Gentlemen ( and I am addressing you and Hersh),

While I absolutely see your frustration and your points, I am not sure that I would make the above assumption until such time as you can in fact get an answer from Medium. I enjoy- and very much value-both comments and writing from voices of color and culture all over the world. As someone who has worked in diversity I completely agree with you that being paid for damned good work is only fair. However, I might also point out a few things: first, that Medium is growing very fast, perhaps too fast, for it to keep up with the burgeoning demands of both its writers and readers.

Second, the virus hit us hard right about the time you wrote the CEO. I might posit this just isn’t the time.

Third, I might offer a perspective. Ajit, I publish at least two or more articles a day. A DAY. I’m a prize-winning journalist and author. Last year I barely made ten grand for the entire year, much less a month. Those on Medium who love to crow about ten grand a month? Please. First, I would posit that most are supplementing their income through email subscriptions, speaking engagements and posting in other places for pay. Most of us get, if we’re lucky, about $5.00 lifetime for a story. It is unreasonable to expect that the ten grand a month claim is either real or sustainable, certainly not just from writing on Medium. That’s an opinion. My readership plummeted from 85k a month to perhaps 40k a month since the virus began, so I am now back to effectively chump change in the American market.

Fourth, and this is offered with respect, stories about working conditions in Bangladesh, while there is a market for them, are not as likely to find eyeballs and claps in America and elsewhere as much as someone’s writing about how to lose that extra ten pounds. What you and I as journalists may feel is important may not fit the general mood or zeitgeist of those whose eyeballs would pay the rent. What I write about, travel, for example, has tanked. For good reason. I also write about healthy aging and other topics that tend to get attention. What is relevant in your world may well not play very well in Poughkeepsie, New York for these reasons: the topics don’t have immediate impact on the lives of the majority of readers, those readers don’t travel enough for them to have an interest in Indian sub-continent problems, and world citizens aren’t particularly common in most of America.

I don’t mean to insult my fellow Americans, but most of us don’t tend to concern ourselves with issues beyond what Kim Kardashian is wearing. The virus is of course changing that but you get what I mean. Many, many Americans are not only ignorant about the virus, but are scoffing at it, or blaming China.

That is your audience, Ajit. It’s sobering indeed. I write about issues that speak to life in Africa, the plight of endangered mammals. Those articles are what I care about. I get far more attention on a piece that I wrote about letting my hair go grey.

You see my point. Kindly, the average well-educated, middle-class sub-continental Indian traveler that I have met in my travels knows more about basic American history than some college kid getting his PhD. Those do know who Snooki is (I don’t) Lizzo’s latest hit and her body measurements (I don’t).

If I may, it pays to be a little more aware of who the primary audiences are that we’re writing for. While your topics are indeed important, right now everyone is reading about Covid-19. When things calm down, it would behoove all of us to think about what topics would help people get back on their feet.

It doesn’t serve to threaten or posture, Ajit. Medium, like many other organizations, is dealing with demands to keep up, and is constantly changing. I seriously doubt that the original folks ever imagined that readership would have expanded so fast. Nor that those of us who write for them would have expanded. To be fair, it’s the classic 80–20 rule; most of the money is made by the top few. I’m making more than most, but nowhere near what the people at the top claim. Frankly, I don’t believe them either. Not now. I would read those claims with a very large block of salt.

So with respect, rather than go after Medium for their payment processes or accusing them for specifically denying African or Asian voices, I might watch for a while. Because everything is in flux, and the choices this company made at the beginning probably fit what they thought was likely. I don’t know that, but I think that it’s an evolving situation. Those of us on this side who are directly affected by fast-changing policies as well as constant changes in how we’re paid howl regularly. Everyone complains, Ajit.

However that doesn’t move us forward. I would prefer to think that they are trying to figure out how to accommodate rapid growth, and the constant demands of all the writers and readers. You and I are one of millions. Millions.

The Western world largely disregards if not outright demeans any voices that are not white male, which would include white female. Those are deeply entrenched prejudices. Kindly, I can find people in our Deep South with barely a kindergarten education who deem themselves smarter than and superior to a Black neurosurgeon. Please. Don’t get me started. It’s just appalling. But this country has been moving backwards at speed and declining for a long time. If I tried to explain to many people here about the Kenyan man I just interviewed, who has multiple degrees and is clearly one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (and as someone who has worked at the hightest levels of previous Administrations, I’ve met some very smart people) they’d be gobsmacked. Confirmation bias. It’s as bad as this virus.

I might agree with you, in a lot of ways. However let’s put things in the larger perspective. Everything is in flux right now and is likely to stay that way for a while. Patience, Ajit. Maybe not in my life time (I’m 67), maybe not in yours. But birthrates alone dictate that the American face will be majority brown or Black by about mid-century. Whether people like it or not is going to be a mostly moot point by then.

Stay tuned. I think it’s going to be interestingt.

Written by

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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