Millenia Black Gains Acceptance
I'm committed to stopping what I view as an extremely horrid industry practice. I think it's very important for readers to know - and to understand - what's been happening, not only to me, but from what I gather, to so many authors in the publishing industry....She goes on to say:
To further illustrate the industry's severe racial inequity, take THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd. Here's a debut novel (great book BTW) where the majority of the major characters are---yep, you guessed it---black. Yet, as I've observed, this novel was not classified as African-American fiction and segregated accordingly for marketing and distribution purposes. When I walk into a bookstore (any bookstore) I find this book as general fiction---yet, in my view, it would've been far more appropriate to niche BEES as African-American fiction than to have done so with THE GREAT PRETENDER.My favorite part is the most powerful:
But, Sue Monk Kidd is white. Publishing is currently a pro-white industry. So her work of heavy AA racial tensions and content was not restricted to AA media, AA bookstore shelves, AA foreign interest, and venues in general with predominantly AA interests.
See the problem? Boy, I certainly do. I feel it in my bones.
In its current state, before they've even written a single word, all authors are NOT created equal. I have learned this first hand. With a scant few exceptions, authors are being treated according to the color of their skin, even if they don't wish to be identified as black authors. Race appears to determine several key factors: 1) how your work will be handled, 2) who's expected to buy it and, in my case 3) even what you may be allowed to write....In fact, racial marginalization has become such a widely accepted business practice, that industry players seem virtually oblivious, or numbed, to what strikes me as corrosively suppressive and segregating ramifications.
Was I born with the wrong skin color, or what? Being treated this way can surely make one feel as if they were - as if your skin is a liability. I can't even begin to express what an awful feeling that is. Not being able to go out into the world, buy a fishing rod and fish in the ocean like everyone else. Based on your skin color, someone will come along and impose upon you the type of rod you're expected to have, the pond you're expected to fish in, and the path you're expected to take to get there. It's like they're saying, "Just who do you think you are? You don't get to throw your line into the ocean! Look at your skin. There's the pond over there."Boy does it ever make me feel like I was born the wrong color. I've felt that way ever since I started school.
I still applaud Millenia for taking this stand. She says it's not over yet, and my sense is, based on what she's said about her first book, The Great Pretender, her publisher's going to have to cough up some punitive compensation. Won't that be interesting? She's published by NAL (a division of Penguin Putnam), though I've noticed she never mentions them by name, which must be at the advice of her attorney. I'm eagerly awaiting the next revelation in this situation. Somehow I think it will be major and relevant to all authors, black and white......whatever happens.