For most African American writers, this section is the only way that they will connect with the browsers, the mostly African American readers who go out of their way to read books by black authors. I have read the arguments against these sections, usually by white readers who were looking for the work of some famous black author like Toni Morrison and were dismayed to be led to The Colored Section. Each time I read such an account, I am painfully aware that the reader has been browsing the bookstore for years before noticing that the “literature” section is all white.
For all this, Jones is ambivalent about this “ghetto-izing” practice. As a black reader who also happens to work in publishing, I’m ambivalent, too–that is, when I’m not infuriated. More on this to come. For now, read what she’s got to say.