Given the further ramping up of racism in the lit world, I have to confess something.
In recent weeks I’ve watched digital yellowface, more White lady authors defending each other from us savage Brown, Black, Queer, Disabled and countless others, I have seen White people do intellectual 10.0 tumbling routines in order to make sure everyone knows that it’s never their fault, they aren’t racists, they are just trying to get what we others have.
I have witnessed male poets sexually harass, objectify and gaslight women.
I haven’t commented on every single thing because I was busy putting out a book.
Here is something I’ve come to understand.
When they say they aren’t against, diversity they just are against censorship and racial nepotism they want us others around but quiet.
Yes, it’s reassuring to know that we Wise Old Negresses exists, but naturally only a precious few of us should be visible or audible at any one time.
If more than one of us speaks at one time, it’s just PCness taking over and tantamount to murderous terrorism and censorship on the level of book burnings and religious extremism.
I see exactly what’s happening.
Solidarity amongst us others is threatening to Whiteness because we have our own voices, and will not only have our own spaces but will be heard in those spaces as well.
I see the patterns in this behavior.
The fear based posturing. The apparently righteous cause of freedom of speech. The White Flight. The victim pose, oh poor picked on White people being held accountable for their words and actions. All of it.
And it is exhausting.
I endure the micro aggressions. I quietly unfollow, unfriend, put literary magazines on my verboten list. I note who I will and won’t EVER work with at my own peril.
And yet, YET I am still right here.
I’ve stood up for my work because god damn it, this is years of my life, deep life changing work for both my publisher and I. And yes, it is that valuable.
I do this work in the face of the wall of White tears, White outrage, Silencing, Othering, and cowpie dodging that is the publishing industry.
I do this work because it is what I am meant to do.
I don’t do it in order to lead White folks and publishers by the hand into the land of milk, honey & diversity.
I do it because I have things to say. Because my voice, the voice that I have struggled to find and learn how to wield like a machete and like a lover’s hand is important.
So yes, YES, by all means keep tumbling and cartwheeling to justify why I should remain silent.
I will not name you all.
But I see you.
I see you.