Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Even Latina Authors Get the Blues
I spend a lot of time thinking about books. I think about writing books, reading books and promoting books. I like talking to other authors about their writing process and I think about how I can get both of my books, Hair Story:Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America and Kinky Gazpacho into the hands of Oprah Winfrey and the Obama family. What I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about is the plight of Latina authors and the books they write.
What, with Junot Diaz running around winning every award known to man, I kind of figured Latino/a authors were hot right now. But then I read this heart wrenching blog post by Latina author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. (If the link doesn't take you directly to the post, go to her diary and read the post from Tuesday, April 6). In it, Rodriguez rips the curtain off the presumed success of Latina authors, herself included, and rages against a racist culture that doesn't know what to do with Latino/a authors who don't want to write stereotypes of the Latin lifestyle. She rants:
"Then there is the issue of non-Latinos and my work. Because I do not write of Latinos as pitiable in any way, or from the dominant perspective of us (as do Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros, etc.) I am spurned in literary circles. If I wrote of Latinos as struggling, poor, miserable (like this post, for instance) I would have had a much easier time being noticed by, say, The New York Times, where the only valid story of Latinos must be one of tragedy and sorrow, barrios and gangbangers."
Ouch! This sounds so familiar. If you can, read the rest of the post and see if you learn something. I did. Now I know that it's not just Black authors struggling, even Latina authors get the blues. Perhaps Valdes-Rodriguez should start a website like my friend Carleen Brice who created the website White Readers Meet Black Authors when her frustration at Seg-Book-Gation became too great.
My goodness, I'll be so happy when all books will not only be created equally, but read equally.
And Speaking of Books. THE WINNER OF KATHLEEN GRISSOM'S, THE KITCHEN HOUSE IS ... Pernicious Panda!!!!
Pernicious, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address and we'll send you your book right away. Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered.