The arts, entertainment, and books desks at every major publication and outlet are flooded with them, and an entire ecosystem of critics, producers, and editors is involved in compiling and signing off on these lists. Narrow reading is a less passive activity than some will claim.
As a writer and critic, I am not just bored with this conversation. I am sick of it. I have written these sentences before. I will write them again. Discussing diversity in publishing is the worst kind of Groundhog Day. What’s more, these lists put writers and readers of color in a deeply awkward position. We don’t want to take anything away from the writers who have been included on the list.
…The problem is and has always been the exclusion of writers of color and other marginalized writers who have to push aside their own work and fight for inclusion, over and over and over again.
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And make your own summer reading lists to look the beautiful, colorful world that the world is.
I need you to read and soak something up. There is so much in these words worth reading over and over. I’m thinking about particular sisters, one of which is my beloved, when I read and re-post this.
Professor Tamura Lomax holds a mirror off of the academe’s bathroom and turns it to us, whether or not we’re in those hallowed halls. She’s offers it up for reflection and, necessarily, criticism. Her voice is sustained in the midst of the sweltering and exhausting enemies of her soul as a scholar and communicator of truth, talking and writing and doing her thing in her skin. She’s grants us a view behind an often unseen veil. Like good truth-tellers, she’s clear. And she makes me think about my own role in junk like this.
So, alphabetized, this reflection is for Aja, Blessing, Dawn, Ghana, and Michelle and for the academic contexts you’re currently in, considering stepping into, or pulling yourselves from. The rest of us will love you and befriend you and be strong for you. And we’ll use our strengths to be a revitalizing community for you that “loves you into” working and writing and thinking and doing your thing.
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