- A Rough Guide on Where to Find South Asian Lit – Swapna Krishna highlights some books and publishers to check out if you’re looking for South Asian fiction.
So, if you’re looking for South Asian novels, where do you go? The surprising answer? Very small, independent, and often ebook-only publishers. It seems as though these publishers are taking risks where the mainstream publishers aren’t, putting out quality South Asian fiction that doesn’t necessarily fit into any mold.
For any minority author, discoverability is a HUGE problem, and that’s even more the case when it comes to these smaller presses. I’ve collected a few titles and publishers for you; if the books listed below don’t intrigue you, take a second to look through the huge selection on each of these publisher’s sites. I have a feeling you’ll find something you’re looking for.
- Writers You Want to Punch in the Face(book) – This screenshot-heavy post neatly skewers author-on-Facebook culture.
This is the story of Todd Manly-Krauss, the world’s most irritating writer. He’s a good enough guy in real life (holds his liquor, fun at parties, writes a hell of a short story)—but give the guy a social media account, and the most mild-mannered of his writer friends will turn to blood lust.
Okay, so he’s not a real writer. Except that he is. At times I fear he’s me.
Because I do struggle for balance with social media. I’m supposed to use it to promote my work (it’s not just a Twitter account, it’s a platform, dammit), and if many of the highlights of my life are writing-related, I naturally want to share those. But then I think of how I might come off to someone who’s struggled for years to publish that first story. Or how I must seem when I’m the only writer (the only self-promoter, even) on someone’s feed. And I wonder if I’m someone’s own personal Todd Manly-Krauss.
- Loving across racial lines…what isn’t spoken – Shay Stewart-Bouley, aka @blackgirlinmaine, shares her own story about being humiliated by police when she was out with her white husband in Chicago.
This fall will mark 20 years that I have been partnered with my husband, we’ve been together 20 years and married for 17 of those years. We met in our 20’s, when we were young and idealistic and even though my previous partner had been white, I had no idea that race on the cusp of the 21st century would still be an issue. I assumed that love was all that we would need but the truth is that for people who love across the color line in America, you need more than love. You need courage, strength and resiliency to deal with a world that is often hostile to those whose love crosses color lines.
We started to grasp the enormity of what our life together would entail early in our marriage, when a simple traffic stop in Chicago became a moment of horror and shame that we would rarely speak of because the ugliness was too much to bear. Yet in light of a story that broke this weekend, it seems fitting to share my own moment of shame; perhaps if more of us share these uncomfortable moments, people will truly start to grasp how little has truly changed when it comes to race in America.
- You Can Keep Your Bold Riley: Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation – An important article about how riffling through other cultures for setting ideas and plot bunnies is not a good move.
It’s beyond important to have stories of kickass queer women and of kickass women of color, and Northwest Press does some amazing work to support queer artists of all identities. But (and it’s a big but), we must be aware of how power and privilege works in situations when a white-privileged writer pens a romanticized, exotified story about a faux South Asian princess. When a queer writer of color, who knows what it is to live in a racialized body, writes a fantasy about a non-racial, non-homophobic world, that writer is providing escape from the harsh realities of experiencing intersectional racism and homophobia. When a white writer writes a fantasy about a non-racial, non-homophobic world, that writer is providing escape for white readers from white guilt.
Too many of the stories about South Asian people and culture that become popular in the Western world are told by white people (The Jungle Book, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, etc.). Shouldn’t we ask ourselves why white audiences seem to only want to read about brown people when, like Riley’s name, the stories themselves have been twisted and made palatable for them? Why is the consumption of brown stories still, at its core, about white people and their needs?
- Sports fans and complicity – This is from a week ago, but I thought it was an honest look at how being a sports fan kinda makes you an enabler. I continue to be a fan, myself, but it’s almost impossible to defend at this point. I carry on about what could change for the better, but I keep watching, so…
The number of disgusting things you can say about the NFL is long and detailed. The apparent knowing willingness to allow their players to rack up head trauma after head trauma despite the knowledge of their long-term effects on health. The pandering to the lowest common denominator’s lowest common denominator. The casual racism, often masked by insidious code words. The double standards. The money-grubbing. The team-ransoming for public funds to build luxury stadiums that price out low-income people the league would rather not be seen at games. The overall prevailing negative attitude toward and treatment of female fans in particular. And so on.
And if you watch the NFL — or buy their jerseys, or attend their games, or support their advertisers — you are, by extension, complicit in all these problems because you have propped up the machine in some way. You are, by extension, morally reprehensible.
- FCKH8 Continues To Be Awful, Demands An Apology & Accuses Colorlines Of Being Homophobic – So apparently FCKH8 is a for-profit t-shirt company run by a white guy and Aura Bogado wrote a piece for Colorlines where she side-eyed them for profiting off black suffering by selling a Ferguson-themed t-shirt. FCKH8 responded by accusing them of “race-baiting” and homophobia. It goes downhill from there when Colorlines issued a correction/apology after FCKH8 reminded them that they were a Race Forward donor. So ugly all around.
FCKH8 posted a statement on their blog yesterday in response to the Colorlines article that questioned the motives of their “I’m over racism”; t-shirt and viral video. If you’re not caught up, here’s a rundown of how this whole thing started.
The post is of course, predictably defensive, patronizing and awful. There’s really too much to parse, but here are some of my “favorite” highlights. And by favorite, I mean eye-roll inducing.