At Buzzfeed, Mira Jacob, author of the novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, contends that, contrary to the assumption of mainstream US publishing houses, white readers actually do want to read stories about people of color. Here's an excerpt:
Here is the thing about how discrimination works: No one ever comes right out and says, “We don’t want you.” In the publishing world, they don’t say, “We just don’t want your story.” They say, “We’re not sure you’re relatable” and “You don’t want to exclude anyone with your work.” They say, “We’re not sure who your audience is”...
We are living in a time when what it means to be “other” is shifting dramatically. When my white best friend can and will help me unpack a racially fraught situation. When I can put a piece of a graphic memoir I’m working on now — this little thing about my son’s obsession with Michael Jackson and how it relates to everything from what happened in Ferguson to what happens in my marriage — and it goes viral within an hour. I looked at who was sharing that, and guess what? It wasn’t just the Asian Indians! It was everyone. Because all of us are so ready to talk about the world we live in. We are ready to have a publishing industry that is of that world.
Now, I know there are some of you right now thinking, “Oh my God, lady, I am doing all that I can about this every single day!” I get it. I know who you are, I feel what you are doing. But I also know there are those of you who haven’t done that yet — who maybe understand there’s a huge gap between the many American experiences and the books that speak to them, who cautiously scan the dialogue about this on your Twitter feed but have no idea how to engage with it, or if engaging with it is even your job. So I am telling you: It is your job. Get in here. Be a part of this. You will ignore us at your own peril — to the industry’s peril.