White Readers: 'Tis the Month to Meet Black Writers

| 12/2/2008 1:01:29 PM

White Readers Meet Black Authors 2Writer Carleen Brice, in a “sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted plea,” has declared December National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month.

On her blog, Brice presents her “official invitation into the African American section of the bookstore” with just a hint of irony—as when she reassures white readers that there are indeed black-authored books “without Ebonics,” introduces authors who defy expectations for black writing (“Yes, Virginia, black folks write about the paranormal”), or gently reminds holiday shoppers that “white people already know about Toni Morrison, so please choose something else besides A Mercy.” But in a literary atmosphere where publishers market books by black writers as marginal genre work, and “readers and reporters still ask black authors ‘Is your work for everyone?’ ” Brice issues the invitation sincerely, too. She balances the sarcasm with an earnestly informative tone, offering links on race and writing, reading, and publishing; pointing readers to resources on black authors; and suggesting some of her favorite books by lesser-known black writers.   

Visitors to the blog have largely treated Brice’s rallying cry humorlessly, offering up bland praise for the idea or guiltily working to prove their own color-blind reading habits. Comments on the site hint at tantalizing questions—Should bookstores keep special sections for black writing? How do we define the ‘black’ in ‘black writing’?—that never develop into full-blown discussion. Bloggers have started to spread the word, but seem to have contented themselves thus far with quick mentions of the initiative. Check out the most substantial I’ve found—at cowriters Donna Grant and Virginia DeBerry’s TwoMindsFull blog, which is most interesting when it examines the difficulty of black authors “crossing over” anecdotally.

But NBBBAGSNB Month only officially began on Monday. Here’s hoping the conversation is just starting!

(Thanks, Written Nerd.)

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter