Why Become a Writer of Colour?
Updated: Oct 8, 2018
Becoming a writer as a person of colour can make you wonder, ‘what have I got to write about’ (that’s new, that’s unwritten) and what writing jobs should I pursue. I could really really relate to what author, Robert Greene (he wrote 48 Laws of Power), in a podcast, say at around 40 he finally realised what he should be doing for a living: writing! After that realisation, he realised the writing field’s huge. He’s right, I’ve thought what an aspiring writer could be (to name a few) a:
Or to look at it another way, he/she work in many fields such as (and not limited to):
Non-fiction: Self-help, Biographies (or your own autobiography)
Also, are thinking most of ‘life’ is white and all that’s black is slavery and racism, so I’m limited? Well as African American educator Carter G. Woodson wrote in Mis-Education of the Negro, “The bondage of the Negro brought captive from Africa is one of the greatest dramas in history and the writer who merely sees in that ordeal something to approve or condemn fails to understand the evolution of the human race.” So ‘great’ that it’s a story still being told 80 years since Carter wrote that.
"Our history is global, transnational, triangular, and much of it is still to be written."
This voyage from Africa to the US — which was one side of the triangular route of the transatlantic slave trade — also included places like Britain and the West Indies. In other words, if you’re a PoC from one or more of those places that drama is part of your story, our history.
And not just as Black and British historian (amongst other job titles) David Olusoga writes, a “story of settlement.” It’s much more,“ from the 16th Century onward Britain exploded like a supernova, radiating its power and influence across the world. Black people were placed at the centre of that revolution. Our history is global, transnational, triangular, and much of it is still to be written”. Still to be written eh? Sounds like an opportunity.
Still feeling limited, well being black is a fertile place to write from as the great late black writer Toni Morrison said: “I’m already discredited. I’m already politicised before I get out of the gate. I can accept the labels because being a black woman writer is not a shallow place but a rich place to write from. It doesn’t limit my imagination. It expands it.” A rich place!
So start or keep writing because there’s an abundant wealth of experiences still to be written.