At a conference in 2010, I heard Gabrielle Foreman of U. Delaware say something that’s stuck with me ever since:
For students from white-collar families, asking for help is called networking. For first-generation students, and students of color, asking for help is called begging, and they won’t do it.
I have rarely heard anything as true as that. If you’re a working-class kid, you’re taught from the tricycle onward to figure it out yourself, to keep working, to suck it up and do it again and take care of your own problems. Nobody’s gonna help you but yourself, and people in power are not your friends.
But I’m going to overcome my origins today, and make a request. If you’ve appreciated some of my work, whether on this website or in my books, tell your friends. If the work has mattered to you, or changed your mind, or given you pause to think about something you might not previously have considered, tell your friends. As the novelist Peter Ho Davies once said to me, “It makes no sense for writers to be greedy for money, but we can absolutely be greedy for readers.”
Thanks. We will return shortly to your regularly scheduled programming.