That’s right we said it! Or would you like to continue to ride in the back of the bus.
We ran across this profound article today in BookRiot.com by Syreeta Barlow. It was written in 2014 but today in 2016, it still speaks to the problems with the African-American book section today. I dare you to read it!
Some of the most poignant areas of the article reads:
“As a writer, my absolute fear was ending up, not in the clearance bin, but in the African-American section……. Opportunity should not extend itself solely on the color of the character on the cover, but by what’s written inside. I’m not saying that all books by all Black authors are good and deserving and special, but certainly that’s also not the case for authors of any race. There will be bad books. And there will be good books…….. As readers, it should be up to us whether or not we will stick with the fiction we know, or expand our horizons to different fare. Bookstores that take that option out of our hands feed into our prejudices by holding authors hostage in a designated area that gets far too little foot traffic. The author’s name and the character’s color should not limit us in what we choose to read.”
The way the book stores align black author books, continues the world’s discrimination of African-Americans as a whole. We have to disband all African-American book sections and demand to not be segregated by race; or in the words of Syreeta Barlow, “… besides the African-American section, the only other fiction shelf that I see earmarked by ethnicity is the Spanish-language section (which also houses popular books like Twilight and Harry Potter en espanol). So many Black authors …are… pushed to the back… As if the book is completely written in Ebonics or something.”
The romance and women’s fiction book industry is a profitable industry that we’re being financially segregated out of. In fact, it is a billion dollar industry and we have to get a strategy that overcomes the system to be front and center in the game of opportunity.
Join us at the 2017 RSJ Convention in Los Angeles, where we’ll be discussing the book industry and where the African-American author and black books fall within it. As well as how you as an author and/or reader can help make positive changes.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Be sure to comment below.
To read the full article by Syreeta Barlow, Click here
UPDATE: The 2018 RSJ convention is now open for registration. This is a writers and readers event geared for promoting diversity in literature. Will you be the next Emma Award winning author? – LEARN MORE ABOUT RSJ 2018