Another month, another controversy!This time it is the recent release, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Personally, I have not read it (nor am I interested in it). For those who know little about Cummins or American Dirt, it is a novel about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who migrates to the United Staets of America.
Sounds alright…. right?
Well, you’d be wrong. This book is insanely ‘problematic’ because, you know, Cummins is apparently, a white woman. As I write this blog post, a book signing in Pasadena has been cancelled, and Oprah Winfrey had to respond to the backlash she received for promoting Cummins’ work. Wow! All because an author is indulging in ‘cultural appropriation’ and belongs to the ‘wrong’ race.
Excuse me as I throw up.
Judging a novel by the author’s race is the textbook definition of racism. You can screech all you like about how white people can’t experience racism because of systematic inequality, but that doesn’t matter. It is racist, gross and unfair to reduce a work of literature down to the skin colour of an author. Period.
Not only that, but authors do not need permission to write whatever they want to. As a writer myself, I am free to write whatever I please. That’s my right as a writer and as a creative. The idea that you have to be a certain ‘race’ or belong to a certain ‘group’ to talk about an issue is rather evil. I’m sure if legends such as George Orwell or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn were alive today, they’d have a field day with the modern state of publishing.
Let me put this in simple and basic terms. Writers, you do not need permission to write. You can create whatever world you want. And so what if someone finds it offensive? Last time I checked, offending people isn’t a crime akin to murder. As writers, we must be strong. Do not, under any circumstances, allow your writing to be dictated by someone who understands little about free speech and literature.
Write books that change the world. Create stories that disrupt the status quo. Now is the time for strong writing!
And if you are part of the #ownvoices crowd on Twitter? Get a life and stop being a bigot. People don’t have to be a certain ‘race’ to write. Look, I know, part of writing a blog is being sympathetic to those who disagree with me. I get that, and I try. But I have absolutely no tolerance for Twitter cowards and bullies. The way the #ownvoices crowd have acted on Twitter is atrocious. They seem to be under the impression that being offended suddenly means they have permission to act in the most heinous way.
Well, you don’t.
In conclusion, this American Dirt controversy is insanely sad to anyone with a sane brain. Let’s hope that publishing never goes down this line, where you have to be a certain race or belong to a particular group to tell a certain story.
What do you think about the American Dirt controversy? Comment below!