By Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When it comes to reading, race can matter.
A young black male has a better chance of getting teased for reading books instead of playing sports. Black children are less likely to have parents who read to them at an early age and expose them to books.
Until recently, black adults were largely ignored by some book publishers who believed black people don't read books. And many black people had not been reading books because there were fewer books on the market that appealed to them.
"The racial disparity in reading is a reflection of the differences in the kinds of backgrounds that children enjoy," said Helen Faison, director of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute at Chatham University.
"We have to surround children early on with reading," Ms. Faison said. "You have to create an environment where books are everywhere."
The audience for black readers has grown, but it seems black women represent the larger reading population among blacks.
As an African-American novelist, Brandon Massey is part of a small cadre of writers who earn a livelihood spinning suspense thrillers that appeal to black people who enjoy fiction.
While the main characters in his novels are black men, his audience, for the most part, is black women.