One thing I love about the internet is that it allows you to build community *without* shmoozing in public. I’m not especially good in social situations, and I wouldn’t even dream of attending kidlit “drinks night,” which happens every so often here in NYC. It might be a great way to connect with other writers and editors, but it’s not my scene. I don’t attend SCBWI conferences, either—so maybe I’m to blame for my limited success as a published author? Orlando Patterson recently published this interesting essay in The Nation, and explained how even middle-class African Americans are losing ground in this economy in part because of their lack of cultural capital:
In modern America, like all other major industrial societies, economic success stems as much from network location and access to cultural capital as from formal schooling. Getting a job, as sociologist Mark Granovetter showed in his pathbreaking work, is as much a function of who you know as what you know…It is precisely such crucial networks and cultural capital that segregation excludes black Americans from. This, along with persisting, though declining, racism, explains, too, why black middle-class young people still lag far behind their white counterparts in school achievement and in career rewards from educational attainment. It explains also the looming tragedy of massive downward mobility and the failure of the black middle class to reproduce itself.
Recently author/publisher Cheryl Willis Hudson asked her Facebook friends to list all the African American editors they could think of—she hoped for 20, but had to recruit more help to reach double digits. She then blogged about this issue, and I immediately thought of Patterson’s argument—how “shmoozing” is really the way to get ahead, and segregation in the social sphere limits career opportunities for qualified blacks. I’m sure Cheryl will have lots to say during our panel at the Harlem Book Fair…you know I will!
I certainly intend to bring up the Silver Phoenix cover controversy—for two great posts on the subject, read Tarie’s open letter (reposted at Color Online) and then stop by Gal Novelty’s blog to consider one fan’s “many feelings” on the erasure of Asian identity.
It’s time once again for Book Blogger Appreciation Week—I’m not entirely sure when you can vote, but Gal Novelty, Summer Edward’s Caribbean Children’s Literature, and Multiculturalism Rocks! are in the running for best cultural blog…