Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm Not Hyphenated

This will more than likely piss some people off, but I really don't care. It's my own personal opinion, and this is my blog. Let me start by saying that I'm a women of a certain age. I'm older. Not ancient! Just older, in my fifties. Because of that, I remember a time when the term African-American was called Black. And Black people were proud of that. James Brown had us saying, "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud!" But then something happened. In the early 90's there became this notion that the only way a Black person could be proud was to embrace that side of their ancestry. That one side. As a Black woman, I can't do that. There are so many sides, ethnic sides of my biological makeup that I don't want to exclude. And that is what I would be doing by taking up the African-American mantra.
Now, some Black people might look at me and say, "Oh, you're just not proud of where you came from." I'm very proud of where ALL of my ancestors came from. But they weren't only from Africa. Some were from France. Some were already in what would become America, the Native Indians. Some were intermixed with people from all over Europe and even South America if I'm so inclined to delve deep into my ethnic makeup. But if someone were to ask what "race" or "ethnicity" I come from, I wouldn't hesitate to say that I am a Black woman.
You see, for me latching onto the PC bandwagon and announcing that I'm African-American, makes me a hyphenated American. I'm an American that happens to be Black. I don't go around saying Italian-American, English-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic or Latino-American. So I wonder why in the case of Blacks in America we have decided to extricate ourselves from the whole of being American, to a separateness. We have since the early 90's pushed ourselves into a separate category solely based on the pigment of our skin.
I for one, have never been to Africa. Yet, the exclusionary measurement of being African-American is due to being able to trace your ancestral lineage to those Africans that were brought over to the New America as slaves, and by the pigment of our skin. But as a people, Blacks know that is not the only ethnic makeup we share. As an race, we are intermixed with so many different ethnicities; French, Native Indian, German, Spanish, English, Nordic, it spans the globe. So again I ask, why do we embrace ONE part of our ethnicity, yet reject all others?
During slavery, there was a "one-drop" rule. If it was found that a person had what could be deemed a drop of Black blood, they were deemed Black. That meant that if your Great-great-great grandmother was Black, then guess what Gordon, so were you. It didn't matter that you looked White, your wife was White, your children were White, they weren't any longer. That rule was demeaning to Blacks, because it delineated their ethnicity as something impure. Being mixed with Black was akin to being dirty.
Yet today, Black America has gone back to embracing that one-drop rule. If you are mixed with any other race it isn't relevant. Your are to check the box that says African-American. One drop. I'm not ashamed of being Black. I embrace my heritage whether it comes from African slaves, French immigrants, or Native Indians that were in America long before it was known as America. What I won't embrace is the exclusionary moniker that tells me to pick one. ONE! And because of the color of my skin, it better be African-American. But I pose a question. What do you call a White person from Africa that emigrates to America and becomes a citizen? An African-American? I refuse to be a hyphenated American. Say it loud! I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Writing Journey

It's been some time since I blogged about anything. I've been so in to writing. Sometimes I feel so inadequate at what I'm doing. I read what other's say on Facebook, and how many books they've written and I admit I feel jealousy. I wonder, how in the hell did they get such a following? How do you get people to read your books?
This is something that isn't taught to you, or anything you ever worry about when you sit down to write your first book. I know for me, I wasn't thinking about gaining a following. I just knew that it felt good to get those words, those stories out of my head.
It was a relief in a way. But then I FINALLY sent a book in. Glory! Glory! They wanted to publish it! But then what? I didn't know what I was suppose to do after that. Do people--readers automatically verge into the lane of new authors and start reading your work? No, they do not. It's quite the opposite it seems. To me it's almost as though readers are careening around to avoid a new author. the unknown debris in the street they've been driving down for years.
They tell you to promote your book. I might as well go around with a giant, red, question mark over my head at hearing that. Promote? How? Get business cards. Okay. Get a blog. Done. Get a website. Got it. Join this site! Join that site! Join this association and that one, and, and, and, and!!!!!!!! STOP! I just wanted to write. But now I feel as though I should have taken a business course at the local college. Writing makes me happy. I like being happy. Trying to navigate the difficult nuances of promotion does not make me happy. I want to be one of those authors that have readers waiting with bated breath for that next book by their favorite author.
And speaking of that. What sells? I get advice from all angles. Write a series. Write what other erotica authors write, ménage books, or supernatural, or BDSM. I like to write what comes out of my head. But then comes that feeling of inadequacy. Should I fall in line and churn out books to sell them?
Or should I write what makes me happy and wait. I suppose it's kind of like the saying, "If you build it, they will come," or "If I write it, they will read", right? It hasn't been a year yet since my first was published. I'm thankful to have had it published, and my second, and my third. I guess I should just stop the belly-aching and be patient. And if I have envy of other authors with their many followers, I should thank them. I am thankful, because to be in the company of such accomplished authors is something I never thought I would experience. Oh yeah, and get that Twitter account too!