Here's an except of Meaghan's post, wherein she shows us quotes that hint at Cassel's ethnicity:
(Quotes taken from the ARC, and thus may not be exactly matched the final, published edition. I've removed character names to avoid spoilers.)
[My brother's] dark skin makes his teeth look whiter when he smiles. pg. 30
I shake my head. "...Gramps says that his father--her grandfather--was a maharaja of India. He sold tonics from Calcutta to the Midwest. Makes some sense that he could be Indian. His last name, Singer, could be derived from Singh."
"Your grandfather told me that your family was descended from runaway slaves," she says. [...]
"Yeah," I say. "I like the maharaja story better. And don't even get me started on the one where we're Iroquois." pg. 43
______'s hands go to her hips. "She's your [Cassel's] cousin?"
______ scrunches her eyes for a moment, then a wide grin splits her face. "Oh! Because I'm so pale, right?" pg. 226
Aaaaaaaaand here's the cover:
I'm doubly sad about this because the publisher of White Cat is Simon and Schuster, who did the cover for Bleeding Violet. Two steps forward, ten steps back?
Incidentally, the UK cover is simply of the cat, by a different company. If this unfortunate whitewashed cover won't get changed before publication, I'll be getting the UK one. On its own, a cat cover isn't problematic in the slightest, but I think we'll find that with covers of novels with a POC characters, if the cover ain't whitewashed then it is probably an object/design-heavy/silhouette cover. The Faces of POC are rarely featured on covers themselves. Note: am speaking specifically on the US YA market, other markets and genres may have different-but-similar situations. It's never about just the whitewashing of one singular cover, it's about how the whitewashing of covers is still prevalent in the publishing industry to this day. And you know what? That's racist. Period, full stop.
Re:White Cat cover, I'll be filing a complaint on S&S's contact form. I won't be allowing comments on this post because I currently have two research papers due one after another in a couple days and I don't think I can give any full attention to either moderating or responding to this topic at hand. I hope that those who feel strongly that whitewashing is wrong will considering speaking out. Sometimes if we generate enough noise change can happen, re:Liar and re:Magic Under Glass. One can hope that something similar can happen for this cover.
In the meantime, for those who want to consider taking pro-actions against whitewashing covers, consider joining Readers Against WhiteWashing, if you have facebook. Or consider supporting books that do feature POC characters on the cover.
ETA with New Cover of White Cat:
As we can see, this photo is the less-photoshopped-to-make-cover-model-paler-than-he-actually-is cover. Book Smugglers did an intensive writeup on this issue: Whitewashing Strikes Again? The Case of White Cat by Holly Black
Still bogged down by papers, so no thinky-thoughts from me on this for a while. But if you want to have discussion do go to the Book Smuggler's post and comment there if you wanna talk it out, etc.
(Should I do IMM? *sighs* I only got one book, maybe I'll just clump it together with next week...