I was all set to write a post about my first month in my new "revision writers" class when I opened my email inbox and read a community post from one of the writers organizations to which I belong. The author began by stating that his post would likely be seen as inflammatory, but he felt compelled to write it anyway. He complained about the solicitation of BIPOC authors by some writing contests and publications, which he considers illegal racial discrimination against White writers. A few sympathetic responses from those who also felt illegally discriminated against followed. And I thought, here we go again!
A member of this same writers organization who happens to be White provided a well-written and substantiated mini history lesson by way of a long response that laid out statistics and references regarding racial disparities in the publishing world easily found online. Writers of color already know that works centered on characters of color have not historically resonated with the predominantly White industry. But not everyone believes this to be the case.
In recent years, several public and private organizations have developed or enhanced non-discrimination policies. Sadly, I don't think many minds are changed by the truths of members of marginalized communities despite the fact that implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies still leave the publishing industry overwhelmingly dominated by Whites. And I'm not sure requiring folks to undergo "training" is all that effective. While some may find such training enlightening, others grow even more resentful toward underrepresented communities. While the practice may help provide context for those who seek enlightenment, I'm of the opinion that such change must come from within.
It saddens and distresses me to see members of a respected writers organization profess their animosity toward BIPOC communities and those who support them. These sentiments leave me feeling as though I'm dealing with a hostile work environment. Some of us would like to think that writers are creative types with open minds and a deep interest in learning. Perhaps this concept is more fiction than nonfiction.
Breaking out in the industry is difficult enough. It would be nice if we all supported one another with positive energy.