It’s my pleasure to have here today my Blogcritics colleague and talented award-winning author Nicole Weaver. Though primarily an author of children’s books, she’s just released a new nonfiction book titled, Not All Americans Are Racist.
In Not All Americans Are Racist, Weaver recounts her experiences with racial discrimination and the non-racist white individuals who made it possible for her to attend and finish college. As an immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she is thankful for the opportunities America has offered her.
Connect with the author on the web:
It’s great to have you here, Nicole. What compelled you to write this essay?
The killings of Trayvon Martin and the two other unarmed black males really bothered me. I started having flashbacks about my personal experiences. I have two black sons and felt a tremendous amount of compassion for the relatives of those black males that were killed.
Who is your target reader?
I wrote the essay for anyone who has been a victim of discrimination and especially for America’s youth. I am a high school foreign language teacher, and I have the joy of seeing firsthand how the young people of today could care less about the color of one’s skin. I believe the youth of today will carry us into a less racially prejudiced society.
What was the most challenging aspect about writing this essay?
It was difficult to relive all the racial situations I endured in years past.
On the other hand, what has been the best part about writing this essay?
Writing is very therapeutic for me. I had these bad experiences buried deep inside of me, now they are on paper and I feel so much better.
Do you think some people will take your essay the wrong way? What would you say to these people?
Absolutely! You will always have people that are set in their ways. Some may see me as a race baiter, and accuse me of adding fuel to the fire. I would say to these individuals: these are my experiences and I have the right to share them.
Tell us a bit about your writing process?
All of my ideas for writing come from me living life. Once I get inspired I first jot down the idea that comes to mind, and next I start writing until I have a completed manuscript. Not All Americans Are Racist is my first nonfiction book. The words just flowed from my mind, and I was able to write all of it down until I was completely done. Aside from the emotional release, I found it much easier to write nonfiction. I did not have the burden of creating the perfect scene since these events occurred in real life.
Writing children’s trilingual books is a lot different. It is more challenging because you have to have a certain word count and must find ways for the story to be engaging for the intended age group.
Amazon has made it very easy for writers to publish short books like this. What was the self-publishing process like?
Self-publishing can be a daunting task. The burden falls on the shoulders of the writer to get the manuscript professionally edited, find a graphic designer to create a book cover and someone to format the book for both print and Ebook versions. There are many scammers out there, and one must be very careful. It is always a good idea to get recommendations from friends before trusting a total stranger to handle your manuscript.
You’re also a children’s author. What type of children’s books do you write?
I have written three trilingual children’s picture books. I believe in exposing young children to a foreign language early on. Growing up speaking four languages inspired me to write my children’s books in English, French, and Spanish with all three texts on each page. The books are designed to encourage a parent to pick up three books in one as opposed to buying three separate books.
Do you have more essays or short books like these coming in the near future?
Yes, I do. I am currently working on two manuscripts. `
What do you hope readers will take from your book?
I hope readers will walk away thinking that the United States is the greatest country in the world, but it still has some racial issues that must be addressed. I also hope people who read my book will make a concerted effort to invest in today’s youth, as they are the ones who will change America for the better.
In what way are interracial marriages having an impact on racial issues?
Interracial marriage can’t on its own end racism, but having a more diverse social circle or a person of a different race in your immediate family can be an antidote to prejudice and stereotyping. I think the blending of more multiracial families is helping erode the notion of racial superiority distinctions that certain group of people tends to claim as their birthrights. My husband is German, and as a mixed couple, we focus on our unique qualities as individuals, rather than on our ethnicity. Lastly, I believe cross-racial connections are a powerful tool that is making a dent in the racial boundaries that have kept people separated.
How can young people help reshape the landscape of racism in America?
Millenials — those born from about the mid-1980s to the early 2000s — will be the generation that finally casts aside pernicious racism in the United States. They can, and they will because they have more sensible views on race and racism than the older generation. I have observed this trend in my high school classroom. It is fascinating to see how these young people treat each other with so much respect and dignity. I think more and more families are opting to have their children attend a diverse school, and that is helping eradicate misconceptions about certain group of people.
Is there anything else you would like to say to readers?
I would like to invite the readers to check out my website at: www.nicoleweaverbooks.com
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of all my books goes to Mercy & Sharing an organization that helps abandoned Haitian children. Feel free to read an article I wrote about a gala sponsored by Mercy & Sharing.
Originally published in Blogcritics.