November 26, 2012

Writing Race: western/othered literature

I want to engage an early point made in this article. Gates notes that canonized literature is literature written by white people, mostly men, and asks why the literature of other cultures is considered specific to their culture and not part of a universal canon. I think that this is because white experiences are considered to be universal and the experiences of people of color is considered to be other. This is harmful because it sets anyone who is not white as an other, someone that cannot be related to unless they are like you. I also think, though, that in some ways having a distinct branch of literature can be beneficial. For instance, I took a class on Latin American Lit, being Latina myself. Because this type of literature was not absorbed as 'universal canon' I was able to read literature specifically by and about people from similar cultural backgrounds to myself. I think that in order to not other various cultural literature, it should be admitted that what is considered universal canon should rightfully be labeled as white literature, or something similar. Admit that it is what it is.

1 comment:

Nicola Wood said...

I think it is interesting that you point out how "white" experiences are considered universal, while the experiences of other races are not. What kind of experiences do you mean? I also agree that it is worthwhile for some kind of organization of race to exist in the sense of distinct literary branches. I think it is important for culture to be apparent through literature, and the more cultures we have, the more enlightened our society will become.

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