What did you see, you ask?
This shit: Another rejection for another novel, another, longer quote from a legendary editor:The characters, especially the main character, just do not seem Asian enough. They act like everyone else. They don’t eat Korean food, they don’t speak Korean, and you have to think about ways to make these characters more ’ethnic,’ more different. We get too much of the minutiae of [the characters’] lives and none of the details that separate Koreans and Korean-Americans from the rest of us. For example, in the scene when she looks into the mirror, you don’t show how she sees her slanted eyes, or how she thinks of her Asianness.Huh? Now, this is from an article written by author Leonard Chang. Not only is Chang an author, he's a TV writer for a show you may have seen, Justified. And here's his cred:
was born in New York City and studied philosophy at Dartmouth College and Harvard University. He received his MFA from the University of California at Irvine, and is the author of four previous novels: The Fruit 'N Food, Dispatches from the Cold, Over the Shoulder, and Underkill. He was recently the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College and is on the faculty at Antioch University's MFA Program in Los Angeles. His short stories have been published in literary journals such as Prairie Schooner and Confluence. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.Yet, some editor question the Asian-ness of his characters. This hit home for me because I had a white man question the blackness of my characters in Deadly Rumors.
These publishing gatekeepers or creepers —as I've started thinking of them —have me with a lot of questions.
1. Do you know anyone who isn't white?
2. How did you become an editor without reading something other that the white bread trash that has shaped your life?
3. Did you take any history classes at your high school other than American History with books that were written pre-Civil Rights movement?
4. Do you only learn about POC from movies and do you ask white authors to make their characters more white?
And while I'm on the subject of white authors and their characters, who are the flipping editors who thought a black woman would compare her complexion to a cockroach? Who are the editors who thought a black woman would think that she wasn't good enough for a rich white man because her mother was an addict? And who is the gotdamned editor who thought it was OK to write about finding a black baby in a trashcan?
These editors must talk to each other while watching episodes of Good Times and Fresh Off The Boat to determine what characters of color should be like in literature. Miss me with your bullshit.
It's time for us, the marginalized writers of the world, to take back our voice and tell our stories any fucking way we want. We are no longer going to write your stereotypical bullshit and the authors who do should be shunned!