Sunday, March 8, 2009

Should bookstores have a section for African American fiction?

One of the blogs I subscribe to is "White Readers Meet Black Authors." It's part of a movement to get white people to read black authors. Many folks expect all books written by black to be of a certain genre, something they can't relate to. Sure, they read Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, and an occasional Terry McMillan, but do they even know Pearl Cleage, Bernice McFadden, Tananarive Due? The movement has suggested giving your child's teacher a "black" book for Christmas. We have great authors of literary fiction as well as of every genre you can name. But we often get overlooked.

A while back I went into the local Barnes & Noble, looking for something to read, hubster went over to the sci-fi section and I went looking for "African-American Authors" and couldn't find it. When I inquired, I was told they didn't segregate our books anymore. That was mighty white of them, but it certainly makes it hard for me to buy the authors that get overlooked by the majority population. Sure I can find the latest Toni Morrison by name, but how would I ever discover Sharon Ewell Foster, except that I met her online.

So here's the poll: Check out this blog and vote, "Should bookstores have a section for African American fiction?"


Claudia said...

Hi Saraphen, I really enjoyed reading your post and your take on the subject. Although I have a different view on black fiction sections, I agree that some really good African-American authors may be overlooked once they are "integrated" with all the other white and ethnic literatures. It's a tough subject! But thanks also for introducing me to Sharon Ewell Foster - who I didn't know about before your post. Do you think you still would have found her books if they were shelved in the Inspiration/Christian fiction section?

saraphen said...

Claudia, your point is well taken. I would never have looked in the Christian fiction section, because I thought I didn't like "Christian fiction." So there's the rub.

Claudia said...

Ah yes! You've got me there. You've got me reconsidering again...!