Thanks for the response. My website is here:
It's mostly an academic website, but if you click on "Research Projects" there's a pretty cool project on there that I've been working on charting African American little magazines from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the Black Arts Movement, and looking at trends in African American author inclusion in the Norton Anthology of American Literature, and seeing what the correlations are. Preliminary results seem to suggest African Americans make the most inroads when they start to publish themselves. So my interest in the exclusion (actually, as opposed to inclusion) of black authors is something I'm pretty actively engaged in on an academic level.
Lately the trend has actually been to highlight more African authors than African American authors because they're seen as "more appealing." The voices of African authors are vital and important, no doubt about that, but this kind of attitude of "more appealing black person" is vulgar and oppressive. And it's not even my language -- this comes straight from a 2014 New York Times article:
"Some professionals in the book world say that too many literary publishers would rather put out work by writers from Africa than work by African-Americans because in the current climate the Africans are considered more appealing for what is seen as a “black slot.”
Publishers, not surprisingly, tend to disagree with the idea that African-American writers are being overlooked now. “Hogwash,” said Robin Desser, vice president and editorial director at Alfred A. Knopf and Ms. Adichie’s editor. “When the next Toni Morrison comes around I can say that publishers will go crazy.”
There's actually a "black slot!" Not that this really surprises any of us, I mean we all knew it already, but then there it is in the New York Times! And then that quote about the "next Toni Morrison!" Really? Someone actually went on record saying something that tone-deaf? Naw, Robin, I'm not the next Toni Morrison, all due respect to a great lady, but I can't be her. I can only be my own unique black self, and I can only write the world the way I see it. White people are allowed to do that. But if you're black you have to be "the next Toni Morrison" -- whatever that means. Damn. Anyway, sorry for the tirade, but I had agents and publishers shutting the door in my face all day every day, and I went ahead and published my own work my own damn self, and it's good to see the work validated.