Thursday, March 1, 2012

Writing While Black…Oh No she Didn’t

With nervous anticipation I awaited the final proofread of Single, Black, and Government Owned. Though I had already received great comments from the first two editors my nerves were all over the place for this one as well. Why? Because I am sharing myself with the world. It’s a writer’s thing. As Erikah Badu once said, “I am an artist and I am sensitive about my sh**!”

The first comment I read had me smiling from ear to ear, “Excellent story and well written.” The next wiped the smile away, “As a black author I wasn’t expecting such a great read.” Oh she put me in a bad head space. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Then as I read on she explained herself. She went to a majority black school and the black students there used a lot of “lingo” as she called it. Then, she stated that she understands I am with a black press. WTH?? So not only does she not know who she is working for (Passionate Writer Publishing has majority Caucasian authors) but her only representation of being black are the people she went to high school with. So in no other time has she come across anyone else? 

Her comment stung me just as hard as when my college English Professor gave me a C on a paper. When I questioned her she explained, “I gave you a C and a C is fine.” She gave? Even on a grading scale a C isn’t fine its average and I have never been average. I knew she hadn’t read it so I took the paper another professor who also happened to be my track coach. He was one of the most feared professors at the school. When he handed me my paper back I felt it had been to war, but there was a shining A- on it. He said it was the lowest he could give it because it was an exceptionally written paper. Then, he proceeded to contact my professor to see why I was ‘given’ a C. In the end my grade was changed. But, the grade was given to me because she thought she was actually helping out a black student. I guess me actually attending her class all the time wasn’t enough hint to her that I wasn’t there to jack around. 

Now back to this editor. This isn’t the first time I have read or been subjected to such ignorance but I am not giving you a pass this time. Let me erase this stigma for you and others who think like you. Writing While Black does not mean I am an Urban Fiction Author and writing Urban Fiction does not mean you are a bad writer either. Not only is my black beautiful but it is educated as well. My education began well before I walked the campus of Indiana State University and received my BA in Criminology with a double Major in English, but it started at home. I was raised reading amazing authors which spanned many cultural levels to include these black authors Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, Walter Mosley, Malcolm X Biography, Terry McMillian, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and I could go on but you get my point. None of these are Urban Fiction Authors. 

Even if a person has never read a book by a black other some common sense should still factor in. We have a Black President, there’s Oprah, Condoleeza Rice, Thurgood Marshal, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman several congressmen and women, news anchors, and so on of which I have yet to hear use “lingo” in their normal conversations. Get out your bubble. Not all black people are undereducated we just have to work harder to prove it. 

Oh and a company that happens to have a few black authors does not make it a black press either. And in case you are wondering….yes I did make a complaint which they were shocked and appalled to see. Glad you did enjoy my manuscript though. 

Prying my fingers off the keyboard and walking away….

Omegia Keeys

No comments:

Post a Comment