“Race and Publishing”
True Story: Two months ago, I submitted a book proposal and a few sample chapters to a publisher, which I will leave unnamed; I also attached my c.v., as required.
The (Senior) acquisitions editor emailed me to acknowledge the receipt of the proposal. A week after, he followed up with me with a phone call. In the conversation, he began to articulate felicitous words towards me about my prolific writing and academic credentials.
To paraphrase him, he said to me, “As I was browsing through your numerous publications, I have noticed that you are not an “angry black man” like other “African American male writers.”
I was utterly shocked and couldn’t find the appropriate words to frame my feeling at the moment. (Those of you who know me know that I am not a confrontational person; I express myself better in writing…)
Two weeks after that “racially-insensitive conversation” occurred, I received the book contract in the mail from the publisher. I decided not to publish my work with this particular publisher and collaborate with this particular acquisitions editor.
I will not let anyone degrade me or undermine my human dignity for the sake of publishing and academic influence or reputation.