Sunday, April 29, 2007

Making Waves

I just left the Romantic Times Convention, where I suppose I saw about two thousand white female readers and published authors, and sizeable number of males(including the Mr. Romance contestants--biceps on display) and perhaps fifty African American sistahs, maybe a few more. On the Saturday, several hundred published authors sat in alphabetical order at long tables signing their books. Along with every one else, the sistahs came through, visiting with authors and buying their books. It amazed me the number of black women won spent so much time talking with white authors and buying their books and ignoring black authors. I signed my share of books for both black and white women, but I've been published for twelve years and have over thrity fiction titles to my credit. It pained me to see some good writers sitting with a stack of books in front of them while a sistah bought a book from the white writer on either side of her. It blew my mind.
Of course, I believe in freedom of just about everything that's legal, and people have a right to spend their money as they please. I do. Still, I've seen that behavior every time I participate in that kind of book fair. Maybe it wouldn't bother me if the white readers didn't treat most black writers as if they were a part of the decoration. I confess I hadn't attended that particular annual convention in eight years and that I went only to receive an award for career achievement.
I read books without regard to the color or gender of the writer ( I buy selectively), althought my prejudices won't let me buy a book written by a reactionary Republican. O. K., the title of this piece is "Making Waves," so what did you expect? Gwynne Forster