What Made Me Go "All Black?"
In February 2015, I came across Sunili Govinnage’s article outlining how she only read books by people of color for a full year. Around the same time, I stumbled upon the writings of Mia Birdsong, a mother sharing her reasons for not buying any books for her daughter with white protagonist. A week or so ago, Marley Dias started her own book raising campaign, #1000blackgirlbooks, because she was tired of reading about “white boys and their dogs”- and she is 11!
These ideas are seen as very strong assertions, and in all instances, spoke to the larger assumptions on what is mainstream, what is or is not not acceptable, and how our perceptions of the world are shaped by our literary consumption. Some have warned that these acts of intentionality are in fact divisive behavior or close-mindedness. They attempt to find fault in searching for the other, or embracing the minority; as if suggesting a sort of white-writer fasting brings about the idea of a lack thereof. This also shows the radical notion that even the most beloved white literature is not an adequate answer for the only literature people of color read.
I did a tremendous amount of reading in college about art, literature, and even movies-but very little of it was by black authors or creators. I have read thousands of books in my lifetime, but have been under the false impression that books created outside of the mainstream are less relatable or less intellectual. I began searching for authors who have my shared cultural history, and what I found was a whole world of art and literature- I had been missing out.
I didn’t always have the cultural knowledge to understand their significant contributions to our everyday society, and that’s directly attributed to what is taught in school and what society deems as righteous. In February, African-Americans are risen to the top, and celebrated; I believe we can be celebrated year-round, without pushing out other talented artist/creators, including those of white background and other people of color. That is what Black and Bookish is here to show.
The year 2015 brought great awareness to the terrible conditions blacks in America are still experiencing. I mean, black people already knew this; but in 2015, non-people of color seemed to become more aware. As an advocate for social and racial justice, I wanted to lend my voice to the discussion. What started as a way for me to learn more about my own cultural history from those who have actually lived it, this blog morphed into a place to celebrate the lives of our ancestors, revel in the writers of our present, and discuss ways to succeed in our future.
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About the Author
Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to fill your bookshelves with beloved authors of the African Diaspora. When she's not hanging out on line, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.