Tokenism May Cause the Following Side Effects: An Essay by Morgan Parker

In an essay for The Poetry Foundation titled "Tokenism May Cause the Following Side Effects," poet Morgan Parker unpacks the burden of tokenism in America's 98% white publishing industry. What I like about this article is her discussion of tokenism's effect on the relationships between POC writers. She reveals that when you know the publisher is only publishing one or two Black/Asian/Latinx writers per year, it can foster a sense of unfair and unhealthy competition between writers of color.

Parker quotes writer, Jenny Zhang, who admits: "What I want is to not have to be made aware that because most publications only ever make room for one or two writers of color when those publications publish me it means another excellent writer of color does not get to have that spot, and yes, we internalize that scarcity and it makes us act wild and violent toward each other sometimes instead of kind." Read this refreshingly honest essay in full over at the Poetry Foundation.