The Rejectionist asked me to write a guest post for her blog, and I repaid her kindness by submitting an examination of the role race plays in publishing. Do only “the very best writers” make it into print? Would more writers of color get published if they just worked harder and had “the right attitude”? Following Peggy McIntosh’s approach, I came up with a list of 16 advantages that white writers can count on when they venture into the publishing arena. Here’s a sample:
4. You can be pretty sure that your book—if it’s lucky enough to get reviewed by the major outlets—will be assessed by someone of your race who operates with an appreciation of your culture’s particular literary tradition(s).
5. You can attend numerous children’s literature conferences with programming that reflects your interests and/or your culture, you can network with industry professionals who share your race, and otherwise feel comfortable as a member of the majority.
6. You can write about anyone who lives anywhere and be accepted by many as an extraordinarily creative person and/or an expert on topics outside of your lived experience.
7. You can participate in a literary event and trust that your invitation was based on the merits of your book, not your race.
8. You can be pretty sure that the person responsible for acquisitions and programming at most schools and public libraries shares your race.
9. You can be pretty sure that most major award committees are composed primarily of people who look like you.
10. You can trust that disappointing sales for your book will not be attributed to your race (or to members of your race being unable/unwilling to read).