Photo: Few Books by Latinos Reviewed by NYTimes
According to a study recently published in the online cultural magazine, ‘The Rumpus,’ close to 90% of books reviewed by the New York Times in 2011 were written by white writers. Writer Roxanne Gay led the study along with her research assistant finding that of the 742 books reviewed 655 were written by Caucasian writers. Only nine works were written by Hispanic authors. The numbers were also low among other racial backgrounds.
Using research released by Vida, a United States organization which supports women in literary fields which showed a significant difference between male and female authors, Gay decided to delve deeper into the list by focusing on the racial backgrounds of the authors. She stated, “Race often gets lost in the gender conversation as if it’s an issue we’ll get to later.” The original results by Vida showed that of the 742 books, 437 were written by men while only 217 had female authors. Of the nine Hispanic works, eight were written by men while only one by a woman.
The statistics did not come as a surprise to British writer, Malorie Blackman. Her young adult series, ‘Noughts and Crosses,’ reopened the topic of racism by making the majority race in her series black. She stated, “These statistics don’t surprise me. It’s not just about the books getting reviewed, but about the diversity of the authors actually getting published. The publishing industry needs to be more diverse.”
Gay continued to show concern regarding the study’s results. “These days it is difficult for any writer to get a book published. We’re all clawing. However, if you are a writer of color, not only do you face a steeper climb getting your book published, you face an even more arduous journey if you want that book to receive critical attention. Writers deserve that same fighting chance regardless of who they are.”