I didn’t make this image, so credit to whoever did, but I loved it and the idea behind it. It’s such a straightforward way to actually put a drop into the bucket of Striving For Change.
But I also found these two articles relevant:
I read a lot. Like, a lot. But my reading is probably 80% entertainment & relaxation, 18% useful non-fiction, and 2% “worthy.” (I’m now seriously tempted to go back through all the books I’ve read this year and see how close those percentages are to accurate, but that would take a lot of time, so assume that they’re approximations.)
And what defines “worthy?” Well, the commodification of Black pain, definitely. They’re, you know, medicinal books. The ones that are good for you, that you read because it’s somehow virtuous to read them, not necessarily fun to read them. Book club books. Books like “How to be an Antiracist,” which I am currently in the middle of.
But Black authors should not only be able to make a living when they’re educating White people about things we should already know.* If blackout publishing works, and I hope it does, the bestsellers next week will be those worthy books. I wanted my purchases to support authors with books that fell into my other two categories of reading: useful and entertaining.
So, first up, (hopefully both useful and entertaining): Banish Your Inner Critic, by Denise Jacobs. Would I write faster if I banished my inner critic? Probably, yes. Am I going to be able to do so? Well… we’ll see, I guess. But back when I was an editor, I worked with Denise on her first book, (now long out of date), so I know she’s got a great voice and I’m looking forward to reading this one soon.
And second, Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson, currently #1 in the category of African American Science Fiction on Amazon. I find that a little ironic, since the book is set in Toronto — but I guess African Canadian would be a seriously niche category.
I hope you will join me in supporting black authors this week. If you do or if you have recommendations for books, share them in the comments, please!
*I am capitalizing both Black and White, because of these articles: Recognizing Race in Language and The Case for Capitalizing the B in Black. I’m not exactly comfortable with it, so I expect that I will make errors, but it feels like the right choice.