When I was first outlining this piece, I was disappointed and concerned to find that it was pretty difficult to find blogs made by black writers via search results alone. If you simply look for "writing blogs" or "book blogs," you get a plethora of results - and nearly all of the top-ranked ones are run by white writers.
This search-engine conundrum is a common issue that has been brought to the online world's attention recently. It is a well-known fact that, contrary to their goals of neutrality, search engines are biased in a variety of ways. Racial bias in this arena, as in so many others, can be either overt or subtle.
Based on my experiences searching for black reading and writing blogs to follow, the difficulty in simply finding those blogs in the first place is both of these things at once. It's also quite possible that my own underlying biases or ignorance are what prevented me from finding relevant content.
The writing and blogging world is one of the most segregated you can find. It's largely the responsibility of white writers, bloggers, and content readers to remedy this situation by actively seeking out the work of artists who are systemically overlooked. Over time, this can have a big impact on the way their pages and work are ranked online - plus, you get to look at some amazing content that has been kept from you by the wiles of data-dipsh*ttery such as the aforementioned discrimination (and yes, data-dipsh*ttery is now a term).
To make things easier for my fellow writers looking for black writing and reading blogs to follow, I've compiled a list to get you started.
Adrienne Maree Brown
I was lucky enough to come across this incredible author and blogger when I read her book Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good.
Her personal philosophy is resonant and extremely powerful - I call it "uplifting with an edge." In a biased, discriminatory, and often downright violent world, the simple act of daring to feel good and pursue life-affirming fulfillment with wild abandon is a radically political choice.
Her blog is a journey, as is her Fantastic Life page. Her work on every front is an eye-opening and deeply revelatory experience for privileged people, though we should remember our place within Miss Brown's paradigm largely as supporters, amplifiers, and ponderers.
R. Eric Thomas
As an established playwright, author, and column-writer for Elle magazine, this powerhouse of an artist is already well-known in many circles. The author's recent book, Here For It, is both hilarious and poignant.
R. Thomas's many experiences as an "outsider looking in" will be relatable to all sorts of writers, most especially those in
minority groups, but also to those who have had to struggle in any way to embrace their identities, art, and personal philosophies in an admittedly rather crazy world.
His Wordpress site includes a list of his pieces conveniently divided into categories such as politics, commentary, and publications which have featured him. I haven't read a single one I haven't thoroughly enjoyed (despite the fact that when it comes to popular media, I live under a very heavy and oblivious rock). With his unique voice and engaging wit, I'm definitely Here For everything this guy represents.
Well-Read Black Girl
When readers read, they're often looking for themselves in the characters and narratives of the stories they're experiencing. White and otherwise privileged readers take this self-recognition for granted - it's easy to see ourselves reflected in work that is largely targeted at (and marketed for) us.
Black and other minority readers - be they gender non-conforming, queer, disabled, or anything else outside of the decided norm - often lack this inherently affirming experience.
Enter the Well-Read Black Girl journal and its wider mission to enhance and support the voices, experiences, and views of underrepresented writers in the literary world. This online book-club is a goldmine of book recommendations, event info, and resources for anyone who is a minority writer or who wants to support and learn from them.
The founder of the site, Glory Edim, published an inspiring and diverse collection of essays by black women writers covering the importance and joy of finding themselves in literature. This book goes by the same name as the site, and I highly recommend it.
Black & Bookish
Beginning with the founder's journey to read only black-authored books for an entire year, this site is a monument to the beauty, value, and insight provided to the writing world by black artists.
The writing section has a wealth of great advice and recommendations for anyone entering the writing and editing world - especially those who want to make diversity and activism a part of their work.
Her list of Black Literary Organizations is invaluable for those looking for support within the realm of black wordsmiths, and for those who, like me, are attempting to grow their awareness of black and other minority-run organizations within the writing world.
This site is a great place to start when looking for writers, editors, and books to follow for a more inclusive worldview.
Here Wee Read
If you are a parent, or if you have nieces, nephews, cousins, or otherwise important human seedlings in your life, you know the importance of books and stories to the blossoming selfhood and perspectives of kids.
It has long been acknowledged that minority stories, especially those featuring kids of color, are difficult to find. Mom and literary enthusiast Charnaie has set out to remedy this problem and bring diverse children's books to the fore.
Her blog is full of book recommendations that will inspire, educate, and spark passion in children of all backgrounds. Her collaborations with diverse authors are also an important form of activism and are extremely valuable to the promotion and support of minority children's authors.
As readers, writers, editors, and generally voracious members of the wordsmith community, we have a lot more power and influence than we realize. Today's online world is built upon the written word - from blogs to clickbait to ad copy, we run this sh*t.
It is, therefore, important that we make sure the aforementioned running of this sh*t is an inclusive and diverse experience. The greater the array of voices speaking through literature and other written content, the more engaging, inspiring, and powerful our experiences become.
If you have any black or other minority-authored books, blogs, and general word wizardry to recommend, please share them in the comments section! Until next time, my loyal flock!