For many Americans, race is a topic that we most freely discuss with people who look like us. Brad King, a journalism professor at Ball State University and the founder of local writing collective The Geeky Press, wants to shake things up a bit by giving Hoosiers a place to share their reflections on race with the world.
King feels that race and class are “the spine of this county,” but that the majority of Americans aren’t willing to have honest conversations about the topic with people from diverse backgrounds. That’s why King wanted Hoosiers to share their race-related experiences and perspectives with others via the written word.
“There will never be a time in America when race and class will not be relevant. We don’t really carve out spaces where we are sharing experiences without trying to convince people, but I can make you empathize with a thing you don’t like by sharing a story,” said King.
King’s experiences in college made him interested in the topic of race.
“My mentor, the baddest dude I’ve ever met in my life, was an African-American teacher at Berkeley. I’m from one of the poorest places in the country. I was angry, and he recognized what that was and took me under his wing. When I went to Berkeley, I was surrounded by people from all different backgrounds and I began to understand my experiences through the lens of others,” said King.
Providing insight into the experiences of others is what he hopes the anthology Dear America: Reflections on Race will do. As the second publication by the Geeky Press, King says this project will take a more serious tone than their previous work.
“The first book we put out was a goofy one called Bad Jobs and Bullsh*t. We said the next thing we do should not be stupid. We reached out to a lot of writing communities so that it’s not just a bunch of white people writing about race,” said King.
King says this project isn’t exclusively for seasoned writers, but also everyday people who want the opportunity to use their creativity to shed light on serious issues. The Geeky Press is accepting submissions in the form of creative nonfiction, fiction, scripts, poetry, photography and videography. All submissions, including those that do not end up in the print version of the book, will be considered for publication on youshareproject.com, a website that aims to share stories about the human experience. After the book is published, King plans to bypass the typical large book release party in favor of multiple small, intimate gatherings where Hoosiers can talk about the stories in the book and the way race has affected them personally. He hopes the conversations will increase understanding among people from various backgrounds.
“You cannot experience the stories of other people and be ignorant; you just can’t. Or you would have to work very hard to do it. When we can find ways to cross over into the experiences of others, we will see the anger, the joy, the fear that is common in all of us,” he said.
For more information on Dear America: Reflections on Race, visit thegeekypress.com.
The Geeky Press
Looking to meet other writers in the greater Indianapolis area? The Geeky Press is a large, loose collective of writers who meet up for readings, retreats and weekly events. Stay in the know regarding their upcoming events by visiting meetup.com/The-Geeky-Press-Writers-Meet-Up. Visit thegeekypress.com for more information.