Friday, February 03, 2006

You Need to Make A Decision

I had lunch with this one editor, she took me to this fancy restaurant, and she told me I had to make a decision...whether or not I was writing for black people or white people." - Danyel Smith

If you're a white writer, would you expect to get asked a question like that?

5 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Jennifer R said...

Probably not, because they'd assume that as a whitey, I'm going to write for other whiteys.

Good point, though. 

Posted by Jennifer

jean said...

You know, this is probably extremely naive, and I do recognize that people work from an experience base even when writing fiction, but I'd always assumed that published works were for everyone. I'm an avid reader, enjoy the writing of many different authors. Still, it had never occurred to me to limit my choices by skin color or ethnic writing style. Hmmm, yeah, I'm pretty sure that still isn't going to happen for me.

Rory Shock said...

I think the editor needs to decide whether or not she wants to be a racist perpetuating racism (race being a non-scientific categorization based upon the most superficial of slight genetic differences no greater than variations found within what is called a "race"). A foolish question on other levels as well ... to assume that only those who are just like what the writer is writing about would be interested in what the writer is doing ...

a rose is a rose said...

wtf?

Charles Johnson (Rad Geek) said...

Jennifer R.: "Probably not, because they'd assume that as a whitey, I'm going to write for other whiteys."

Well, I think it's not even that. It's assumed that white people are writing for everybody; white lit-ra-cha is presumed to be at least potentially universal, where black authors get subjected to demands that they "make a decision" about whether they're writing a Race Novel or stuff that white people might be expected to read and take seriously.