“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison (African-American novelist and professor)
This quote sums up the value and responsibility that black writers have.
Stories about black people in mainstream media have often been written by nonblack people. If the majority of mainstream stories aren’t told by black people themselves, how can there be full and diverse stories about the experiences of black people?
Some can definitely try, but there is only so much you can write about an identity that is not your own.
That’s why it’s important for black people to write their own stories. In the past, I would often see stereotypical and similar stories regarding black people.
Black people are frequently put into a box of either success, based on being a professional athlete or music artist, and if that’s not the case, we hear about us being uneducated and poor.
In addition to all of that, we are often reading about the police killings of unarmed black people. All of these stories definitely take part in the black experience.
These are all stories of black people, but these don’t even begin to explore the depths of the black experience.
There’s a history and context to all of these stories, and there are so many more stories to be told. There are stories to be told about black doctors, lawyers, scholars, families and so much more.
There are stories to be told about black excellence in addition to the reality of our struggles, every single day.
I’m seeing a greater depth of these stories now, and I think that’s due to social media. There are all of these online blogs and news websites that are exploring the depths of what it means to be black; and the best part is that they’re created by black people.
This inspires me to continue to write and make my voice heard within media. I am the editor for the Uhuru, which is the black supplement to The Collegian.
I’m the editor because there are stories that haven’t been written, and we need our voices heard – especially at Fresno State.
So to my fellow black writers, I encourage you to write everything that you have to say. I encourage you to give your stories to the world for all of us to see.
We need representation, and we need your voice. There are stories that haven’t been written yet and only you can write them.
Your voice is not only valuable and special, it’s necessary. And please remember this: we’re always rooting for you.