Saturday, 1 August 2015

Never Become Complacent

Christina Cooke is guest-editing (along with Nailah King) the upcoming Women of Colour issue for Room magazine. Here she challenges some shibboleths surrounding racial inequality in publishing:
Many organizations use the excuse of not knowing any writers of colour to shirk the responsibility of changing the status quo. But quite frankly, you don’t need to know us in order to publish us. You don’t need to be able to “find yourself” (i.e. find something relatable to whiteness) in order to accept a piece as strong and legitimate. What is required, in my opinion, is an openness beyond liberal double-speak (i.e. reveling in discussing race theory, but standing dumbfounded when confronted with a racialized person). If blackness is something you struggle to understand, be honest with yourself and others about that fact. From there, seek out the resources necessary to broaden your understanding (books, articles, anti-oppression workshops, etc. Google is your oyster). But don’t just take that information and pat yourself on the back. Seek out actual people of colour and include them at every level of the field: as writers, editors, critics, and consumers. Real people will always have additional bits of wisdom that haven’t yet made their way to books. But most importantly, never become complacent. Never stop trying. There’s no way we can completely undo centuries of trauma with a few new friends and spiffy new books.

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