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I asked every person I spoke to for “‘You Will Be Tokenized’: Speaking Out About the State of Diversity in Publishing” what could be done about publishing’s monoculture. I got a range of answers, as I summarized in my introduction, from “urge the existing publishing industry to change” to “dismantle capitalism.” The most practical answer is likely somewhere in the middle—neither a painless change of heart nor a truly radical overhaul. Models for change already...
“We’ve been out here working,” writer Syreeta McFadden tells Brooklyn Magazine, and she’s right. Who gets to tell a story (as well as how and to whom) has been contested in the United States since before its founding. (See: The controversy-strewn publishing history of Phillis Wheatley, our country’s first black and second female published author.) This conversation’s roots are centuries deep and impossibly broad and this is a good thing: It’s a very important subject....
For many in the book world, the release of publisher Lee & Low’s first ever diversity in publishing survey in January 2016 offered no surprises. Publishing is overwhelmingly white (79 percent), straight (88 percent), able bodied (92 percent), and female (78 percent). In high school my friend Herbert would call these women, of whose ranks I am now a member, the white girl mafia. It was not a compliment. Unmeasured in the survey is class, but...

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