Authors: Skin Color or Talent? Essay

1205 Words 5 Pages
As I writer, I struggle with a number of things: finding the time to write, finding the inspiration to write, stopping myself from obliterating everything I’ve written in one fell swoop of my editing marker, and so much more. But the biggest struggle I have is not so much with the writing itself but with the color of my own skin.

Authors: Skin Color or Talent?

Like most writers, I read a lot. I’ve described this tendency to be gluttonous, or more complimentary, voracious. However, one thing most readers can agree on is that there is not a whole lot of ethnic or racial diversity in protagonists out there. Nevermind the clear racial bias in the authors that make it to the top-shelf magazines and newspapers. Roxane Gay and her assistant
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As I writer, I struggle with a number of things: finding the time to write, finding the inspiration to write, stopping myself from obliterating everything I’ve written in one fell swoop of my editing marker, and so much more. But the biggest struggle I have is not so much with the writing itself but with the color of my own skin.

Authors: Skin Color or Talent?

Like most writers, I read a lot. I’ve described this tendency to be gluttonous, or more complimentary, voracious. However, one thing most readers can agree on is that there is not a whole lot of ethnic or racial diversity in protagonists out there. Nevermind the clear racial bias in the authors that make it to the top-shelf magazines and newspapers. Roxane Gay and her assistant undertook the massive project of identifying the race/ethnicity of the authors of the 742 books that had been reviewed by the New York Times as of 2011, and what they found was positively offensive. Of the total 742 books, 655 of those were written by non-Hispanic Caucasians.

There is a disparity of almost 20% between the racial makeup of the United States and the racial makeup of the authors reviewed. This is certainly not due to the lack of writers or a lack of talent. Given that editors and agents are the key to getting published, is the first line of discrimination drawn by their hands? Is there a way to counteract this bias? I don’t have any hard statistics for it; there’s simply no way to know the racial/ethnic identity of every author

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