Time and time again, the literary establishment seizes on the story of a writer who meets inordinate obstacles, including financial struggles, crippling self-doubt, and rejection across the board, only to finally achieve the recognition and success they deserve. The halls of the literary establishment echo with tales of now-revered writers who initially faced failure, from Stephen King (whose early novel Carrie was rejected 30 times before being published), to Alex Haley (whose epic Roots was rejected 200 times in eight years). This arc is the literary equivalent of the American Dream, but like the Dream itself, the romantic narrative hides a more sinister one. Focusing on how individual artists should persist in the face of rejection obscures how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few, often in a fundamentally unmeritocratic way
I.e. you could say the winner-take-all game is even more brutally lop-sided in the realm of literature than other arts. Of course white guys obviously don't feel like the game is rigged in their favor "that" much or we wouldn't have had the year's earlier controversy about the white guy passing himself off as Asian American to get published in a volume that Sherman Alexie edited. From Alexie's standpoint, as he so eloquently put it, he was trying to see to it that the volume wasn't completely dominated by poetry teachers.