In late January, the race issue caused an eruption in the Romance Writers of America (RWA). After her criticism of a racially insensitive piece written by a white member, Courtney Milan, was suspended from the RWA. This is where everything fell apart. In retaliation, hordes of members resign and voiced their displeasure about Milan’s suspension. But why is this a big deal?
Image via Milan’s Twitter
Well, the RWA, a writing association of over 9000 members, was created to fight the oppression and exclusion brought on to them by male writers, is turning around and doing the exact same thing to their authors of color. Milan’s situation brought a lot about the association to light: the unfair and racist treatment faced by writers of color. In her own research, Christine Larson found that authors of color receive 38% of what white authors made in 2014. That’s not 38% less; writers of colors on made 38% of what white writers made that year. And in addition to the abundance of racist comments these writers get from editors at romance conferences, the authors of color in the RWA are severely outnumbered. Of the 97% of female writers in the RWA, only 14% are writers of color.
Images via Library Journal
These issues can be seen in almost every workforce. It’s not something new, and it’s not a trend. Almost every field is dominated by white voices that don’t understand what people of color create and can’t cope with the fact that they exist in that space. It’s the never-ending struggle for genuine diversity; real diversity, not “one-of each” diversity we see in colleges and office board rooms. This is not just a Hollywood problem; this is not just a business world problem; this is a problem everywhere, for everyone.
Feature Image via RWA.
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