Diversity: A Literary and Social Issue

The sense of “Community” in the writing world is very important—us writers collaborate with our ideas, viewpoints, etc. Sometimes some people aren’t as acknowledged as others. Some voices aren’t heard. And a lot of people have tried to make a change for the better.

This idea is illustrated in the essay “Diversity is not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing” written by Daniel Jose Older. Older goes into detail on how there is oppression of different races in literature (in his case, the Latino community.) He speaks on how the oppression really impacts an entire race:

“These are the moments we self-censor, we sidestep, pirouette, tiptoe, softspeak, do whatever it takes to not get too deep into the tricky race and racism quagmire. We do it because we want to be published…” (155).

In another class I am attending, we analyzed an essay written by Gloria Anzaldua who speaks on why different languages and oppression aren’t good as a whole, a big topic in that class since we read the piece. For example, if someone is heard speaking Arabic in a public place  another person might feel threatened or scared considering the stigma behind their culture. So that person begins to censor themselves, working on their English and trying to erase that part of them so they can fit into the American society as much as they can. And that’s how it can tie in with Older’s claims. With Older, he speaks on censorship in writing so the writer can be more accepted in the writing community. With Anzaldua, her statement is in its own way about censorship of a person and their whole identity.

And by speaking out about this issue each author has tried to change the issue in the writing community and in the world as a whole. In Older’s essay he speaks on even though diversity is important, it isn’t enough saying it’s “only one step of a long journey” (163). Which is true. More has to be done with trying to bring light onto different people and writers, not just celebrating more diversity but making more of an effort to really push for what needs to be done.

 

Cameo Napoli

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2 thoughts on “Diversity: A Literary and Social Issue

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  1. I agree with many of the topics discussed within this post. Many minority groups are not properly identified in popular novels and other literary pieces and it’s a problem that hasn’t had much notable progress. It’s a controversial issue that speaks volumes when looked over many of the most famous novels and movies now a days. Characters are just assumed white in most things. If a main character is of a different ethnicity, like the women in “Hidden Figures”, there’s an explanation as to why the main characters of a story have to be that way. They couldn’t have filmed that movie with white actors and have it be the same story.

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  2. Cameo, good connection between our reading of Older’s essay and the reading of Anzaldua that you’re doing for another class. Interesting comments on how the issue isn’t just the censoring done by the dominant culture, but the way this results in self-censoring (of identify, of language, of accent) by any who aren’t part of that dominant culture.

    In a few places, grammar or sentence issues make things unclear. For instance, I first read your claim that “different languages and oppression aren’t good as a whole” to mean that “different languages aren’t good” in the same way that “oppression [isn’t] good” (which would be a concerning statement!). I don’t think this is what you’re saying… I think you’re saying the oppression *of* different languages is bad. But further sentence clarity (hear and elsewhere) would strengthen the post.

    To expand the post, you might include the name of the Anzaldua essay (and some quotes from it!). You could also talk more about the video you’ve linked.

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