RACISM

White Man Claims It's Too Hard For White Men To Get Writing Gigs

Why do some White people see diversity as an existential threat?

Allison Wiltz
Published in
5 min readJun 14, 2022

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Photo by Thomas Franke on Unsplash

Diversity is not a personal attack on White people, but good luck convincing award-winning novelist James Patterson of that fact. In an interview in The Times, he expressed concern that it's too hard for old White men to get writing gigs. It's as if he just arrived from an alternative universe, where White people are constantly subjected to racial discrimination. Furthermore, Patterson suggested the uptick in diverse voices in literature is a form of racism against White men. His perspective is reminiscent of The Great Replacement Theory, which asserts that Black people, immigrants, and other marginalized groups are actively, intentionally, and maliciously replacing White people. But, of course, none of that is actually happening. So, why do some White men view diversity as a visceral threat?

For years, White male authors dominated the industry, and many don’t want to give up that power. In 2020, #PublishingPaidMe began trending on social media as writers and editors of color and their White counterparts shared the dollar amount of what publishers paid them. In response, publishers made various statements pledging to do better, insisting that "Black Stories Matter," but years later, it's clear that Black writers' voices are still minimized within the writing community. And even if Black writers pass the first hurdle of publishing their work, racist book bans prevent students from reading their writing and, in some cases, libraries and bookstores from carrying them. White writers who think it's too hard for them to find opportunities should take a walk in a Black writer's shoes.

According to The New York Times, "Author diversity at major publishing houses has increased in recent years, but white writers still dominate. Non-Hispanic white people account for 60 percent of the U.S. population; in 2018, they wrote 89 percent of the books in our sample." Despite the recent efforts toward diversifying the industry, the publishing industry has much further to go before it can succeed in providing equitable opportunities to Black and marginalized communities. And we're nowhere near the point where Black voices are overshadowing…

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Allison Wiltz
Momentum

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola