As an Afro-Latino writer in America, I can’t tell you how easy it is to get a great publishing deal these days. I’ve only been writing for a few months, but ever since my first short story, “Being a Black Writer Is Such a Cakewalk,” was published in the New Yorker, literary agents and editors from across the publishing world have been itching to get their hands on my work.
Every day my inbox is filled with emails like “Literary Agent Eager to Sell Literally Any Project You Have in Mind” and “This Is Simon from Simon & Schuster. Please Take Our Money. We Beg You!” and “Editor Dying to Read First Novel from Brilliant Writer Critical of Their Own Privilege Who Is—and This Is Key—NOT White!”
Everyone told me being a writer would be difficult, but it turns out it’s pretty easy. And not just for me. Every single demographic in America is having an absolute field day when it comes to selling books.
Except for white men. Which begs the question: Isn’t it time we gave them a chance to get published?
When I look at the publishing world, all I see are Black and Brown faces. So it’s heartbreaking to witness talented white men encountering slight difficulties getting their work out there. Especially when I, on the other hand, can’t leave my house to grab a cup of coffee without a literary agent accosting me on the street, shouting, “Carlos, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’ve been stalking you night and day for the past six months just so that I could bump into you because that’s how badly I want to work with you!” I’ve had to file a few restraining orders, but it’s nice to feel like your writing is valued.
And it’s not just publishers that are after me. As I’m writing this, Lorne Michaels is standing outside my house holding up a boombox, Say Anything-style, blasting the Saturday Night Live theme song on repeat. The neighbors are pretty pissed, but I don’t have the heart to go out there and tell him that I can’t write for SNL, because I’m too busy juggling all these lucrative book contracts and my first-look deal with Netflix. And I’d turn the sprinklers on, but his skin is impervious to moisture, and the water only makes him angrier. It’s just a shame that he has his heart set on hiring me when I’m sure there has to be a funny white guy somewhere in America who could add a breath of fresh air to his show. I think we owe white men a chance to write for SNL. Don’t you?
The craziest part about all this is how little work it takes to be a non-white writer. Once a week, I sit at my laptop for an hour or two and type the first thing that pops into my head. Then I hand it to my editor, who is also Afro-Latino, and he says, “This is positively cosmic!” (That’s the cool new Black way to say something is good). Then we drink cognac and laugh about how easy it is to be a Black person in a creative field in the United States. I’m not sure what it’s like to be a white male writer, but from what I hear, it’s much harder than this. So shouldn’t we at least carve out a little niche for white male writers? For the good ones? The ones who actually work hard?
I think all this focus on publishing non-white writers has gone too far. All I want to do as a writer of color is write about the trauma I’ve experienced and tell that story to fellow people of color who, naturally, are only interested in reading about how hard it is to be a person of color. Instead, everyone keeps begging me to write sci-fi/fantasy epics and high-concept comedy-dramas. They’re even asking me to write the upcoming Larry Bird biopic. Can’t a white guy do that? Can’t white guys do any of that stuff? It’s time white men got to tell their stories. Won’t someone finally give them a chance?