Eve./Wkend Panel – Can of Worms Open

I originally posted this in the comment section of today’s earlier BEA Pout-A-Thon panel. I’ve decided to make it, its own post.

I know this may be opening a can of worms, but I’m opening them because, this is after all a panel on diversity.

As Mitali mentioned, when The BBS launched it generated healthy discussion about how to define brown and the issue of exclusion.

Within that discussion, we made it clear that here at The BBS it isn’t about exclusion. But all five members are African American so it was obvious why we were primarily focused on African American authors.

However, we have and continue to be open to embracing uplifting a myriad of brown authors within other initiatives outside of 28 Days Later.

Some feel that dilutes the cause. But I’m of the mind that a rising tide floats all boats. As diversity is discussed, within publishing, is it better for the browns to “unite” or should each brown clan carry their own flag to get recognition in publishing?

What say you? Comment away!!

5 thoughts on “Eve./Wkend Panel – Can of Worms Open

  1. I say let’s unite and I applaud you for opening up. How does inclusion dilute our common goal: to promote and support diversity?

    Thanks Paula and the entire team.

  2. I think we should unite. I think history unites us, while the re-telling of it has caused dissension. I agree very much with Susan’s statement!

  3. I am totally pro a brown unity. I think it’s empowering to get different perspectives from people who share similar histories, or have similar experiences of limited access to resources and opportunities within the same industry. We not only share a specific experience within this business, but we share a love and passion for writing for children and/or teens as well.

    For what it’s worth, I have worked for decades, at various levels (volunteer, staff, board member), with organizations that serve people of color and it has *always* been a positive experience. Nothing is more rewarding than building bridges where there was only distance and emptiness before.


  4. I’ve always thought the more support the better. Some people may think otherwise, but as the demographics continue to change in the US, there’s going to be more brown–or specifically more shades of brown–not just African-American. While there may be specific needs/objectives for different ethnicities, I don’t believe supporting diversity as a whole takes anything away from one group.

  5. Although I’m pro-all brown, one of the arguments I’ve heard for being “anti” all brown is that it becomes too diverse and those cultural nuances, perhaps lost.

    I’m of the mind, you can have your cake and eat it too. With The Brown Bookshelf we have 28 Days Later, an initiative that will continue to focus on African American. But there are so many other things we can do (and will) where broadening the focus makes sense.

    Greg Neri and I were members of the Class of 2K7 and he approached me asking if I thought the African American lit community would embrace him because he was multi-ethnic. I told him I believed so, but until he asked it never occured to me that they might not.

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