Friday, November 21, 2008

White People, Black Books

Happy Friday Meltingpot Readers,

I just stumbled upon the most hilarious and yet spot on new blog, created by one of my new favorite authors,Carleen Brice. The blog is called White Readers Meet Black Authors and it is Brice's answer to the racial divide between, well duh, Black authors and White readers. In her own words, here's why she started the blog:

" It seems silly, but apparently White people often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about checking out the African-American section of the bookstore. I’m trying to think of ways to let them know they’re more than welcome to peruse our books. Times are tough for all authors and Black authors can’t afford to have such a significant section of the market ignorant about what we’re offering."

Do you hear that? That's me giving Ms. Brice a round of applause for taking action against such a ridiculous practice of literary segregation. From the booksellers to the book buyers, folks have to know that a story well-written can be enjoyed by anyone. I mean do you have to be Japanese to sob over Memoirs of a Geisha? (Heck, even the author isn't Japanese). No. Must a person hail from San Juan to pick up When I was Puerto Rican by Esmerelda Santiago? Claro que no! So why can't White (or Asian or Latino etc) people read works by Black authors? It is silly, right?

To get the ball rolling and to prod us all along, Brice has declared December, just in time for the holidays, as National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month. And anything by Toni Morrison doesn't count because White people already read her books.

Check out Brice's new blog for suggestions of books by Black authors that White people might like.

Just wondering if anybody out there is willing to admit why they stay away from Black authors? Or maybe you're not afraid and read them all the time. Do you feel uncomfortable going to the Black section at the bookstore or library? Do you feel that book buying is a segregated business?

Holla back with your thoughts.



Christina said...

Love it! And is it okay that I laughed a bit at the Tony Morrison comment? Totally true. By the way, I checked out YOUR book from the public library here in town (and no, it wasn't in the "African-American" section, but rather up-front on display.) I haven't had a chance to start it yet, but my son seemed to love it - I found him carrying the book around the house :).

Christina said...

By the way, that blog doesn't seem to exist yet - is there another link? Thanks!

Spring said...

But A Mercy just came out and I want to buy it for everybody!!! :)

Great idea. Linked to this post on my blog. Thanks!

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks Lori for the link. Hope to keep this conversation going for a while.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh. Shortly before we left the States to move to Australia, I took two trips to the bookstore to stock up on books from the "African American section", knowing that I might not have much of a selection Down Under.

It was a bit of a funny experience walking to the front counter with half the books they had available.

Anonymous said...

Harvetta said...

I just love the topics we discuss!

My bookstore, Presse, is in Washington, DC. The website is:

There's NO "Black" section (or separate section for any other ethnicity) in my store ... the whole point of this store is to bring people together. The books go where they belong: art, literature, cooking, biographies, politics, etc.

It's interesting to see how the regional sections "blend" at the boundaries, for example, Africa, Europe and America and Europe, Asia.

That's why my customers, mostly not Black, have such strong (positive) reactions at the store -- they're seeing Gone with the Wind, Negro with a Hat (a biography of Marcus Garvey), Obama and Barbara Walters, photobios of Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis, etc. all next to each other. And, the same thing goes for Latino and Asian books (authors and subjects).

Mberenis said...

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Poverty and Middle Class Bailout

What do you think? Will it work?

Farah said...

I always thought the "african-american" section in bookstores was silly anyway, esp. for fiction. A good story is a good story and why can't "black books" be placed in the Literature section?!

Kyra said...

What an idea!

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.