Posts Tagged: Racism

UK Publishing is Racist, Too

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The Writing the Future report . . . found that the “best chance of publication” for a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) writer was to write literary fiction conforming to a stereotypical view of their communities, addressing topics such as “racism, colonialism or post-colonialism as if these were the primary concerns of all BAME people.”

On the heels of the depressing statistics of the first-ever Women of Color VIDA Count, the UK’s Writing the Future report reveals that things aren’t any better for writers of color across the pond.

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Repressed Reading

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That night, I found myself seriously questioning this assumption I’d held since childhood: “You have to try to forget that while you’re reading.” You do? Why? And, more to the point, how?

How do you approach literature when you find it racist or elitist?

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Hugos, Hijacked

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What has happened is simple: an angry mob has exploited a loophole in how nominations occur in order to crash a party that they seemingly detest anyway. The gaming of the Hugo Awards Ballot wasn’t executed for frivolous reasons: it was organized by racist, homophobic people who want science fiction to be going backwards instead of looking toward the future.

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Return to Braggsville

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Two authors take a trip that they did not take to a place that's no place (but could be anywhere) in Wiley Cash's feature on novelist T. Geronimo Johnson and his new book, Welcome to Braggsville. ...more

LaShonda Katrice Barnett by ellen foto in COLOR

The Rumpus Interview with LaShonda Katrice Barnett

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Novelist LaShonda Katrice Barnett discusses her debut novel, Jam on the Vine, how becoming a historian taught her about plot, Muslims living in Texas in the 19th century, and the Missouri State Penitentiary, also known as “the bloodiest 47 acres in America.” ...more

Novelist Brings Slavery to California

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In an interview with NPR, novelist and funnyman Paul Beatty discusses his novel The Sellout, and what’s on his mind when creating a world where plantation culture is reborn in California. The novel focuses on Bonbon, an African American man who reacts to the accidental shooting of his father by the LAPD by re-segregating his hometown and taking on a personal slave—an elderly man famous for his role in Little Rascals.

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Outrage Laced With Vulnerability

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When the grand juries failed to indict Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo, they added to a lineage of injustices enacted against black people in America. Rumpus contributor Kaveh Akbar speaks to Claudia Rankine about her poetry collection Citizen, which explores the microaggressions supporting the system that let it happen: 

I didn’t have a directive in the sense of raising consciousness.

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Mirrors and Windows

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Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler’s racist watermelon joke at the National Book Awards with a moving and direct piece in the New York Times. She neither condemns nor forgives Handler, but instead focuses on her personal history with the watermelon joke, the positive direction of diversity in publishing, and her mission in writing:

This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.

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Eric Garner: A Rumpus Roundup

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In July, unarmed black man Eric Garner died after he was placed in a chokehold by a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, on Staten Island, a suburban borough of New York City.

This might sound eerily similar to the case of Michael Brown.

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Diversity Matters

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Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) recent racist joke at the National Book Awards exposed an uncomfortable truth about the American publishing industry: its overwhelming whiteness. For the industry to survive, it must embrace diversity. Over at the Guardian, Carole DeSanti points out that regardless of changes in the business of publishing, what matters is the content:

…any gains in the format and pricing wars are going to be wiped out if content is less and less relevant to the way people live, who we are, and what we aspire to be.

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Racists Are Less Creative

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Comparing cognitive tests like the Duncker Candle Problem against views of racial essentialism reveals that racists lack certain problem solving skills, reports Hazlitt:

Creativity is fundamentally the ability to recombine old ideas, moving beyond preexisting categories in order to create things that are genuinely novel.

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A Book Review Column That Isn’t All About White Men

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As VIDA’s annual stats have made very clear, most publications favor male writers reviewing books by other male writers.

Our inimitable essays editor Roxane Gay has also talked about the lack of representation of writers of color in many publications.

Ron Hogan, who runs the literary website Beatrice, wants to help change that by starting a new book-review column that intentionally focuses on the work of a diverse range of authors.

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“I Am an Alien”

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Moving to the US as a person of color isn’t easy, even when you do everything completely above-board, come from a nation friendly with the US, and arrive with a respectable family in tow.

Toni Nealie discusses her experience coming to America from New Zealand in an essay for Guernica:

My iris is captured in a biometrics file with the U.S Immigration Service….My deep brown eyes, the eyes that have held the gaze of my beloved, the eyes that look like my mother’s, that my newborn sons searched for and struggled to focus on: these are now U.S territory.

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Children’s Books Still Dominated by White Boys

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We’ve blogged before about the issue of representation in children’s and young-adult literature.

This post by Soraya Chemaly looks at the numbers and finds that kid-lit books feature twice as many male protagonists as female ones (three times as many when the characters are animals), and about a bajillion more white protagonists than protagonists of any other race—and that’s just for 2012.

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On Realizing You’re Not White

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The paint was several layers thick, each new message or drawing layered on a chaotic background of the preceding scrawl….“It’s the chink hate wall,” he said. Kevin did not consider my Chinese ethnicity when he said this.

For Maisonneuve, Kimberley Fu writes about moving from the sanctuary of a color-blind high school where “our quarterback was Iranian one year, white the next, Japanese the year after that,” to the real world and its unexpected barrage of stereotypes and anti-Asian suspicion.

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“bell hooks’ Feminism Is My Feminism”

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In the latest installment of an Autostraddle feature described as “a biweekly devotional to whoever the fuck I’m into,” Carmen Rios throws a little love party for bell hooks.

Inspired by an eerily prescient hooks quote about “the white male home owner who made a mistake,” Rios ends her celebration of hooks’ legacy as a writer and activist with nine more “quotes that haven’t stopped ringing true.”

Read it!

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Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Brilliant Take on the Zimmerman Verdict

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Not to overload anyone on political coverage, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’s reaction to the George Zimmerman trial is an absolute must-read.

In it, he looks at the actual legal text involved in the case and points out that what’s so deeply frightening about it isn’t that the verdict flouted the law; it’s that the law—and in many ways, the entire concept of American justice—is written to enable this kind of verdict.

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