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Old 01-16-2020, 07:05 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by hildea View Post
I don't think anyone has suggested that the segregated shelving is the reason why so few authors of color have won the RITA. Rather, both these have the same root cause, ie. racism.

Note, I'm not suggesting that the people in charge of placing books in bookstores have consciously thought: "I don't like black people, so I'll put books by black authors in a separate shelf to make their books harder to find so they will sell less."
Rather, they have been thinking that these books aren't so interesting or relatable for most readers (read "white readers"), and that only people who are especially interested will want to read them. This will, of course, turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's another thread about racism in publishing, from a few years ago: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/9...?refreshed=yes :
So, then, your perception of the "LBGTQ" categories for movies, on Amazon, Netflix, etc., is that Netflix, etc., employees are homophobic?

I am not being argumentative. I'm asking, because to me, these are exactly the same thing. If you're saying that shelving at Borders is due to racism, how is this different than Netflix's categorization?

I do not see any logical, real difference. And frankly, it makes discussions like this incredibly frustrating, because every example that's "good" or bad or ignored or whatever seems to have special circumstances around it--or quite simply, can't be explained as to why one is good, one is bad, other than reaching for things like "it's too far to walk."

ETA: Actually, never mind, I'm done. This discussion just can't go anywhere good from this point, unfortunately. Not blaming anyone here, but...I just see it devolving.

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Old 01-16-2020, 10:23 PM   #197
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It seems pretty clear that one person's “marginalization” is another person's “market segmentation”. Someone wanting to promote content by an author's race, ethnicity, sexual orientation....has the same discovery problem that all books have.

If you write a book as a Christian promoting a Christian experience...do you want it out into the “Christian books” section where a market looking for that type of material would likely be looking? Or do you put it in the general fiction section hoping that people who don’t share the Christian perspective might come across it and become more open/aware/sensitive to the Christian experience?

Is a romance book “African American” because the author is black....or if the material covered has characters and themes regarding people of color? If you are gay, are you likely to want your romance book with romance between gay characters? I’d think so. Do you want to have to sift through all the romance books looking for gay romance or would it be nice to have a section just for your interests?

Multiply this by every religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation - and don’t forget the great divide between Science Fiction and Fantasy which should NOT be lumped together!!!

I don’t think there is a right answer and that people equally committed to promoting tolerance might choose a different way of marketing books
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:07 AM   #198
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It got worse at conference. An editor who worked for Harlequin approached an award winning black author and told her, to her face, that she didn’t want her books, but she wanted her to help her develop a guide for white authors writing diversely.
If this event took place, out of a perhaps morbid curiosity, what genre(s) did that award winning black author write in? Rather unlikely to be romance given some of the content of this thread so one does tend to wonder.

Admittedly, I didn't realize that Samuel R. Delaney was black until about a year ago. I just thought of him as a author I liked since I read The Ballad of Beta-2 as part of an Ace Double in the dim past when John W. Campbell still roamed the earth.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:04 AM   #199
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I can agree with hitch's "incredibly frustrating", even if we agree on little else in this thread.

Others in this thread have explained very well why the segregation in Borders is harmful to African-American authors, and that its effect is racist. I trust that's clear?

So the topic people are confused about is whether categorization in online shops is racist or homophobic, or not.

I took a look at Amazon, and the first book it recommended for me in the LGBT category was a historical Scottish werewolf romance. I went over to romance, drilled down to Scottish historicals, found 400 pages of results, entered "werewolf" in the search field, and found the gay Scottish werewolf romance on the second page of results. So it seems that LGBT romances can be found both if you browse in Romance and in LGBT, and the categorization doesn't hide them from people who browse in Romance. Thus, I feel confident to say that this categorization isn't homophobic.

I assume it's the same for Netflix. The Norwegian Netflix doesn't have the LGBT cateogory, but I can find "Kongens nei" in both Norwegian films and historical films.

To sum up: If you can find a book (or whatever) by or about about a minority in all the most important categories where you'll find its majority counterparts, and also find it in categories specific to that minority, it's not discrimination to add the minority categories.
Frankly, I don't see how this is difficult.


There may be edge cases where this is difficult to determine. If a book only gets very few categories, it may be better to remove a moderately popular mainstream category to add one specific to the minority. If a book gets "historical romance", and then has to choose between "Scottish", "werewolf", and "gay", it might be better seen, and get more sales, if the category chosen is "gay", not one of the others.

And, of course, we might ask whether the lack of an LGBT category in Norwegian Netflix is harmful. Maybe it is?

Human society is complicated, it's not difficult to find situations where things aren't clear cut, and where no choice will be perfect. But just because some situations are difficult doesn't mean that all are.

(I wish the offtopic icon didn't look so angry )
By the way, there may be homophobia or racism in how search results are weighted, and in which films/books are shown in "Recommended for you" lists. These are typically made by machine learning, ie. algorithms which analyse people's behaviour and adjust to them. Even if the intent of these algorithms is to maximise sales, the result can be unfair -- that's an interesting field, but probably outside the scope of this discussion.


(And now I'm off to buy that gay historical Scottish werewolf romance, I've read and liked something else by that author, and it looks interesting!)

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Old 01-17-2020, 02:34 AM   #200
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If this event took place, out of a perhaps morbid curiosity, what genre(s) did that award winning black author write in? Rather unlikely to be romance given some of the content of this thread so one does tend to wonder.
https://evenaturally.com/2018/04/04/...in-publishing/
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:25 AM   #201
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Others in this thread have explained very well why the segregation in Borders is harmful to African-American authors, and that its effect is racist. I trust that's clear?
No, I don't think it is.
I can certainly understand why some people would think it is, but I can also understand why some people would think it was highlighting those authors and increasing their sales.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:06 AM   #202
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No, I don't think it is.
I can certainly understand why some people would think it is, but I can also understand why some people would think it was highlighting those authors and increasing their sales.
Sometimes people confuse their personal opinion with fact. There was an interesting opinion piece earlier this week on that very subject. IMPO, the answer is that it's likely not racist, but some people tend to assume racism when someone else does something they disagree with.

In general, if a reader is looking for something specific in a book, i.e. characters who belong to a specific category, be they black, gay whatever, it can be helpful if all those books were lumped together. If those readers make up a big enough percentage of a book stores customer base, then I think it would make perfect sense to create a separate area for those books.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:10 AM   #203
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Sometimes people confuse their personal opinion with fact. There was an interesting opinion piece earlier this week on that very subject. IMPO, the answer is that it's likely not racist, but some people tend to assume racism when someone else does something they disagree with.

In general, if a reader is looking for something specific in a book, i.e. characters who belong to a specific category, be they black, gay whatever, it can be helpful if all those books were lumped together. If those readers make up a big enough percentage of a book stores customer base, then I think it would make perfect sense to create a separate area for those books.
...but then all those books will *only* be seen by those customers...which is a problem when it comes to discoverability.

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Old 01-17-2020, 12:13 PM   #204
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...but then all those books will *only* be seen by those customers...which is a problem when it comes to discoverability.

Shari
So? That doesn't make it racist, which was the assertion at the start. If it's a problem then the book seller can put copies in both places. If it's a online store, such as Amazon, it's easy enough to do.

From a pure programmer's point of view, it's easy enough to allow the customer to say "show me all romance novels that have a gay protagonist". The issue is having an accurate database, which as we programmers like to say "That's not a programming issue"

A good decade ago, I predicted that we would see a bunch of websites dedicated to various types of books with curated lists of books and new books this month lists, kind of like the newsletters that were popular back before B&N took over. So far, that prediction hasn't come about, probably because it's hard to monetize such things these days and it's a lot of work, but it's the most likely solution to the discovery issue that I can think of.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:34 PM   #205
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While the apology from Angela James was interesting and rather unexpected given that Courtney Milan did not name her, that still doesn't answer my original question about what genre(s) the author wrote in.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:20 PM   #206
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I wonder if the B&M store's decision to place AA romance in a dedicated AA section had something to do with AA romance readers attitude to miscegenation.

Who is ‘marrying out’?

Quote:
Among blacks, men are much more likely than women to marry someone of a different race. Fully a quarter of black men who got married in 2013 married someone who was not black. Only 12% of black women married outside of their race.
This data would seem to support the possibility that the store put the AA romance books in the AA section because AA romance readers are not prone to miscegenation. In short, AA women prefer AA men.

In contrast, Asian women are according to the data much more open to miscegenation.

Quote:
For Asians, the gender pattern goes in the opposite direction: Asian women are much more likely than Asian men to marry someone of a different race. Among newlyweds in 2013, 37% of Asian women married someone who was not Asian, while 16% of Asian men married outside of their race.
So perhaps the store's decision was based on the apparent fact that AA women want to have romances and read about romance between AA women and AA men. And the store's decision to place the books in the AA section merely reflected that. It made business sense, I suppose. Does this mean either the store management or AA romance readers are racist?

Oh, btw, when I say Romance readers, I mean women. Hopefully that doesn't mean I'm a sexist.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:17 PM   #207
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...but then all those books will *only* be seen by those customers...which is a problem when it comes to discoverability.

Shari
There is no right answer. Any choice could be seen as racist or homophobic - and yet either choice might well be DESIGNED to serve people of color or the gay community.

Take Pandora...the music service that will build "radio stations" that match your music tastes according to songs or artists that you say you like.

If you start a new list with a Christian song/artist....you will only be shown songs that match they style AND are considered "Christian". You will almost never be shown a Christian rock song if you start a list by liking a regular rock band.

And this is most likely how both "Christian seeking customers" and "people who aren't interested in Christian music" would both want it. But if you are a Christian artist and you'd like your music to be exposed to "the world" -- and not just to "Christian music fans"....I'm sure it would be troubling.

Do gay people want to read regular romances? Do hetero people want to read gay romances? I'm thinking there's probably a "customer focused" reason that gay porn and straight porn have sites explicitly for one taste or the other. Not that I would personally know anything about such content...having a pure, unspoiled soul.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:26 PM   #208
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Do hetero people want to read gay romances?
Yep, many straight women read man-on-man romance. Apparently they find the fluidity of the relationship roles a nice change.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:17 PM   #209
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So? That doesn't make it racist, which was the assertion at the start. If it's a problem then the book seller can put copies in both places. If it's a online store, such as Amazon, it's easy enough to do.

From a pure programmer's point of view, it's easy enough to allow the customer to say "show me all romance novels that have a gay protagonist". The issue is having an accurate database, which as we programmers like to say "That's not a programming issue"

A good decade ago, I predicted that we would see a bunch of websites dedicated to various types of books with curated lists of books and new books this month lists, kind of like the newsletters that were popular back before B&N took over. So far, that prediction hasn't come about, probably because it's hard to monetize such things these days and it's a lot of work, but it's the most likely solution to the discovery issue that I can think of.
I have to add this--if you write Mystery Romances, or any sort of cross-over genre, no matter who you are, who you have sex with, what your skin color is, or where you live, guess what?

Your books will ONLY be shelved in one damn place and then, guess what? They'll have a problem with "discoverability," too. Same exact thing. You write supernatural romance, it can be in either--but not both. You write Christian mystery, it can be in either. Not both.

This affects every single book in the universe that isn't simply "one thing." If you write supernatural cozies, ditto. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--horror? Comedy? Romance? Pastiche? It's endless. But for those crossovers, it's One Shelf To Rule Them All.

Nobody's books will be in every single place where someone might look for it.

It doesn't mean that someone has Coziphobia.

(Adding this post only because it's a topic that I deal with every. single. day. with my customers, so I am well familiar with it. Informational only.)

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Old 01-17-2020, 04:48 PM   #210
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Yep, many straight women read man-on-man romance. Apparently they find the fluidity of the relationship roles a nice change.
I’d bet the size of that group is sufficiently small such that it would still make sense to divide the two sections. Straight women wanting to read gay male romance would know where to go look for it.
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