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Sunny Singh @sunnysingh_n6
, 39 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Good morning (again). I am calmer though the rage remains unabated. Let’s talk about coping with white supremacy+gender bias as a WoC, constant undermining of those of us tagged as ‘high achievers’ and consequent imposter syndrome. Thread 👇🏽
I am not going to repeat the TONS of data pointing to the ways women of colour are marginalised and excluded.

Go google for yourself!

These are givens so am not going to pander so don’t @ me with ypur whitesplaining and mansplaining
There are specific forms particular to publishing and higher ed, the two UK industries I know best.

And if you missed the appalling, shameful results of the report on #GenderPayGap in publishing, I suggest you go look it up
Anecdotal evidence suggests #highered has similar issues with #GenderPayGap although it is implemented in different ways.

Also remember that SEVENTEEN of UK’s 18,500 professors are black women (few more are Asians bit still appalling numbers)
So to be a WoC in these two industries is to be the anomaly.

To exist is to resist, yes.

But to exist in these two industries as a WoC is to also have a target placed on our backs, fronts and between the eyes!
It also means that any achievement comes at a huge personal cost, not in the least because of the implicit and explicit resistance from the industry itself
My last novel #HotelArcadia got some interesting responses from the editors who read it but either did not ‘love it enough” or ‘did not know how to sell it.’
However the following editor responses were some of my favs (yes that is sarcasm):

1.This is not quite Indian (because war correspondents can’t be brown women?)

2. The protagonist is not very maternal (yeah, that’s the point!?)
3. We already have our India book for the year.

4. We already have woman war correspondent book of the year (this one is my absolute favourite)

5. The protagonist (yes a woman and of colour) is not likeable (funny how this never applied to Lolita!)
I think my worst moment came when they sent a voice sample for the audio version. It was being read in a FUCKING PETER SELLER’s exaggerated Indian accent!
Really? So that’s how you think people of Indian ancestry sound? Like Apu? Or bloody Peter Sellers from the

And don’t forget this is actually a professional product under development not some wanker at the pub!
How the hell do you begin to have any sense of achievement when your work is mocked, derided, diminished even by the people who are supposed to get it to the readers?
And then came the snobbery of bookshops. I was told by (white) writer friends to resch out to them because they help sell.

I remember leaving more than one indy feeling humiliated by the treatment I received from the bookseller!
I could name and shame but really it would just harm me further because #allwhitebookshops are a really a thing.
Btw, ever wonder why so many of us PoC choose to shop amazon over indy bookshops?!

Because algorithms may be implicitly racist but they won’t actively humiliate you to get you of their pristine bookshops!
You know those arguments that PoC made re Uber (search my own TL) but white leftists derided? Same applies to amazon. Or even here, to twitter
We know the shitty parts of these companies so save your condescending whitemansplaining. It’s just that we consider factors and reach a different measure of safety for ourselves
Then there are the reviews and book pages and literary magazines (go on, look up LRB’s gender gap. And that’s without adding race). All I can say is thank heavens for book bloggers!
So then we come to higher ed! That sector is even more disfunctional than publishing. And then add race and gender to the mix!
Did I tell you when an all white interview panel at a London university asked (unironicall6) what qualified me to address diversity?@

Then hired a less qualified white man anyway?
Or the time, a candidate (guess gender and race) with fewer publications and never having held a full time job compared to my seven years of full time work got the post?
Or the time the pro-VC explained how ‘the team’ wanted a different candidate? Yes, with fewer publications, less experience but a ‘better fit.’

He apologised on the phone but I knew I would turn that job down even if offered to me
This one is my fav. One uni decided to freeze hiring because there was obv no legal way of justifying not hiring me. They brought in their internal candidate by the back door during the year
And that’s just the recruitment. Research grants panel at my own uni awarded a grant to a white colleague in my own area because ‘her lack of output showed she needed support’ and I didn’t
So my own hard work and achievements were weaponised against me.

I raised a fuss, got a tiny bit of teaching relief but then stopped applying for grants. It takes too much time and energy to fight this shit on all fronts
Then the REF etc. First round I was told I was ineligible because it was all creative work. So for REF, I went in with four academic AND four creative publications.

Guess what? Still not eligible
Then there is the wonderful fact that I am the only published novelist at work. Others specialise in poetry, nonfiction, etc.

Guess who is habitually not asked to be on PhD supervision panels FOR NOVELS!!
My favourite excuse for this?

‘Students are intimidated by your reputation so it is hard for them to work with you.’

Never mind my huge bloody undergrad teaching load (who btw excel and publish regularly)
This past year has been a bit of schadenfreude on this one. Two students got major revisions for their CW phds. Both supervised by colleagues who are not novelists.

I feel bad for the students but......
Hilariously enough, I unofficially help LOTS of students in other unis in and out of UK because I believe knowledge is for sharing. But am apparently not good enough at my own work place
Btw, I have tweeted before about the hostility I get in class on a regular badis for my gender and race. So that is a whole other dimension of this shit
This includes walking around with rape alarms for nearly a whole academic year. But the student was allowed to leave with nothing on his record
It also includes pulling up work on screen in class with racial slurs included and the student smirking and telling me that it was ‘authentic’
I could keep going but this is my reality day in and day out. Is it a wonder I have acute imposter syndrome?
A few months ago @nikeshshukla was surprised when I told him I didn’t see myself as an established or hell, even half way decent writer. I got an ear full from him
And a couple of weeks ago @renireni told me the same thing re the @jhalakprize.

Told me to park the imposter syndrome
I get it intellectually. But it is hard to make myself believe it when I am undermined, diminished on a daily basis
And it’s easy to say, go legal. But I don’t have the time, energy, resources for that?

Besides, it isn’t just me. It is a whole lot of us in this leaky, creaking boat. So it means nothing if one of us gets to be safe
And that is why, twitter I am so damn exhausted.

But thanks for listening. And for all the lovely messages, tweets, DMs. @Twitter - despite all of @jack’s efforts - remains the lifesaver for many of us

End thread. 🙏🏽
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