Writer-actor-comedian Phoebe Robinson’s debut essay collection is You Can’t Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain. As Janice Roshalle Littlejohn writes for the LARB blog, “Her writing is relatable and woke, confronting racism and how to cope with white guilt, feminism and female issues, and America’s problematic relationship with black hair.” Robinson herself says, “Part of the reason I wanted to write this book is because when it comes to matters of race, it’s usually just white men talking to black men.”...more
Posts Tagged: writers of color
As I processed a dominant Euro-American writing pedagogy from the perspective of an aspiring fiction writer and an immigrant critic of color, I couldn’t stop wondering: are we, in 21st-century America, overvaluing a sight-based approach to storytelling? And could this be another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?
In an illuminating interview with Claire Schwartz for Guernica, writer Kai Cheng Thom discusses activism, the unique intersections felt by people of color in the queer community, consensual behavior, trauma, and the immigrant experience. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and in doing so she reveals the convergence of all these areas of concern into a singular identity she’s had to construct for herself:
When you begin to define yourself as a queer person of color (qpoc) and transgender or transsexual and of color, you have to, in a sense, give birth to that.
The publishing industry is at a cultural turning point, with recognition and celebration of writers of color on the rise. But despite the surge in the publishing industry’s interest in works by writers of color, the people working behind the scenes still lack much-needed diversity....more
David M. Perry writes for Pacific Standard on the newest wave of progressive speculative fiction. Perry writes in conversation with Daniel José Older, author of Shadowshaper and the Bone Street Rumba series....more
Hey! We’re white! And we all voted for Obama! Twice! We should do something to help the literary downtrodden.
American literature is already frustrating enough with publishing sorely lacking in diversity. But things can be even worse when the white-dominated industry tries too hard to appeal to writers of color....more
The Internet may have irreversibly altered the forms activism takes, but there is still room for change. Christopher Soto reflects on activist frameworks used in 2015 and offers their strategies for working toward a more inclusive poetry community in the future:
I believe in critical conversations with my community, I believe in doing rehabilitative work for my community, I believe in repercussions but not in punishment.
For a black woman in a white world, a conversation with the self is crucial: for when she walks through that often-unwelcoming world she is subjected to confining perceptions of who she might be. When that world insists on racist and narrow paradigms, the diary gives these women a chance to scratch out and rewrite such definitions.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that, whenever these labels are internalized by those in positions of power, they flatten a writer’s experiences. They shrink someone to just a sliver of his or her identity.
Brandon Tensley writes for Pacific Standard on the limited roles available for writers of color....more
Underwriting the words on that page are the counterposing sentiments I see in many writers I know, especially writers of color: At one pole there’s, I just want to be okay; I want my family/community to be okay. At the other pole there’s, If I only reach the mountaintop I’ll be respected, valid, wealthy, etc.
The New York Times Magazine profiles editor Chris Jackson and how he’s building a literary movement for writers of color:
‘‘The great tradition of black art, generally,’’ he started again, ‘‘is the ability—unlike American art in general—to tell the truth. Because it was formed around the great American poison, the thing that poisoned American consciousness and behavior: racism.
Artmaking is a particularly human occupation. It deserves celebrating in small and big ways.
Following the trend of microfiction on Chipotle bags and short story vending machines, a new endeavor from Coffee House Press called Coffee Sleeve Conversations is setting out to print works specifically from writers of color on coffee sleeves in the hopes of giving exposure to underrepresented voices and creating more diverse conversations....more
This year’s judges of the National Book Award seem to agree that women’s nonfiction writing is abundant and prize-worthy. The 2015 nonfiction longlist includes seven female-authored books, out of 10, the largest percentage of female nominees in the prize’s history. The longlist also contains two books by people of color, compared to last year’s one.