Tags: Media Bias | publishers | fearful | offending | sensitivity readers | books

PC Run Amok? Publishers Increasingly Fearful of Offending 'Sensitivity Readers'

PC Run Amok? Publishers Increasingly Fearful of Offending 'Sensitivity Readers'
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By    |   Tuesday, 26 December 2017 06:27 PM

Authors and publishers are increasingly turning to sensitivity readers to check for potentially offensive portrayals of minority groups — a trend that some argue amounts to censorship, The New York Times reported.

The checkers are used in particular for children's books, the Times reported.

"There is a newfound fervor in children's publishing to be authentic and get the story right," David Levithan, vice president and publisher of Scholastic Press, told the Times. "When any author is writing outside their own experience, we want to make sure they've done their homework."

But even prominent adult novelists have started turning to sensitivity readers, the Times reported.

For example, for her 2016 novel, "Small Great Things," about a black nurse who treats the baby of white supremacists, Jodi Picoult recruited several minorities, including Nic Stone, an African-American novelist and the author of the best-seller "Dear Martin," to critique an early draft, the Times reported.

Picoult told the Times that Stone's feedback helped her contextualize racism from the perspective of an African-American.

But others see a downside to the growing reliance, warning it could lead to sanitized books that avoid difficult subjects.

"Can we no longer read 'Othello' because Shakespeare wasn't black?" the novelist Francine Prose wrote in an essay about sensitivity readers and censorship in The New York Review of Books.

A National Review writer worried last February that "if 'sensitivity readers' are given the freedom to hijack authors' visions, we're going to lose some beloved works of art that we could have otherwise enjoyed."

Advocates argue sensitivity readers are helping to guard against misrepresentation.

"It's a craft issue; it's not about censorship," Dhonielle Clayton, a former librarian and writer who has evaluated more than 30 children's books as a sensitivity reader this year, told the Times.

"We have a lot of people writing cross-culturally, and a lot of people have done it poorly and done damage."

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According to The New York Times, authors and publishers are increasingly turning to sensitivity readers to check for potentially offensive portrayals of minority groups, a trend that some argue amounts to censorship.
publishers, fearful, offending, sensitivity readers, books
317
2017-27-26
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 06:27 PM
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