An Open Letter to the Paris Review

UPDATE- Due to the amount of harassment, misuse and misrepresentation that resulted from this post I have a final essay about the issue. Please head to Literary Orphans and if you still don’t understand what is going on here, I got nothing for you. 

Dear Whitey and other assorted Whiteys,

In the wake of the continuing dehumanization of, murder of, lynching of Black children I see that you may want to find a way to use your position to make a statement.

The venerable Paris Review did this. (Also check out Donotlink if you would like to show people stuff on the internet but don’t want to contribute click money) The Ballad of Ferguson, Missouri.

Right now just about every Black person I know is in pain. We have to see on social media how many of our sometimes beloved friends are racists. We have to watch people who could be us or our children be murdered and blamed for their own deaths.

Many of us are reaching out to our elders, to other black people we admire for comfort. For something.

We want to make sense of things and one of the ways as we know to make sense of the senseless is through art.

I saw the title of the poem and I had this moment of gleaming hope that there woul be words to help. To provide a balm or something.

I wasn’t able to read it right away, but I was excited who could it be that has written a ballad about Ferguson.

Nikki Giovanni?

Some new amazing Black poet for me to love from afar?

Of ALL the amazing Black artists in the literary world, the Paris Review picked this guy:


The Voice of Ferguson
The Voice of Ferguson


Then I read it.

I read the first three lines and said to a friend on facebook “what the actual real fuck”

Fucking white people.

Listen Whitey and assorted Whitey’s involved in publishing this is why we don’t trust you.

Things like this, because let’s face it ever fucking time any publishing company has a chance to do something to combat it’s own Whiteness and prove just how not racist it is, well here we are.

Every goddamn time you fail.

You never apologize.

You are every writer’s abusive boyfriend that we can’t leave because we’re all so desperate to be loved by you.

You are why I have been carefully reconsidering the trajectory of my writing life.

So many of your trickled down lit mags I just, let’s be blunt I am not white enough.

I don’t write white enough.

I don’t want to expend 80% of my energy when I’m submitting in trying to figure out if my loud and never a secret critique of the whiteness of the literary industry is going to work for or against me. Or I think about the subtle anti blackness I see in so many “Diverse” magazines who are so not racist.

Do I really want those people to be my audience?

Also you obviously can’t police yourself and I have art to make so i don’t want to spend so much time trying to politely call out the bullshit.

God damn it.

For fuck sake.

Chicken hearted fair weather egalitarian shite.

The fact that writers I consider to be my Black Pantheon of Creativity and Beauty have told me privately at times how much I see but I know they can’t say these things publicly because they have careers and bills to pay, I just.

I want to burn this mother fucker down.

All of it.

I don’t even know what to say anymore.

God damn it White people get your shit together.


An Angry Black Lady