#LESSFUCKERY: WHAT ARTISTS/WRITERS CAN DO
THINGS ARTISTS CAN DO
1. We can look around and ask who is and is not sharing this space, and why. We can consider what it means that there is a separate art space, who it allows in, and who it doesn’t. We can consider who is teaching, who is in leadership, and who chose the participants;
2. White artists can decline to read, present, or exhibit on an all-white panel. If (when) the curator expresses they were unable to find writers of color (or other unrepresented groups), we can step out and suggest that they invite and pay a writer of color to step in as curator;
3. We can walk out of all-white panels at writing conferences;
4. We can still go to protests, call our representatives, give money;
5. If there is violence (or other fuckery) happening in a workshop, it is always ok to speak up and say stop, red, hang on, even if we’ve worked hard to get into this space, regardless of the rules, even if we feel like we don’t deserve to be there, even if we are the writer whose work is being workshopped: fuckery invalidates art spaces. Fuckery has already canceled the workshop;
6. If there is fuckery at a reading or open mic, in an exhibit, in a theater, we can walk out, we can talk to the curator;
7. When we find ourselves at an all white or mostly white residency or convention, we can ask: why. Who has chosen the writers? Who has applied? Who hasn’t? Why?
8. We can read the backs of literary magazines, the lineup of events, check VIDA count, check bios of contributors to a magazine before we subscribe, submit, or slush there;
9. We can attend, support, literary magazines, readings, events, and organizations that magnify historically marginalized voices, even and especially if they are not ours;
10. We can ask: is this racism (sexism, queerphobia) in the text necessary. There is very little difference between ironic violence and violence. Eg, there is very little difference between racism-for-commentary and racism. Most often, especially with white writers, the intention is lost and the result is simply: racism. (or misogyny or homophobia, etc);
11. We can hire sensitivity readers and pay them;
12. We can make reparations payments and we can pay for the work of artists we admire.