Barnes & Noble scraps plans to re-release classic books with main characters depicted as people of color

by Daniel Payne · Feb 6th, 2020 2:39 pm

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Last Updated Feb 6th, 2020 at 5:10 pm

Barnes & Noble announced on Wednesday that it was scrapping a proposed re-release of classic literature with re-designed covers depicting main characters as non-white.

The line of books, dubbed "Diverse Editions," would have depicted characters of color on the front of books such as Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," and L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz," among others. Company officials reportedly used artificial intelligence to help determine whether the characters depicted in the books were identified by race at any point in the story.

The promotion had received significant pushback from activists and commentators, with critics slamming the books as "tone-deaf" and "the classics in blackface."