Caught in the middle

I should be excited.  My book goes to print.  My research will be accessible to the general public.  Or will it?  I have written an academic book.  Edwin Mellen Publishers will be publishing my manuscript.  They are a scholarly publishing house, with offices in New York and Wales.

I have achieved something many of my fellow PhD counterparts dream about – to have their research published.  Ironically, my manuscript will be published within 2 years of me completing my Doctorate.

So why am I feeling a sense of hollowness?  And why am I feeling guilt that people from my community-my fellow black folks, may not be able to access my book because of the cost of academic books?  At this very moment in time instead of celebrating, I find myself asking these questions.

For me, the notion of being a successful black woman comes with the guilt that this newly acquired privilege and opportunity comes at the expense of others in the black community.

My dream throughout my PhD journey was to make black women’s experience visible in the ocean of white patriarchal literature.  My desire was to publish a book that was affordable.  I guess I wanted to give something back to my community.  The opportunity for people from my community to read an academic book written by us for us.

In all honesty, this will not be the case with this book, because of the cost and the publishing route I have chosen.  Well that’s not wholly correct, because the publishers chose me not the other way round.

As a black woman, denial of opportunity is what I’m accustomed to.  So now that I have accomplished one of my lifetime goals, to publish my research.  And even if I do not break even, the thought that many black men/women may not have this opportunity and are suffering because of broken dreams and lack of opportunity.  That’s hard to process.

As I sit in this emotional space, analysing the guilt that comes from having people in your immediate circle who may not have similar successes.  I am content that the book will be accessible in academic libraries and I hope those who cannot afford to purchase their own copies will at least borrow a copy from their local library.




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