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Thread: Black Speculative Fiction vs. Black Genre Fiction

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  1. #6
    Yeah okay, women are the weaker sex cool pop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    Well, sure, that had to sting—if having your work considered of "literary merit" is what you're looking for.

    You said, "Recently, I've come across a lot of writers of color in genre fiction piles that I would've killed to have found as a kid." Isn't that more important, that you create works that kids today can identify with and see themselves in, and know they belong?

    meh. Whether something has "literary merit" is a question best answered by the ages, anyway. Work that holds up will hold its own.
    You hit the nail on the head with your response in the second sentence, Ari. As a black female, this is exactly why I write. I write different genres including thrillers and mysteries. I LOVE mystery and suspense. Growing up, I never saw blacks in this genre in movies or books except for maybe the occasional black detective. You never saw blacks in thrillers and mysteries where they were the victims or the protagonist unless they might've been a cop. I wanted thrillers and mysteries that revolved around US. Where blacks, especially black women were the stars of the show. These are the books I write. For example, I am loving the new trend (and I hope it isn't just a trend) of black thrillers like Get Out and Breaking In and The Perfect Guy . We never see blacks in stuff like this. We never see black people being stalked or the object of obsession. We never see blacks in horrors unless they die in the first five minutes. We never see blacks in films like Gabrielle Union's Breaking In where she is the star of the show, fighting the bad guy. The Perfect Guy with Sanaa Lathan is another example of how we don't see blacks in these types of roles much but it's changing. These days there are many popular blacks authors in mystery and thrillers writing books for an audience that never got a chance to have these books.

    As a black child, I rarely read books with black people because when I was young most black books were literary stores like The Color Purple and way beyond my comprehension at the time. I was only seven I believe when The Color Purple came out anyway. I was a child in the 80's and teen in the 90's. I loved classics once I got in high school but as a child or preteen I read books like Hardy Boys and The Babysitters Club. Stuff like that. Nothing though that had black people in it. I would've loved to have a Hardy Boys series geared toward a black child back in the day. What's funny about me I guess is at the time, I didn't even think about the lack of diversity because I was young and because I was so used to only seeing white people everywhere. Then I grew up and realized the lack of genre fiction there was for black women and it was so disheartening when I decided to pursue writing and realize the racism and discrimination that goes on in publishing. I felt guilty that all those years, I hadn't realized that only reading about whites in school, out of school, anywhere meant I and people like me weren't represented. So when I started writing, I made a vow to do that. I believe that if you can't find something, you need to create it and if I don't create stories for black women, who will? That's how I look at it.

    Now, it's a new day and we owe that to self-publishing and small presses. Let's be honest. If we left it up to the big houses (with their pitiful effort at diversity) we'd still be stuck in the same rut, no books available for minority children to relate to.

    Because I know others felt like I did and wanted these types of books, I write them. I write stories I want to read for people who like what I like. For black women who want to see themselves as different characters and not just as the same old stereotypes.

    As a writer, that's so important to me. I write to bring more diversity and to make sure we have as many books we can for minorities to enjoy. It gets overlooked how important it is for minority children to have books that reflect them. It is. It tells them they are important and that they are more than a color or race. Books are also a great way to learn about diversity.

    That is the most important thing, putting out books for those who need them. To me, above all else that's important and the bigger picture.
    Last edited by cool pop; 10-25-2018 at 11:40 PM.

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