Concerns about being a "White" writer

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mccardey

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Crikey. Just catching up on this thread. Seemed to go from fuckery to comic genius pretty quick.

Also, it’s been educational: I now know why my queries all get bounced by agents — they don’t want another white dude’s story, eh. I’ll take my genius elsewhere
I think white male writers are not in any immediate danger.... ;)
 

Harlequin

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in theory I'm all for folks writing far outside their own perspective (and I don't mean including marginalised characters, but telling stories of their marginalisations) but it's so often done badly that it makes me wary in practice.

books featuring autistic characters by self-described NT authors are often cringe, sorry. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is kind of a classic example there.

Recently finished reading a "thoroughly" researched book about a Chinese exorcist girl in 1890s Shanghai and one of the characters was called Bok Choi.
 

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Imma go eat salad now..
 

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Riddle me this:

The Wild birds have wholly munted the endive and silverbeet.

They have damaged but not destroyed the cauliflower and broccoli.

And they apparently have zero interest in mustard greens and kale.

Why?!!?!?!
 

Albedo

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in theory I'm all for folks writing far outside their own perspective (and I don't mean including marginalised characters, but telling stories of their marginalisations) but it's so often done badly that it makes me wary in practice.

books featuring autistic characters by self-described NT authors are often cringe, sorry. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is kind of a classic example there.

Recently finished reading a "thoroughly" researched book about a Chinese exorcist girl in 1890s Shanghai and one of the characters was called Bok Choi.
Haha and I thought Cho Chang was on the nose. I don't know what's most egregious: naming a non-White character after food, or naming a character from Shanghai after a food *in Cantonese*.
 
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ryubyss

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I think white male writers are not in any immediate danger.... ;)
Not "danger", no, but if two equally promising manuscripts cross an editor's desk, one by a black or Asian or hispanic writer (as indicated by their names and their thumbnail bios) and one by a white writer, the white writer will have a disadvantage. because the majority of editors don't specifically look for work by white writers and as far as the other categories, they will.
 

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Not "danger", no, but if two equally promising manuscripts cross an editor's desk, one by a black or Asian or hispanic writer (as indicated by their names and their thumbnail bios) and one by a white writer, the white writer will have a disadvantage. because the majority of editors don't specifically look for work by white writers and as far as the other categories, they will.
Gosh. Do you, erm, have any evidence of this? Which editors in particular?
 

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Catching up on this thread, and at some point it appears to have turned into a game of tell me you're a middle aged white man without telling me you're a middle aged white man.
and? you have to have a better argument than an ad hominem.
 

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Gosh. Do you, erm, have any evidence of this? Which editors in particular?
the #OwnVoices counts as evidence. if publishers think/know that they put an #OwnVoices hashtag for a book and if they can have a black/Asian/hispanic writer author's photo on the book, that will make the book more appealing to self-identified progressives and therefore, yes, that means tough luck for white writers.

now, I suppose you can respond with, "yes, that happens, but why would you have a problem with that?"
 
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ryubyss

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befrank was offering an opinion, not an argument.
true, befrank did not offer an argument. but they presented an observation as if that constituted an argument, which it did not.

when you construct your worldview according to identity politics then the mere fact that a person belongs to group X makes that person suspect. I think of identity politics as toxic for that very reason... it enables the making of conclusions based on categories rather than people.
 

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Not "danger", no, but if two equally promising manuscripts cross an editor's desk, one by a black or Asian or hispanic writer (as indicated by their names and their thumbnail bios) and one by a white writer, the white writer will have a disadvantage.

No he won't.
 

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true, befrank did not offer an argument. but they presented an observation as if that constituted an argument, which it did not.

when you construct your worldview according to identity politics then the mere fact that a person belongs to group X makes that person suspect. I think of identity politics as toxic for that very reason... it enables the making of conclusions based on categories rather than people.
You're a troll. You didn't introduce yourself. You didn't read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write.
You came straight to thread and tried to stir shit by making racist arguments.
You're not welcome.
 

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Not "danger", no, but if two equally promising manuscripts cross an editor's desk, one by a black or Asian or hispanic writer (as indicated by their names and their thumbnail bios) and one by a white writer, the white writer will have a disadvantage. because the majority of editors don't specifically look for work by white writers and as far as the other categories, they will.
I'm not sure that this would be the case, even with more agents and editors actively seeking authors from diverse backgrounds.

In the end, publishing is a business decision, and agents and editors will pick up a book that they like if they think they can sell it to a market they think is lucrative.

Or to put it another way, expanding the market to appeal to a wider reader demographic doesn't mean there are fewer opportunities for White, male writers. It simply grows the size of the pie, so there are more slices available for more people.

The concepts of expanding one's potential customer base doesn't just apply to soda pop, athletic shoes, or vehicles.
 
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mccardey

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Not "danger", no, but if two equally promising manuscripts cross an editor's desk, one by a black or Asian or hispanic writer (as indicated by their names and their thumbnail bios) and one by a white writer, the white writer will have a disadvantage. because the majority of editors don't specifically look for work by white writers and as far as the other categories, they will.
Isn't it weird how white writers feel cheated by the removal of an unfair privilege that has always been accorded to them by their own whiteness, and outraged when it appears that that privilege is now being accorded to a BIPOC writer? Because - suddenly it's unfair for other people to be disadvantaged like that!

Don't worry, this too shall pass. It will be a long time before anything we could call equity actually becomes part of human society.
 
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Cyia

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I know you were using the words of someone else, but be mindful that midget is considered offensive by little people, regardless of the cause of their stature. It's the N-word of little people.

Maryn, who used to know a little couple
As is "albino."

People can have a condition called albinism, but they are not defined by it. They also aren't all chalk white, nor do they have red eyes the way you see portrayed in most media.

(Went to school with two people diagnosed with albinism.)
 
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ChaseJxyz

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Over in fanfiction twitter, there is currently quite a hullabaloo about a (South Park) fanfic that had the serial numbers filed off and has recently been trade published as a YA novel. The book is breathtakingly racist, it is amazing that this even got published, but it's a South Park fanfic, so it fits with the source material. It's clear that there was no sensitivity reader for any sort of racial or ethnic minority, or if there was, they were all ignored. It's honestly impressive how it turned out.

The writer is white, who would have guessed? If something like this can get published, then no white writer can say "weh no one is going to publish my work because I'm white!" There is still plenty of space for White Nonsense ™ in the publishing world, and I say that as a person who starts to sunburn after 5 minutes.
 

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You are ABSOLUTELY correct, @Ari Meermans -- I went a little Wild West there, in my brain. My sincere apologies! I absolutely should have been paying better attention, and respecting the existing protocols and the Room Mod's wishes.
 
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lizmonster

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There is still plenty of space for White Nonsense ™ in the publishing world, and I say that as a person who starts to sunburn after 5 minutes.

I gotta say (also as a white person), I am so very tired of the "white people can't get published!" BS. Statistically speaking, nobody gets published, ever. You can't shift your book, and your first thought is someone with a different ethnic background is responsible for that? Seriously??

Publishing is absolutely biased toward white authors. The reasons are, I think, more complex than "just" racism - fundamentally, like most entertainment industries, they tend to want to fund things that have made them money in the past. Not that publishing never takes chances - but if you've written something decent that's a lot like what's worked out well for them, that gives you an advantage.

Publishing is misery for most authors. Everyone is overlooked. Nobody gets that agent they're certain is perfect for them. Everybody loses the perfect book deal. If it's happening to you, it's not because you're white.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away