Podcast: Episode 3 On the term “marginalized people”

SIGH. This episode is rough, you guys. I had to record it in chunks and my editing skills are still not the greatest. But I wanted to stick to my editorial schedule as closely as possible. So here is: warts and all.

Show Notes

  • Hello and Happy New Year! My name is Léonicka and this is my podcast.
  • In my last episode, I talked about having a fallow period in my career where I would slow down and focus on learning and taking new experiences in.
  • That was a noble experiment but it didn’t last long! By November I was flying to Vancouver to be the keynote speaker at MagsWest. This month I looked at my calendar and it’s jam-packed with events (including a panel at AWP!) until the end of June.
  • I honestly don’t even know how it all crept up on me.
  • That said I am still sticking with the commitments I made back in October:
    • I’m treating reading as my favorite hobby again and therefore have already read 6 books in in January.
    • I just read Lilly Singh’s book and loved it! If you want a copy for yourself (hell, yeah you do!) check out her site: http://www.lillysinghbook.com/
    • I’m becoming more focused about what skills I want to learn within the context of my job and creating action plans to learn and develop them.
    • And though I haven’t mastered the art of spontaneitiy, I’ve learned to schedule fun into my calendar! I spent Christmas in New York City, saw Hamilton as planned and The Color Purple on a whim. I even started trying different dance classes in the new year!
    • But above all, I’m still listening and still snagging the opportunities as they arise.
  • Three Word Writing Prompt:
    • Feel free to write your mini story in the comments, or if you write and post a longer piece, send me the link to share!
      • pretzel
      • dragon
      • plague
  • Today’s Topic:
    • Jeanette of Better Than The Movie really hates the phrase “marginalized writers.”
    • She explained her reasoning in a Twitter thread
    • She says “I’m in no one’s margin. Am no one’s footnote. Those who get me center me. Those who I get, I center.”
    • This made me pause because I use that term a lot. I use it because I am looking for the broadest possible phrase to describe the people I serve.
    • The word diverse is inadequate; people of color ignores other types of identities; non-white is out of the question (I am not a “non” anything) and still leaves out identities;
    • What I’m really trying to do is describe all the people who are left out…. by white people without naming white people.
    • “Marginalized writers” is peak passive voice. MARGINALIZED BY WHOM???!!!
    • So here i am defining an entire group by what has been done to them by “the oppressor” thereby making their relationship to the oppressor the core aspect of the identity.
    • Brit Bennet spoke to Brittany and Eric of For Colored Nerds about this
    • SO. Marginalized writers was a useful shorthand. But perhaps a shorthand is not the way to go.
    • Probably best to be specific about who i mean.
      • because not all of the issues are the same. not all the representation is the same. or needs are the same
      • trying to create a catch obscures the very goal: too recognize that our culture is made up of a vast number of peoples each with unique and valuable stories to share, and that we are doing a disservice to the industry, the art form, and to the bottom line when we ignore the majority to focus on the privileged few.
    • My next step is to figure out how to remove this language from my vernacular moving forward. I want to avoid using it on the blog and in my tweets (if you see me use it, remind me to do better!) and I want to make sure I am more precise about who exactly I mean when discussing a topic in my speaking engagements.
    • I’m curious to hear what language you use when discuss diversity and inclusion in publishing, and why. Leave a comment on the blog or tweet me @leonicka
  • Featured Writer:
    • In the previous episode I told you about my friend Sabrina Medora and her awesome IG, FoodFictionProject. If you haven’t followed her already: FIX YOUR LIFE! Since I last talked about her she’s started a column on Chicago Now called Behind Chicago Food where she gets into the minds and hearts of Chicago’s most respected chefs. I’ll put the link in the shownotes. You’ll definitely want to subscribe.
    • For this month I want to talk about one of my favorite writers, Zetta Elliott. I met Zetta years ago and love her children’s books. But what I love most is that so much of her work is self-published. Zetta now has an agent and a traditional book deal but her vision seems focused on her audience of young readers. And if publishing her books on her own is the best way to get much needed books in thier little black and brown hands, Zetta won’t hesitate to do so.
    • One of her newer releases is Milo’s Museum, about a young child who realises she and community aren’t part of her local museum and decides to create her own to represent them.
    • The illustrations are great and the text is simple and accessible, without talking down to children.
    • I particularly love Milo’s agency and her elegant solution. “Make your own space is a  fantastic response when feeling excluded and Milo’s entire neighborhood supported the effort because it was for and about them.
    • Check out Milo’s Museum and Zetta’s other books at http://www.zettaelliott.com/books/kids/
    That’s all for today folks! For more content subscribe to my newsletter at www.leonicka.com
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    And share your favorite books, news and resources using the hashtag #DiverseCanLit

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