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New post about the African-American fiction section in bookstores - Zer Netmouse — LiveJournal
May 27th, 2010
07:44 pm

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New post about the African-American fiction section in bookstores

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From:supergee
Date:May 28th, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
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I'm ambivalent about Borders' African-American section in general. People looking specifically for that should be able to find it, but aren't Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison just plain literature?
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From:netmouse
Date:May 28th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
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Well, and for that matter, isn't trashy romance that features African-Americans just trashy romance...

I can't stand how big the Romance sections of bookstores have gotten in general, but I feel those books should at least be confined to those sections so that people who wish to avoid looking at them _can_.

On the section in general, I've read arguments both ways. It would be nice if bookstores that want an African-American section would dual-shelve those books, both in that section and in standard lit, or whatever. But they don't.
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From:supergee
Date:May 28th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
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If I were an African-American fan of trashy romance, I would want the kind with characters I could idnetify with. I am old enough to remember when that option was not available.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 28th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
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sure. And I'm very glad a variety exists in every genre now, and is increasing. But I don't have a problem identifying with African-American characters because I'm a white person, and exposure to more of that literature helps me identify more. Isolating that literature in a ghetto of the stores and libraries lowers the odds that I will see them and that I and other people like me will demonstrate to publishers that there *is* an audience and market for books with African-American characters amid a non-african-american reading population. Until they start shelving those books with the rest of the genre, they have a self-fulfilling prophecy that books with African-Americans on the cover will not sell as well as otherwise, because they don't market them as widely. So those books are harder to sell to publishers. So there are fewer of them published than should be (and many book covers are white-washed). If there weren't pressure to white-wash covers, and there weren't this story that books with black people on the covers can only be marketed to fellow black people, more would be published and African-Americans would have an easier time finding books with characters they can most easily identify with as well. But, I believe, in a much more healthy way and context.
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From:supergee
Date:May 28th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
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All I meant to say was that I'm glad that such books are now published. I am much less concerned with where the store puts them.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 28th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Another thought: should you consider the hypothetical preferences of another version of yourself as being a stronger argument than the stated preferences of these real, active african-american authors?
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