For people that pledge $50 and up on my Patreon, I send cards to them every month. I bought these cute library of congress cards because Books! and Cute! And Libraries!
Of the 30 cards, 8 were women. Of those women 1 is a writer of color, specifically Zora Neale Hurston who is Black. Of the 22 dude writers, Ralph Ellison is the only writer of color and he is also Black.
This bothers me for a bunch of reasons. One, in a stack of cards that are supposed to be selections of great an influential works, women are less than a third of the considered creators and Black people are given two measly cards. They are also the only non-white experience included. DH Lawrence made this list. DH LAWRENCE. Lady Chatterly’s Lover is a perfectly fine book but why is he in here?
This stack reflects chronic racism that exists in the literary world. White Supremacy runs on the idea that white artists and thinkers are the only people who have contributed anything to our culture. This is not even remotely true, but when we think of great books it’s a sea of white people, specifically white cis men.
This also displays the American idea of diversity. We tend to see race as Black and White and if Black people in some capacity are included, we have reached diversity. First Nation, Asian, Latinx, and Middle Eastern authors are completely annexed from literature unless they are tokenized or feed into the white concept of good literature. And even within that scope, writers from Columbia and writers from Argentina will have different experiences and we clump them into being all the same. This is deeply rooted. We get this from schools, summer reading, library displays, and bestselling book lists. White Supremacy is the big conspiracy that people keep missing. It’s institutionalized, even in these cute, adorable cards that I bought.
I’d love to start a book recommendation list for anyone looking to branch out. The best way to fight white supremacy is to buy, read, and consider perspectives bigger and richer than the plights of the classic white man. Comment some suggestions!