Do parents still tell their children to do good in school so they can become doctors or lawyers? I remember my mom telling me I talked so much as a child I’d probably be a lawyer and my handwriting was so bad I’d probably be a doctor. She never said I told great stories and maybe I’ll be a writer. 

It’s not hard to find books written by black authors and I can point you to a lot of black bloggers. But you won’t find many black writers working for newspapers or magazines. I wonder what’s keeping us out of that line of work?

A black lady wrote an article in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer that explained part of the problem and a potential solution to the lack of black writers working for your local newspapers.

In speaking of herself, she says…

You don’t get down to one Black female writer, nor lack diversity, by accident. It happens from conscious decisions by white executives and editors who exercise the privilege of only hiring and promoting people who look like them. 

I’ve never had any desire to work as a writer for a newspaper. From what she says, it’s probably a good thing because…

Black journalists give up dreams of writing stories that matter because conditions in many newsrooms are too oppressive to overcome.

For folks like her who choose writing as a profession, she’s faced with a dilemma in these spaces as she describes…

I feel annoyed when issues about my community arise and I am not asked to help cover them, yet tokenized if I am singled out for that coverage. This is only true because there aren’t enough Black journalists in the room. If there were, I wouldn’t have to fret over every assignment.

She points the finger of change directly at the people running the newsrooms…

It probably feels daunting to imagine letting go of some white staff to build more diverse newsrooms. I ask newsroom leaders: What are you willing to personally sacrifice to diversify? Are you willing to give up your spot to let a Black editor or reporter in? Would you sacrifice a portion of your salary to fund a Black reporter’s job? Systemic racism in America’s newsrooms is not a problem Black people created. It’s not a problem we should have to fix.

In the middle of all this, she drops this linguistic bombshell…

But when you’re privileged, equality feels like oppression.

I know I couldn’t work as a writer for a newspaper or magazine. I’d rather keep doing what I do which is hanging out at home comfortably sitting in my easy chair donning my  smoking jacket and slippers not pressured by deadlines, artificial storylines, or people lying. 

I already know I’d be the worst employee in the newsroom. I’m too old to put up with the BS.