The other day, Tempest Bradford wrote an article challenging readers to stop reading white, straight, cis, male authors for a year. Naturally, there’s been a lot of fussing about the article from the usual corners, and from some unusual ones. The most typical right-wing bellow has been that the challenge is racist—”What if she said not to read any black authors for a year!!!” I’ll call that bluff and say that those people who only ever read black authors would probably do well to try some white, Asian, etc. authors for a year.

Not to say that there aren’t some problems with the challenge. For example: how do you know who is straight and who is not? Who is POC or not? I am not speaking of colorblindness or sexuality blindness here, nor do I take all that seriously the the claim that people “just read for the story” and “don’t look/care” about the gender/race etc. of the author—that is what leads to cishet white (and middle-class, obvs) male as default author choice.

I am instead suggesting that even people on the lookout for demographical diversity sometimes get it wrong, or fumble on the margins based on their own local racial scripts. Most obviously, it’s comical how frequently people—especially those who became political fifteen minutes ago and just learned to chant “cishet white male”—don’t realize that they may be wrong about someone’s sexuality.

Nick is on good, thoughtful form here.