Monday, April 26, 2010
rita dove on post-racial literature
there are a few different ways to complicate this, though i identify with the heart of what she's saying. while it would certainly be easier if black reference points were universally understood and valued and the notion of "mainstream" was expanded to include all types of references, there's definitely something valuable in writing from a culturally distinct standpoint. more than simply insisting upon their presence, i think black arts movement writers did invaluable and necessary work to affirm a black aesthetic at a historically critical point.
its frustrating to me that she finds it frustrating to have to explain black reference points in a poem, and even more frustrating that she thinks she has to explain them in the first place.
when it comes to writing--our love work-- easier can't be the goal. instead, work that's informed by honesty, whatever that truth ends up being, is the only way forward.
and, co-sign: of course "we" haven't had the conversations about race and privilege. i'll take her "we" to be a "they," and what they look like, crazy? they definitely aren't tryna undo all this on GP. even when there exist such flowery phrases as "post-racial," freddie d's wisdom still stands: power concedes nothing without a demand.