Behind the Book: Ethics in interviews and storytelling
Love these tips! And whether you want to believe it or not, you are a fantastic interviewer! Your piece on Rachel Dolezal was the first writing of yours I ever read, and the way you were able to retain her humanity without making her sympathetic was absolutely brilliant, and I've been following you ever since. Can't wait for the new book!!
As a writer who does interviews myself, I resonated with every word. Great advice. It's a delicate dance, and checking back with the interviewee for clarity and, sometimes, permission is vital and builds trust for the long haul.
Once in a while I've been an interviewee. The very first time, in 1984 regarding some activism I was involved with, the reporter (from a big name mainstream media outlet) really took liberties with my and my comrades' words to tell the story he wanted to tell. Very educational.
All great tips, thank you. I admire the vigor with which you GET IT ALL DONE! Keep up the very good work.
I'm commenting late on this one but found this advice SO VALUABLE. Filing it away for my conversations with students about conducting and using interviews. I can't wait for this book!
Hello Ijeoma. I listened to your So You Want to Talk About Race audiobook a couple of years ago and just found you on Substack...yay! Also, thank you for the interviewing tips. I appreciate your ethical and caring approach to voices.
I can’t wait to read your book!
I really appreciate your investment and dedication to your writing and that we, as readers, get to read such great information and beautiful stories. You are so amazing!
I’m so excited to read your new book! With the care you’re putting into it, I’m sure your interviewees will shine in the best possible light.
I am so glad to read that someone (anyone, these days) is concerned about ethics. Specifically, about attempting to be true to another's words and intentions. Bravo.
I presume that you will get the okay from each interviewee when you arrive at your final draft. That "okay" s probably about all you can expect. Our society today is looking for opportunities to respond to perceived insults with what I call "zingers." Sarcastic put downs. People will read sarcasm into what you write, and then react to the sarcasm THEY put there. Ho hum. I infer that you are prepared.
That line... “like I was Ron Howard narrating Arrested Development.” !!!!! Sooo good. Can’t wait to read this masterpiece. And your work ethic around getting the quotes right reminds me of Janet Cheatham Bell’s Still Rising, Famous Black Quotations For the 21st Century- the precision with Black Folx’s words is like Bisa Butler’s quilt portraits- reconstructing the elegance and poignance and majesty of a people who were always Royal. Slay Queen Slay 🖤 👑 ⚔️
Your voice and your method meld
Beautiful! I can’t wait to read these wonderful stories!