Walk through your local chain bookstore and you will not see sections tagged British Literature, White American Literature, Korean Literature, Pakistani Literature and so on. None of these ethnicities are singled out or objectified the way African American writers are.
I’m a long time advocate of doing away with “Black Interests” and other ghettoizing schemes by bookstores and publishers. At the same time, we as authors, publishers and editors have to do our part and demand this change. Begging for scraps won’t solve the problem. All too often we are reactionary and really, self-defeating.
Self-publishing and micro-publishing is one method to defeat this nefarious practice. We can market and promote the way we want to without dictates from the major publishers. Of course, we’ll have to work harder and can anticipate smaller paydays. In the long-run however, we’ll have a greater chance at longevity. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I’ve witnessed the opposite: author makes a big splash, garners an even bigger payday. Sales don’t match the hype and they’re never heard from again.
It all boils down to whether or not you’re comfortable with others handling your work. First-time authors won’t have much say, but anyone with even a small body of work needs to be in charge of their own destiny. Publishers won’t relinquish power, so authors must demand a say in every aspect of the publishing process.