- Spilling Tea, Choking on Silence and Perhaps Burning Bridges – Suleikha Snyder vents her frustration with a white-run publishing industry and how easily it forgives and forgets sometimes.
I’m not a bestselling author. I’m not a degree-holding academic feminist who purports to validate the romance genre by reading it. I’m an author and reader of color who grew up with a certain amount of upper middle class and model minority privilege — none of which holds any weight in the publishing industry. Because, you see, like most of my fellow writers of color, I am invisible.
The past few weeks saw Stephanie Dray, a white author of historical fiction, “joking” about writing Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings BDSM romance. Women of color expressed hurt on Twitter, and those issues were later outlined more extensively in the blogosphere here and here. Dray made sure to seek absolution from well-known authors like Courtney Milan, Mary Robinette Kowal and Jenny Trout, and Beverly Jenkins lauded her for her apology. Ultimately the fracas became centered on Trout, Anne Rice and Jaid Black. Slavery and rape were forgotten. The black women hurt by the comments were forgotten. White authors with a bigger followings were having some feelings, so that took precedence.
- Black Authors and Self-Publishing – Kid lit author Zetta Elliott has a great article on how publishers have pushed black authors to self-publish and how self-publishing offers black authors both limitless possibility as well as stigma.
According to Horn Book editor-in-chief Roger Sutton, self-published books “aren’t filling any kind of need that isn’t already being met by established publishers,” as he wrote in a blog post entitled “An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.” Sutton finds it “difficult to otherwise think of subjects that scare the mainstream off.”
Really? How many children’s books do we have about police brutality—mass incarceration—lynching—HIV/AIDS? Homelessness and suicide among queer youth of color? How many books show Black children using magic and/or technology to shape an alternative universe?
These are the kinds of stories that I write and am forced to self-publish, because they are rejected over and over by (mostly white) editors whose “most important job,” according to Sutton, “is to understand what contribution your story makes—or doesn’t—to the big world of books and readers.” Longtime editor and children’s literature scholar Laura Atkins counters that mainstream publishers seem to worry about “publishing only those books which they think will be palatable to the ‘mainstream.’ This results in books that tend to target a white middle-class audience.” Many members of the children’s literature community clamor for greater diversity but remain silent when another Black teenager is shot down. They cling to the fantasy that white supremacy has shaped every U.S. institution except the publishing industry. Like racism in police forces across this nation, racism in publishing is cultural and systemic; the problem cannot be solved merely by hiring a few (more) people of color.
- An Actual Answer to ‘Why Is She Dating a Masculine Woman Instead of Just Dating a Guy?’ – I loved this article. It explained why I love studs/butches in f/f while still seeing them as women, rather than a stand-in for a male hero.
Maybe you’ve heard it, been asked it, or wondered about it yourself: Why do queer women and lesbians date masculine-presenting women instead of just dating a cisgender dude?
Well, let’s break it down and answer the question.
But most importantly, let’s examine why this is such a common question – and come up with some more respectful and supportive questions to ask instead.
- Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? – A quick article on the subtleties of racism and xenophobia.
What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.
Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.
Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.
- Starbucks Wants Its Employees to Discuss Race Relations with Customers – The story is as bad as the headline sounds. *recoils violently*
Would you want a side of race relations with your daily double-shot short cappuccino? Then, U.S. coffee drinker, Starbucks has a corporate initiative for you.
Yes, Starbucks, the ubiquitous middlebrow coffee chain, said on Tuesday that it would begin encouraging its employees to further the free discussion of race in America through a program called RaceTogether. Baristas can signal their interest in a conversation by writing the campaign’s name on a patron’s cup, a space previously reserved for the finer points of drink orders and the occasional creative spelling of “Stephanie.”
“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Starbucks C.E.O. Howard Schultz said in a post on the coffee chain’s Web site.. “Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
- SF’s Borland quits over safety issues – So this is interesting: a young NFL player who hadn’t had a concussion since high school chose to retire from football because he didn’t see how he could effectively play his position without risking his future brain health.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, one of the NFL’s top rookies this past season, told “Outside the Lines” on Monday that he is retiring because of concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.
Borland, 24, said he notified the 49ers on Friday. He said he made his decision after consulting with family members, concussion researchers, friends and current and former teammates, as well as studying what is known about the relationship between football and neurodegenerative disease.
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told “Outside the Lines.” “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”