What Literature Can Teach Us About Contemporary Self-identity
The award-winning movie, “The Green Book” concerned the Black community. Here was a book that was designed for one purpose, to keep Black people safe in a violently racist country. Alive.
A book warning Black travelers about places as wicked as the “sundown towns” that still exists today.
The Black community was concerned. Here we go again.
White people taking Black pain and trauma, whitewashing it down, and selling it to consumers by adding a little Hollywood sheen and marketing.
Forget about the true story. Forget about the terror, the justice and accountability that never came, the pain or the massive loss.
Mute that. Forget that. Minimize that.
A regular occurrence and an infinitely infuriating one because in all of this, the silencing of the Black person’s terrifying and deadly encounters with racism continues. By design.
Well then, I wondered if people truly understand how so-called “self-identity” further silences the voices of oppressed persons.
Classic abusive tactic. Make an entire group of people and their pain disappear and you can continue to inflict more pain on them while claiming that they are just whining. You’re not really hurting them “that much.”
So, if we put down our continued demands for authenticity in literature…..
What about all those calls for more diversity in storytelling voices? If a white male can ‘identify’ into oppression, what would stop mainstream publishing from continuing to pay white males to write what they believe Black womanhood is all about.
Then selling that story to Hollywood.
Then cleaning up at awards shows, including those founded on recognizing the gifts and talents of minorities who are left out of other more white founded and centered award shows.
I wonder how women of every race would feel if males decided that this IS inclusion. All they need to do is get a white male to “identify” as a woman and write a tale about the ‘authentic lives of women’.
So far, women have sounded alarms about self-identity because of valid concerns around safety. People mocked, sniggled, and giggled at the notion. Just wait until concerns finally land further along Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.