A few weeks ago a certain writer (who shan't be named since he's probably the kind of guy who regularly googles himself) wrote an article for Vice that listed 17 books he had given up on reading this year. I noticed in his list that every book was by a very specific author set: all men, and all white. Being the stinker I am I decided to leave a comment. "So the lesson here is stop trying to read books by white guys."
It was a joke. But it hinted at a bigger problem. I can't sit here and list to you every way the publishing industry, critics and readers have discriminated, consciously and unconsciously, against writers who are women and POC. It's a long history fraught with blood, tears and heavy sighs. But you should know it's not all history--it's still happening. "White guy" writers are more read, featured, reviewed, published, recognized and rewarded.
Don't believe me? Here are some numbers.
So. Part of the problem is exposure. It's not that there's some weird gigantic lack of writers out there who aren't white men. Pretty sure not everyone on earth is Jonathan Franzen (although what a terrifying idea for a scifi novel). There's just a gigantic lack of exposure and recognition for writers who aren't.
I can't change what you read. But I can change what I read. And more importantly, what I cover on this blog.
So in 2014 my reading "challenge" is simply...to not read stuff by white guys.
More specifically, to not read stuff by straight, cisgendered white guys. Hardly seems like a challenge. I've got quite a large ocean of literature to pick from. The hardest part will be dealing with any flack from dudebros I may get. Like some of the feedback I got for my joke on the Vice article. White guys, including the author, did not like my joke! Who'da thunk!
I will add one asterisk to my goal. *If by the grace of the old gods and the new George R.R. Martin finishes writing and publishes The Winds of Winter before the end of 2014, I shall be reading that shit.
But otherwise, MISANDRY, AWAY!!!