Lon, lol. You always show up with surprises. On the first thing -- thank you. On the second, agreed. As a society, white men get an easier pass than pretty much anyone else.
On the last one -- no, they sure aren't. I didn't mean to imply popularity means quality. What I meant is that writers who are struggling to grow aren't going to have much luck if they publish crap.
If you read half a dozen "why wasn't this curated" posts on FB, you'll know what I mean by that.
Good to see you -- hope you're well. Have a great long weekend. (How is it already September?)