On Race, Writing, Academics, and Literary Adventures

This is a link to an article by Junot Diaz in regards to writing MFA programs, and how they impacted People of Color (POC), and even racial sensitivity and points of view. I thought it was a good read, and wanted to share.

The article also touches on a point, as some people don’t understand the elements of different cultures, but rather have an imagined versions of other people/cultures. It makes for some terrible writings, that multiple friends told me they’ve read (for example, the minority being the thug, drug dealer, or career criminal exclusively in stories written by whites). That’s not to say this happens all the time, and by every writer. it does slap a person in the face, when this is the best they can see from totters who are their peers.

I’ve read writers and editors say things that they don’t want to be politically correct to fill quota of some sort when fans of different cultures ask/request inclusion in stories. The responses sometimes come off as brash, rude, and openly hostile. It doesn’t have to be like that. Sometimes not knowing about a person’s background can limit how one writes a character, but my friends always remind me that approaching a character as a person first always helps. It means looking past the skin, and sometimes the gender. The article reminded me of the things I’ve seen.

As an artist, and a former cinema studies student. I remember not wanting to be the “go to” person when it came to writing and discussing minorities only if that meant that’s all I could discuss. At the same time, I wasn’t the guy who was there to tolerate the foolishness that came from lack of insight to races. It’s a fine line. I mentioned this once, but an instructor once stated that multicultural theory demands that an artist depict exclusively about issues that address my culture. I found that to be a very narrow way for me to be accepted. I rejected that notion. There’s so much more for us all to see and experience. For example, I am a minority from the south, who happened to work in academics, occasionally female-dominated jobs (the stuff I heard-really another post-but it informed my POV on professionalism, corporations, academics, and human nature).

I’m more than my ethnicity. I’ve seen and experienced all sorts of good and bad events that have shaped my life.  This is more than I intended to discuss with that article, but I thought it was more than worth talking about. Two posts in a day? I’m on a roll.

Happy creative endeavors.

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