Publisher Penguin Random House conducted a diversity audit of its contributors and recently released its findings.
The company stated:
We have a responsibility to achieve greater inclusion not only within our workforce population, but also throughout the community of creative and original voices we publish. And we know that our mission to publish books for everyone can be accomplished only if our Contributors’ demographics better represent the society we live in.
The company added that in June 2020, it “reaffirmed our commitment to foster greater diversity, equity, and inclusion within our company and throughout the publishing industry, and our commitment to increase the number of books we publish, promote, market, and sell by Contributors of color.”
In order to get closer to this marker, the group did an audit of its U.S. publishing programs and dialed in on the “race and ethnicity” of its contributors. The discoveries will reportedly help the company decide its next moves and “measure progress.”
In the audit, the contributors were notably allowed to “self-identify,” which the publisher says it intends to keep allowing. The company also stated that it got a 53% response rate.
“Our outreach consisted of an email campaign to the Contributors and personalized follow-ups from editors. We achieved a 53% response rate. When compared with the rates for the 2019 U.S. Census (52%) and Lee & Low’s Diversity Survey (36%), our response rate provided a sufficient sample for meaningful analysis. In total, 3,415 Contributors completed the survey,” it noted.
The group found that, of its respondents, 74.9% of its U.S. contributors are white, 23.5% are BIPOC (which typically stands for ‘Black, Indigenous, People of Color’), and 1.7% preferred not to say.
The company also compared its contributors and its U.S. employees against the U.S. population. It found that its employee and contributor demographics were not consistent with the population of the United States.
It stated, “the Hispanic or Latinx, Black or African American, and Indigenous representation is low in comparison to the U.S. overall.”
Notably, in its additional demographic composition table, it showed that 61% are women, while 34% are men.
The group outlined several strategic methods to change the demographics and have more BIPOC contributors, as the company is “not in the place [it] would like to be.”
The group also stated something that might be considered controversial.
It said a “major outcome of this project will be ongoing integration of demographic data collection into our normal business practices, including the questionnaire used when onboarding Contributors at the time of acquisition,” which could imply that demographics will be a factor when onboarding contributors.
Conservative writers and commentators have spoken out against censorship when it comes to publishers not promoting their work. Conservative authors, such as The Daily Wire’s Candace Owens, have been targeted and sidelined rather than promoted.
As The Daily Wire reported in July, “the CEO of American Bookseller’s Association, a non-profit trade association that promotes independent bookstores, apologized for accidentally including a cover image of Candace Owens’ book ‘Blackout’ in a publicity post on its website.”
“Calling Owens’ book ‘racist’ and equating it to ‘violence,’ Allison Hill said the post, uploaded on July 7, was intended to promote the work of black fiction writers. The book the ABA meant to highlight was a collection of teen romance stories with the same title,” The Daily Wire noted.
“[Hill] then promised that the 121-year-old organization will put new processes in place to prevent mistakes like promoting conservative African-American authors from happening again in the future,” The Daily Wire added.
“Owens hit back at the ABA, calling for an apology and accusing Hill and the group of ‘unspeakable, explicit racism’ and slander for their characterization of Owen’s book, ‘Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation,’” The Daily Wire further reported.
“For those of you that don’t know, the CEO of American Bookseller’s Association (@ABAbook) recently sent around an email, apologizing for promoting my book and labeling my book as racist. The [sic] is the CEO, Allison Hill, who sees no irony in calling a black woman racist,” Owens said in a tweet.
“I am calling for a public apology from @ABAbook and Allison Hill. It is an act of unspeakable, explicit racism for a white woman to send around an e-mail slandering and denigrating an autobiographical book from a black woman who came from nothing. We cannot accept this racism,” she added.
I am calling for a public apology from @ABAbook and Allison Hill. It is an act of unspeakable, explicit racism for a white woman to send around an e-mail slandering and denigrating an autobiographical book from a black woman who came from nothing.
We cannot accept this racism. https://t.co/0aCk47Xbvd
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 11, 2021
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