Black Lives Matter
Sorry I haven't been posting as often anymore. I've gone back to work, but also I wanted to leave some space for voices other than my own.
This post when I planned it was originally going to be a book review of "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson, but it just didn't seem right. I put a small review on Goodreads, so you can check that out if you're interested in my thoughts.
I decided not to write about that book here, not because Shirley Jackson isn't great - but because I don't think it's what needs to be posted right now.
I have realized, in recent events, not only my own White Privilege, but now I perpetuate racial inequality. One of the biggest ways I do that is by the lack of diversity in my reading.
I am in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy bookclub, and have been for a couple of years now, and yet we have read *one* book by a person of color.
I have been reading horror for FOREVER, and yet I don't know if I could list a horror novel I've read that was written by a person of color.
Publishing, no matter the genre, is already still grossly middle-class and white. And although there are POC authors out there - they are getting paid significantly less than a white author. If you want to know more about this type of thing - follow the hashtags #PubWorkers4Justice or #PubWorkers4BlackLives or #BlackPublishingPower. This is where I started, and it took me down a rabbit hole of resources and articles so I can better educate myself.
It is imperative to understand the imbalance of power White writers and publishers have created and kept. And of course there are many ways to do that, but here are some of the ways I intend to do it - and you can also do most of these as well.
Read more books by POC. This is an easy one - and one that I should have already been doing. And before you give the excuse that you don't know if you'll relate to the subject matter in books written by POC authors - ask yourself how you relate to those zombie/vampire/ghost/etc stories that you're reading already? If you're a horror reader like me, you relate because you know what fear feels like. That's all you need. Or - if you really want to dive into some non-fiction you can join the Deliberate & Unafraid Book Club
Purchase, and display books written by authors of color for the library. Part of my day job is managing the youth collection of materials for all 15 libraries in my county. So purchasing books not just discussing diversity and racial equity, but also fiction books written by authors is a big part of this. Also, it's one thing to purchase these books only to have them sit hidden on the shelves, but another to encourage library staff to display them and suggest them to patrons - so I'll work on that too. Believe it or not, you also have some power in this. Request books written by POC authors to your local library. If you don't think they have a robust enough collection - let them know.
Share the voices of black authors and their experiences - I can write as many blog posts as I want on the subject, but it isn't as powerful as sharing the first hand experiences of black authors.
Donate. There are so many places out there to donate to to support the BLM movement, but here are some that just focus on racial diversity in the writing arts whether it be in the publishing sphere, or the creative sphere: Black Children's Books and Authors, We Need Diverse Books, The House of Malico (they offer a variety of arts related programming, including writing workshops, for POC), Museum of African Diaspora a Smithsonian Affiliate, Black Authors Matter Book Drive, or if you're a creative person and willing to donate some time and creative effort you can look into Collective Power, a group of writers, designers, artists, and strategists offering free services for BIPOC owned businesses.
This page might be quiet for a while as I read more, learn more, and navigate the world more. But if I come across any resources I'll share them here.
One last thing I want to share is the statement given by the Horror Writers Association (of which I am a member):
We believe horror is best kept in fiction. But we know it's not. Remaining silent is not an option. Black Lives Matter. In writing. In art. Everywhere. We stand with the Black community against the too many injustices they've endured. We can make a difference, through our words, through our writing, through our actions. We must stand together for what is right. Racism has no place in this world.
Until next time,
B. Strong &;