Racial Equity In Literary Representation.

Racial Equity In Literary Representation.

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Ezekiel Walker started this petition to CEO of Barnes and Noble James Daunt and

Since the tragic loss of George Floyd, many black people have been inundated by our white co-workers, friends, and associates asking us to instruct them on how to help end racism. While we can all agree it's a multi-layered and systemic issue, we all have a part to play in bringing forth the change we desperately seek. 

During this time of individual and corporate accountability, it is imperative for our literature to be distributed which can provide our country with a thorough collection of black history, which is American history. Using our books as an educational tool, black authors can assist our country in confronting its ills while also being instructive and enlightening. 

For decades in many large bookstore chains, such as Barnes and Noble, the entirety of black existence has been confined to a single book shelf or two, displaying credible but carefully selected black authors. Meanwhile the rest of the establishment overflows with various book genres which cater to white audiences and are largely written by white authors.

It is those authors who become bestsellers, acclaimed experts, and are provided platforms to speak with gravitas and authority. Meanwhile many reputable, well-researched, and credentialed black authors have been relegated to the status of "self published" which allows us to publish our works but without marketing efforts, advanced praise, book tours, lecture circuits, industry interviews, panel discussions, etc., resulting in most Americans never end up reading our works or even knowing they exist.

Sadly, many of our dreams end the very moment we reach out to literary agencies or editors who wholly reject our work as "niche, cultural, or unmarketable." What's worse is many a time the very subjects we've written about are dismissed by the gatekeepers yet accepted from white authors who detail their own fragility.

By squeezing our entire history into a single shelf or two, you participate in the silence of our voices. By facilitating a culture that only welcomes a few of us in at a time, you participate in the silence of our voices. By highlighting white authors to discuss racism while simultaneously barring those affected most by their research, you participate in the silencing of our voices.

Americans en masse have begged to be educated and we are here to teach.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!