the last four years?

  5. Shannon Says:

    Also, the politics of the whole “non-straight-white-books here” section is indeed strange–but it’s also where you’ll find the sociology section and since race, class and sexuality studies generally fall under that umbrella, you also find the feminist works, Latino studies, and Native American studies there. If you try to disperse the African-American Studies books through the store (ie integrate them into history, politics, etc) the people who complain are African-American. We tried it when I worked there in college and there was much uproar and to-do.

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