Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where is the Literary (Black esp.) Female Voice?

Alice Walker
Maya Angelou
Toni Morrison
Terry McMillain
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Zora Neal Hurston
Tsisti Ndangaremba
bell hooks
Ntozake Shange

Straight from the top of my head, this is all I could think of. Yet, if you had asked me to name white authors (male especially) on the other hand, I would probably summon a list far greater than this. Despite the fact that I am a a black female myself. Why is there such a shortage of acclaimed female writers especially those who are of African descent. Is it an issue...yes? Because it does not, as a person who may try to deny racism would say, that Black women cannot write. NO! The work of the above women is not an exception. There exist talented authors in every race and of every gender. But in a world that insists on privileging the white human above all other people's, people of colour especially women of colour have their talents often ignored since we are not expected to have a knack for narrative, or even a brain for that matter. Yes, I took it there. It's no secret that women of colour are thought of as empty-headed. That's why my existence is not only fascinating enough to write about. It would be a shame to hold these experiences to myself. The lives of people of colour are rich with stories of pain, humiliation, oppression, and on the opposite end love, compassion, joy and beauty that it is ridiculous to me to see a lack of writers within this demographic.

Black women, Asian women, Biracial women need to find the bravery to write. It is only with finding the confidence not to give a fuck whether your book will go dusty on the store shelf that one begins the journey of conceiving the first sentence, paragraph and page of that novel or memoir.

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