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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

For the record,

as much as I love certain pulpy writers and their novels, I am occasionally, shall we say, chafed by how absent we are from their stories. From their lives. Oh geez. Outright: I'm tired of reading lily-white books. Even when they are fun, good books, I am amazed at how absolutely absent non-whites are from white consciousness. Amazed. I mean, usually, the most we warrant is some sort of low-level character, described solely by race and set up for some tiny situation for main character. I know it is indicative of how very separate most of this country is. I know, really, that there aren't nearly as many close friendships across color lines as I'd hope there would be, but still. Jesus H. Cornwallis Christ. I think part of the reason I like Caryl Phillips and even depressing-as-hell Hanif Kureishi is that they have no qualms about stepping outside their own experiences to write. Middle aged white female protagonist? No problem, despite the fact that they are black and brown males, and the stories do not suffer. (Of course, they are both Brit-lit writers and one could argue that the desire to write such characters is itself a problem, a sort of catering to the mainstream.) But here we seem to stick to writing our races, almost exclusively. Meh. Also, why are my non-black, non-white friends not nearly as bothered by this as I am? Do they just not talk to me about it? Is is just not as big a deal for them? What?

2 Comments:

At 6/28/2005 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Zantiferous3 said...

Interesting. You know, I have some white and non-white non-black friends and we've talked about this very topic!!! I have surmised that for some... and I qualify this by saying SOME... non-white/non-blacks... this is a non-issue simply because they IDENTIFY with the white experience, so in a sense they DO feel represented, and do not feel a void with regard to the dearth of characters that reflect their actual heritage.

Most of my non-black/non-white friends grew up playing with white dolls, had mostly white friends, went to predominantly white schools (where they dated white boys), went on to get a job, where they worked with mostly white people, and some married into white families and had half-white children.

In light of that being the experience of many of my own non-white/non-black friends, (not that I'm assuming anything about your own friends) I'm really not surprised that your non-black/non-white friends are equally unaffected. *shrug*

 
At 6/29/2005 12:56:00 AM, Blogger ding said...

oh, sid, i hear you. for that reason i have moved to reading non-fiction. i'm tired of these lily white worlds of vanilla fiction representing 'reality' (especially in urban settings) while i, miss brown thing, cannot escape whiteness. i'm drowning in it, i've been feeling lately.

but then i look around me and see that in my own circle of friends, i'm as close to negritude they'll ever get. all my brown friends are on the west coast. sigh.

 

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