Undercover Black Man criticized (actually, ‘criticized’ is an understatement) Margaret Seltzer for her book “Love and Consequences”.

Using the pseudonym “Margaret B. Jones”, she wrote that she was half-white, half-native American, and raised by a black foster mom. She wrote what was supposedly a personal story about how she used to be involved in gangs and drugs until she turned her life around.

The book got good reviews from the press and critics, until it was discovered that the whole story was fiction. And that’s where Undercover Black Man (among others, I’m sure) picked it up and lambasted her for lying.

The thing is, she could have avoided all this by stating up front that it was a fiction book. Maybe she thought it wouldn’t have had as powerful effect. But there’s nothing wrong with a powerful, moving, fictional story.

By passing it off as a true personal memoir, she lied. And it’s cost her. Her book has been recalled, and no doubt her reputation (as well as the publisher’s) has been shot.

The whole fiasco just goes to show how important honesty and authenticity is. Edgar J. Mohn once said “A lie has speed, but truth has endurance.” In today’s world, that’s even more true, I think.

With the connectivity of the internet, you can’t hide anything forever. Sooner or later (most of the time, sooner), you’ll be found out. And with the power of the internet, where everyone’s voice is amplified, that lie can cause you more damage than ever.