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This workplace racism survey is as bleak as you think.

Katie Yee

June 29, 2021, 1:53pm

Three years ago, People of Color in Publishing and Latinx in Publishing—two grassroots organizations striving to uplift marginalized voices in our industry—invited BIPOC book publishing employees to participate in an anonymous survey. The goal of this survey was “to collect information about the breadth and depth of microaggressions and racism that BIPOC experience in the workplace, and the impact this has on our work.”

They received over 200 submissions, of which only 16% claimed they did not feel they had experienced racism or microaggressions in the workplace. Glaringly, when written responses were reviewed, the organizations found that every single survey responder had indeed shared a specific instance of racism. It’s just that it’s so normalized that sometimes it doesn’t even register.

If you work in book publishing, the statistics will depress and anger (but, sadly, probably not surprise) you.

92% of respondents had experienced being the only BIPOC in a meeting.
72.9% of participants said they have experienced microaggressions in the workplace.
88.6% of participants said they’ve felt it was their job to educate others about diversity.

There are countless others facts and figures that are worth noting, but honestly, every single page of this is important. The report is vital for the way it spotlights the individuals behind the numbers. The personal testimonies quoted throughout are gutting. For instance, here’s part of the anecdote that kicks off the Microaggressions section:

“During an editorial staff meeting (of about 15 editors), a senior-level person (white woman) was talking about how her brother was in town and that he loved Asian women, then turned in my direction and asked if I’d be interested in meeting him.”

Honestly, I’ve had some variation of this conversation at nearly every single place I’ve worked. To my fellow POC, we are certainly not alone.

The words that these employees took the time to write should carry weight. We work in an industry that revolves around storytelling, and it’s time these stories count, too. Please read the full report here. 

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