The Jhalak Book Prize, And Racism In The Publishing Industry

Equality Chess

I read this article over my tea this morning, and the ridiculousness of it hurt my brain. If you hadn’t heard, a new book prize called The Jhalak just launched that is restricted to only ‘writers of colour.’ (Can you only imagine the uproar that would be made if the situation were reversed, and an award was created for white writers only?)

Did anyone stop to think that the writers that get published do so because they’re the ones who write what people want to read? Because they’re the ones that actually sell books? That race never even entered the equation until people forced it in to further their own agenda?

‘Jhalak means “glimpse” in Hindi and related northern Indian dialects; something implicitly brief, often tantalising with promise, that piques curiosity to explore further.’

I can only hope that people come to their senses and this mass hysteria for shoe-horning diversity in to every facet of life isn’t explored any further than it already has been. People look for racism in everything these days, to the point where you can’t describe the colour of someone’s skin, or even have an opinion as a white male, without being branded a bigot and a racist.

It seems to me that this award segregation misses the point of equality entirely. It’s equality of opportunity that matters, not equality of outcome. Once you start restricting opportunities to people based on their race or gender so you can rig the outcome, well, then you’re creating the very systems of discrimination that you set out to fight.

Honestly, the irony is enough to make me laugh. Where do you draw the line with this stuff? Separate drinking fountains? Surrendering bus seats based on race? If you follow this misguided implementation of diversity to its logical conclusion, you quickly find we start traveling backwards in time.


© 2016, Gavin Zanker. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Photo by Juanfran Velasco licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

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