Monday, July 22, 2019

We Need to Talk About Plaigiarism

If you spend even just a little bit of time on Twitter the constantly changing drama willbe very well known to you. Last week was no different as the world of literature and publishing was stirred by a case of plagiarism.

On Thursday, when pastor and author Ben Lindsay announced it was publication day of his  book We Need to Talk About Race, applause was quickly polluted with a barrage of critism from those who thought its title and cover page was too much of the likeness of Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Title and colours were just too similar, with virtually no explicit credit given to Reni Eddo-Lodge. Ben Lindsay though, argued that he references the author throughout his book. 

By Friday. the frenzy surrounding the scandal had heightened to a point that the book's publishers, SPCK announed it was halting current distribution of We Need To Talk About Race  in order to redesign its cover.
Flattery or Fraudulence?
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race was one of the most eye opening books I read last year. Chapter by chapter, it visits Britain's very violent racial past, structural and systemic racism, white feminism and much more.  It was one of the flagships of my self discovery journey. It was also critically acclaimed, award winning and widely spoken about. 

You may also want to readWhat Has Madeline Been Reading?

We Need to Talk About Race  is an equally important book, as it challenges the notion that Christianity is colour blind. According to online sources it explores the black experience in white majority churches. It opens up discussions about race relations in Christianity in the UK.  There is definitely a deseperate need for some conversation to be had on that front - so it's a shame that Ben Lindsay's release had been plagued with so much scandal.

The questions here are, how much is the likeness of the two books a coincidence? Is Ben Lindsay innocent in all of this? Does Renni Eddo-Lodge have the right to be upset?

These are the two books side by side
For me, it was a "mistake" that should never have happened. The subject matter of the two books are too similar for the titles and front covers to bear that much resemblance. Besides anyone who has ever written a uni paper knows the importance of referencing. I really believe Ben Lindsay and SPCK missed a real chance to get creative.

What say you? At what point does inspiration become plaigiarism?

Let's talk.

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  1. I agree there is a fine line between feeling inspired and expressing that emotion in creative content vs literally taking something you appreciate so much, tweak a word or two and call it your own. While it's important to reference work that has inspired you, I think it's much better to use those references sparingly and develop a whole new concept to a topic. I don't think people should copy or rephrase a topic someone else wrote. I think it's better to add to the discussion with a completely new angle.

    Thanks for sharing this Madeleine, it's an excellent topic of discussion, especially for the digital era filled with content creators :)

    Natonya |

    1. I apologize for misspelling your name. The auto-correct is correcting me wrong.


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