Ivanka Trump criticised for using Toni Morrison quote to 'equate rich people's schedules to slavery' in new book

Trump writes after quoting the author: 'Are you a slave to your time or the master of it?'

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The Independent Culture

Following the release of Ivanka Trump’s latest book — once endorsed by the State Department — various scorching reviews have been published.

Critics mention how Trump fails to write much herself, relying heavily on quotes from other authors, ranging from Jane Goodall to Nietzsche.

One such quote, from Toni Morrison's Beloved — the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the psychological scars of slavery — has caused particular controversy.

NPR’s write-up of Women Who Work, picked up by AV Club, notes how Morrison’s words "Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another,” written in a playfully cute style, are positioned before a chapter on "working smarter.”

In the chapter, Trump evokes imagery of slaves and masters to emphasise how difficult being a rich working woman is. She writes: "Are you a slave to your time or the master of it? Despite your best intentions, it's easy to be reactive and get caught up in returning calls, attending meetings, answering e-mails ..."

Speaking about Trump's book on The View, Whoopi Goldberg criticised her use of the Morrison quote, saying: “I don’t think she understands that slavery actually was real.” The Huffington Post were also critical, saying the book equated slavery with busyness.

 

During another section of the book, Trump uses the words of civil rights activist Maya Angelou when discussing asking for a raise. As pointed out by The Huffington Post, the quote reads: “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”

Trump’s use of others people’s quotes has not gone unnoticed by those who originally made the statements. Jane Goodall — the primatologist — has spoken about the use or her words, telling CNN: “I sincerely hope she will take the full import of my words to heart. She is in a position to do much good or terrible harm.”

The original quote read: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

Various Conservatives have also been named in the book, including Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Cynthia Nixon. Trump replied in a statement: “When she was writing this book, she included quotes from many different thought leaders who've inspired Ivanka and helped inform her viewpoints over the years.”

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