Friday, January 7, 2011

A Diva's Thought's: Reviewers of Color

Earlier this week, a tweet from Duski Literati caught my attention. The tweet contained a story from BeyondChron, which was in response to a New York Times Book Review feature story. The NY Times story discussed the need for book critics.

BeyondChron's agreed with the need of book critics, but wondered why the stories didn't mention or talked to any book critic/reviewers of color.

Reading this brought up a recent conversation with my mother. She's been trying to encourage me to put some of my reviews in the local newspaper. It is extremely rare that they feature books from or about people of color. And half of the people that they use are staff members.

"Maybe you should change your name. Maybe Barbara," Mom said. "Sound more white."

"I am not changing my name," I said. "And aren't you the one who named me?"

I agree with BeyondChron's take on the need of diversity in the world of book reviews. But should you change even a little bit of yourself just to get a byline? Should you give up what you believe in to cater to the mainstream?

I say no. I am just getting to a point in my life where I'm starting to feel comfortable in myself and in my writing. After a (brief) career in the journalism field, I want to write what I feel that is important to me and the people around me, not the status quo. And there are too many options to have my work published only in the local paper (who is probably not going to publish it anyway because they have to think about their "audience").

I feel that if any publication does not want to feature books and reviews/reviewers of color, it's not only their loss, but the loss of their readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment