Why It’s Time to Abolish Celebrity

You don’t have to be a celebrity to act like one. Unfortunately, “celebrity” has transcended the elite class. Anyone who puts social climbing over community has internalized a celebrity mindset. These people rationalize that a certain fallback of money, or fame, would put them in a separate category from common peasants, so they wouldn’t be beholden to the accountability common peasants have to take to keep people around them.

America continues to grow in the direction of serfdom, leaving most of its wealth with an elite class that represents 1% of the population. It’s…


the capitalist world forces us to see our fellow person as a competitor. we measure the value of others by their ability to fight back.

one of something must die for another to survive. this militancy bleeds into our political parties. binary, because we are binary in thought.

we are so policed in our own minds that we’ve lost our propensity for new ideas, and are formulaic in our conception of them. the people find comfort in stale nostalgia. we ask for more re-tellings and reboots in books and media. …


I used to stay up late, staring at the backlight of a laptop with a broken fan, wondering if I had the grit to beat down publishing’s door forever.

It insists on its hermitage as much as its hatred for dark-skinned people. It fights to maintain a limited worldview. It cherry picks which stories deserve to be delivered to the grand stage.

Now that I’ve gotten into this network, I wonder at night how to free myself on the page despite writing underneath its expectations.

If my contracts were cancelled tomorrow, and my checks revoked, and future checks denied, I…


It’s been nearly two hundred years since Ida B. Wells said we should capitalize the “B” in Black when referring to Black people.

Today, Kirkus announced that 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests have informed a new decision to capitalize Black in all future articles when referring to people of African diaspora.

Oh, and they will also be capitalizing “white.” And there is a James Brown lyric in the middle of the statement, which connects to nothing.

Anyway. The statement seems to root itself in the argument that making “white” lowercase and Black uppercase denies the uncomfortable legacy of whiteness and…


“Americans have a problem with the limits we impose on our imagination.” — Senator Bernie Sanders

I supported Bernie Sanders for president in 2016 and I’m supporting him again in 2020. In a word, I feel that he’s the candidate I can trust. It’s rare to find a politician whose ethics I don’t have to question, but Bernie is one of few who distinguishes himself from a political establishment dominated by moneyed interests.

Bernie was the first politician to teach me that the U.S. has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any major country. And the effects of that…


Growing up, tuning into the Oscars was a tradition for my mother and me. As thrilled as I was to see new movies throughout the year, I was equally pumped for the chance to see the most innovative and culturally relevant films rewarded on the highest stage of artistic merit.

I don’t watch the Oscars anymore, nor do I go to the movies very often, because I feel we’re stranded in a place of artistic stagnation. Fresh concepts are the exception rather than the norm. …


Navigating an industry structured around the sensibilities of the Cishet White Woman feels like walking a tightrope of barbed wire, where every other step will impale me.

The Cishet White Woman — singular — is an institutional property, just like “whiteness” itself. She represents an ideology, a power structure, rather than a person, or persons, themselves. You do not have to physically be a cishet white women to be serving the Cishet White Woman.

The Cishet White Woman to the Black Gay Man, is an oppressor. …


I can’t help but notice parallels of discrimination against people of color whenever controversies like American Dirt come up. They always point to how strongly systemic whiteness functions among industry gatekeepers and bars people of color from access to the industry.

Publishing is a business tied to long-held fears of slave insurrection, and anti-literacy laws that barred Black people from reading, which adds context to why white-centric stories are held in higher esteem. When stories about people of color are valued, they are more valued if they’re by white people, or written with the white gaze in mind.

Publishing does…


School is a scam. Now we said it.

I caught my first whiff of corruption in the third grade, when a teacher who had no business being so close to my face, leaned aggressively over my desk and barked, “Why aren’t you doing your accelerated reader?”

I guess I’d fallen short of credits. I simply didn’t read the books I was told to, because there were too many that I genuinely wanted to read.

Mrs. Hill took my defiance to the administration, and ran a semester-long campaign to convince them I was autistic and should be placed in special education.


Earlier this week The Los Angeles Review of Books published a piece called Comping White, wherein Laura B. McGrath reminded us of the harrowing fact that publishing is 86% white.

The article explored comp titles, and how they maintain the status quo by forcing authors of color to compare our work to what’s already out there. We do this to determine “salability” when on submission to publishers. We compare our books to books that have sold well previously to create a projection for how they will do.

I’m glad someone addressed comp titles, because I’ve always felt stifled by the…

Ryan Douglass

frequent writer, occasional talker.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store