Systemic Racism & the Publishing World

I love this meme because it fits clearly into my dissertation  research.  My heroes, W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass are both influencers of this theory.  Here's  a very brief excerpt from one of the papers I'm writing on systemic racism and the publishing world.

Systemic Racism is a theory that accounts for individual, institutional, and structural forms of racism.    
There are several forms of systemic racism.  From a librarian's lens, this type of racism takes place in the publishing world.  Authors of color are often discouraged from publishing their books by major publishing houses or are rejected by publishing houses.  They claim that there isn't an 'audience' for the work or that only a small population of the African-American community reads.

When these same authors self-publish and build their own audience on a Indie level, publishing houses then view them as credible investments.  Why weren't they provided the initial opportunity as their white counterparts?

When African-Americans see content that is of interest to them, they read it.  Moreover, when African-Americans see themselves in literature whether it be a representation of their community, circumstance or experience, they can relate to it......they read books.   This isn't rocket science, but I've been saddened over the years by others in the field that just don't get this.  

Like any other group in this country, our reading interests do count!  I've been asked for years have I've gotten African-American teens interested in reading. 

Here are my three simple steps:
#1 - Listen to what they are interested in 
#2 - Build your collection from those  recommendations 
#3 - Defend the student's interests and the selection of books they are interested in

Unfortunately those who are in decision making positions at publishing houses fail to understand this.  These barriers have been in place for years and is one of the reasons why systemic racism in publishing continues today.  When publishing houses create in-house decision making boards that represent a broad spectrum of diverse cultures and backgrounds in this country, its a step towards a positive change.  

Systemic racism is an ill of our society and can be abolished if everyone unites together to end it.

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