by S. E. Roberts
Writing is not a career that has ever paid enough money. Now, I’m not talking about bloggers or journalists, who could certainly stand to make more but don’t necessarily have to. I’m talking about novelists, poets, and short story writers, those artists who are self-advertising on social media, submitting to literary magazines, and publishing books of their work, all in the hope of being recognized and well-compensated for their work.
by Ariana Tucker
Go onto any major book-selling website and you’ll probably find a section dedicated to Black authors in the list of genres and subcategories. Amazon calls theirs “Amplify Black Voices” and lists it among other popular keywords like “Award Winners” and “Celebrity Picks.” Barnes and Noble calls theirs “Black Voices” and lists it among other browsing options such as “Large Print Books” and “Trend Shop.” Click on either link and you’ll see popular books written by Black authors, most of which are the same books we’ve been talking about for the last five years.
Barnes and Noble is the worst offender of this. On their featured page of “Fiction: Black Voices,” only four were published between 2020 and 2021 (Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle is their featured book from 2021). The rest are classics by Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison and books by authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Sister Souljah, which were published in the 2000s and 2010s. Amazon at least offers a more up-to-date list of recently released books by month and recommendations from editors and Black icons like Billy Porter and Rick Ross. You can find almost any genre and any subject here, the only difference is that the authors are all BIPOC.
by Dominick Marconi
There was this popular meme that recirculated in 2020 which featured a still frame from the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar. It showed the four main characters, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe with puzzled expressions on their faces and overlaid text that read, simply: “Why are you black?”
Everytime I see it I laugh. Everytime I think about it I laugh. I cannot speak as to why anybody else might find it funny, but to me, the comedy not only stems from the absurdity of the question's nature, but in its truth.
I’ve taught freshman composition courses for almost two years now, expecting my diverse body of students from multicultural backgrounds to all coalesce and perform to one standard above all others: White Vernacular English (WVE) or White American Vernacular English (WAVE). As writers, we pride ourselves on being open-minded yet authentic, and we hope our students do the same—as long as they adhere to what we consider valid style of writing. Why have the rigid, outdated principles the foundation of college composition was built on not shifted to accept other vernaculars?
by Steve Royek
The professional football career of Richie Incognito is probably over and he faces a life of being known as the white player who harassed black teammate Jonathan Martin with threatening and racist texts and voice messages.
Could he, however, soon be trading in his orange and turquoise Miami Dolphins’ uniform for an orange prison jumpsuit?
If Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. had his way, he just might.
Of all the names swirling around this sad, salacious scandal of language-based threats and violent rhetoric, one of the most interesting might be that of the former U.S. Supreme Court justice. Holmes authored the landmark 1919 “Schenck v. United States” opinion that set legal guidelines
for violent speech with the often-quoted “shouting fire in a theatre” analogy. “Schenck” was the first high court ruling to carve out an exception to the once-absolute Freedom of Speech protection in the Bill of Rights.
Over the years, those exceptions have been crystalized into a three-part test of protected violent speech: Is there intent to commit a violent act, is that action imminent, and is there a strong likelihood the act will be carried out? All three of these tests appear to have been met in the Incognito affair, which opens up the player to criminal charges of terroristic threats.
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