I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my computer and tried to write this post. Some days I just stared at the screen, other days I just let all of my emotions out into a garble mess.
Not to mention that with each passing day, the revelation of covert and overt racism amongst the book community kept piling up.
So I’ve decided to just come out with it!
First: Black Lives Have Always Mattered! It’s something I think needs to be said over and over again, so people go beyond the current trend and realize it isn’t just a slogan. And to also understand that this is what we have been shouting from the proverbial mountaintops, for centuries, for the exact same reason some of you have now chosen to stand in solidarity.
How much will you charge for your allyship? How much will it cost black people to have your support?– Jesse, Bowties and Books
As a fellow book community member, Jesse from Bowties and Books stated, we can’t afford for our deaths to be the catalyst to change. We are literally sacrificial lambs continuously brought to the slaughter.
Realize this, my blog discusses three aspects of life. Food, Travel and Books. And in each sphere I have experienced overt racism, countless microaggressions and prejudice.
I’ve eaten at restaurants where either my friends and/or family and I were literally the only Black people present. Fellow patrons side eyed us, whispered amongst themselves or we were moved to a separate room because “no where else had space.”
I have also traveled to beautiful countries and cities and have been once again, side-eyed, whispered about, or just straight up harassed. In fact, during my trip to Rome, my friends and I visited a shopping market. And every store we went into, each shopkeeper kept an eye on me and followed me around. In fact, in one store maybe five minutes after walking in, two security guards walked in and followed me literally everywhere. If I touched or looked at a product they’d ask me if I planned on purchasing it, or if it was a tester. As if browsing around a store was a crime. Finally, I’d had enough and told my friends I would wait for them outside. And that’s where I’m going to end this particular story. Though more happened.
And finally, I have read books by white authors that were so unbelievably racially charged that I couldn’t fathom how it made it so far in the process. And then I realize, publishing is still a predominantly white industry. So of course shit like “. . . saving the world, one African baby at a time” from a white author, in a white industry made it all the way to the final product and then sold.
Do you understand how dehumanizing that is?
Next: FUCK and I cannot express this enough, Book Outlet. The asinine response to a black creator’s genuine concern, regarding their Vlogger Friends was shit!
Diversity cannot be important to you ever, if you believe “family-friendly” and being black do not go together. They have completely lost a customer in me. And it’s unfortunate because I used to rave and recommend this company to my non-reader friends. I’ve spent money buying gifts for family members and friends alike from here. I’ve even promoted them on my bookstagram. But fuck you for saying we’re not family-friendly and that we are apparently the only ones in the world who swear too much. Here’s a bonus FUCK YOU for that.
Finally, I personally feel I have not done enough as a black woman. Have I called out injustices? Sure I have. Have I promoted books from and by Black Authors? Absolutely! But I have been silent on so many things involving the black community including but not limited to:
The Black LGBTQ+ community
The Black Diaspora and the fact that we’re not a monolith
Donating, Signing Petitions and Protesting
There are also a ton of black authors and books that have sat on my TBR list for ages and are constantly getting overlooked. And that’s not okay and I pledge to do better!
So, to all of my new followers here on my blog and on bookstagram, welcome! I hope you stick around. I hope we’re able to engage and converse often. And I hope you understand the sliver of discomfort you may feel right now, pales in comparison to what we have been feeling daily.
Because I am here, we are here with thoughts and opinions and we matter!
As I said in a recent bookstagram post, to my beautiful black people across our gorgeous diaspora, no one gets to decide our worth except us. And we are worth EVERYTHING!