Author and teacher Aimee Phan
joins Jian to explain how she believes mainstream media, publishers and reviewers are failing writers of colour. Phan argues that certain voices and vantage points are being systematically pushed out of the cultural conversation.
Phan notes that work by writers of colour is, by and large, ignored by mainstream reviewers and critics -- and she cites some pretty startling numbers to back up her claim.
For instance, between 2011 and 2012, just over 10 per cent
of the books reviewed by the New York Times were by people of colour.
"The editors are the curators, they're the ones telling the readers what to read and right now writers of colour aren't making that list," Phan explains. "These books will actually do wonders if you read them to clear up the misconceptions and give you a fuller, more vibrant picture of a community you may have dismissed before."
She also argues that political correctness and a hesitation to talk about race contribute to the bottleneck. Moreover, writers of certain backgrounds are often expected to write about their own communities, but are simultaneously told that their stories do not have mainstream appeal.We're curious:
Of the three books you've read most recently, how many were by authors
of colour? Were those three writing through the lens of their own
cultural experiences? Did you expect them to? Why or why not?