Diversity: A Literary and Social Issue

The sense of “Community” in the writing world is very important— writers collaborate with their ideas and views to share creativity and influence. Sometimes some people aren’t as acknowledged as others. Voices are left unheard. And 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).

Older expresses that voices are left unheard because they aren’t spoken: meaning, people are afraid to use their voices because they don’t want to be looked down upon for their ideas and how they present themselves.

In an essay written by Gloria Anzaldua titled “La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Conciousness” she speaks on this idea as well: why the oppression of different languages isn’t good because it lessens the variety of voices in the writing community and it makes people fearful to speak. For example, if someone is heard speaking Arabic in a public place  (video of a YouTuber doing so: the video has since been controversial because of the man’s background as a jokester but it still helps to make a point) 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.

By speaking out about this issue each author has tried to change the issue in the writing community and in the world. 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 should 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.

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