So Lev Grossman made a list of books he’s looking forward to that are due out in 2012. And at the end of the list, he realized, oops, it’s all white dudes:
This completes our survey of 2012 books written by white men. I don’t know what happened to the diversity there. Sorry. I have my New Year’s resolution now.
So I totally would have missed this if not for this link from The Rumpus fluttering my way. Roxanne Gay points out Grossman’s pointing-out of a lack of diversity, and then rightly points out that pointing-out as stupid and dumb. She goes on to say:
To tell you the truth, I am bored with this conversation. Are you bored? You must be. The conversation doesn’t change because the status quo doesn’t change and clearly, pointing out that these problems exist doesn’t change the status quo. We know what the problem is. Talking about this cultural myopia in publishing (and elsewhere, for that matter) is spitting in the wind. The people who really need to hear the message, they don’t care and they don’t need to care because there’s no (financial) imperative for them to do so.
I want to find a more productive way of approaching these issues. I want to start thinking about how underrepresented writers can better infiltrate the great white, masculine wall of publishing and publicity. I don’t know how to make this happen but I do know it is going to take far more than pointing at the hulking elephant.
I don’t want to be silent about issues that concern me because all too often, silence implies consent, but I also want to feel like we’re moving forward and making some kind of difference. Perhaps I want too much but that’s nothing new. I’m going to spend 2012 trying to figure out a better way to talk about these issues.
Now, honestly, I think talking about these things is important, because there are people who haven’t heard these things, and won’t hear these things unless we talk about them. However, I do agree with the underlying point: talk is insufficient. Forward motion is needed. How exactly to go about moving forward and really fixing this shit? Well, I don’t really know. I hope someone can figure that out.
I think the key part of Lev Grossman's post is that he points out not only that they are all white men, but also that he intends to go find stuff that breaks that mold. Finding the people who are being excluded seems to me to be a great step, particularly for someone that can give publicity to those people.
I just feel like it would have been better that he take a few moments to find another book or two by women/PoC to add to the list, rather than shrug and move on. Surely there's at least one he's interested in? The throwaway comment of "oh whoops" just feels like a pre-emptive dodge to me.