In my previous blog, I lamented the lack of nuance in everyday society.
Here I am blogging about microagressions--the everyday casualness of racism.
Recently, author Rena Barron on Twitter posted a review of her middle grade story in which the reviewer (clearly white) complimented her book as a good read "for children of African descent."
Imagine the following review--"Harry Potter is a great read for children of European descent." This would never occur. Those with power (people of European heritage) have occupied the position of normal and standard human being and have designated themselves race-less and universal. Their stories are for EVERYONE.
The damage of this labeling is that it tells the audience: "this book/story is only for black people." It limits and racializes non-whites, while conditioning people over hundreds of years to accept only whites as relatable. It alienates, pushes out, and justifies not hiring/using non-whites. Non-whites are 'the other" or abnormal. This lends itself to non-white actors always portraying aliens/fantasy creatures, while whites portray average guys or gals.
I am reminded of romantic movies with black casts that are marketed as "urban comedies" versus similar movies with white casts that are "romantic comedies." Consider the policy of putting books written by black authors in the "African American" section.
I am not a black author. I am an author of Black African heritage. My characters are people, who happen to be black. They are human, written to be read by EVERYONE. I am the girl next door, too. I am the standard human being, too. I am normal, too.
As a Speculative Fiction author, I want my books in the SFF section of the bookstore.
I want to be included in the MAIN SHOW, not the sideshow off to the side. I don't want to be subjected to quotas, "limiting" stereotypes and expectations.