Recently Hal Niedzviecji, chief editor of Write Magazine, the quarterly published by the Writers Union of Canada, was pressured to resign as a result of his editorial, “Win Appropriation Prize”. His take was that there ought to be no barriers to writing about those we do not “know” and that readers would be the ones to take us to task if we cross the line.
The furor that resulted prompted me to explore the topic of cultural appropriation in writing. It’s a tricky one and the opinions run the gamut from “never” to “anything goes”. Continue reading “Is It Creation or Appropriation?”
by Jo Meserve Mach
The books in everyone’s homes give out powerful messages. These messages can be scary, confusing, exciting, or hopeful.
My job as an Occupational Therapist providing infant-toddler services brought me into many homes where my role was to teach the parents of a child with a developmental delay how to help their child use their abilities. The parents were often reading books about their child’s disabilities. These books were scary and confusing. Continue reading “Children’s Books Featuring Children With Disabilities Say “You Belong””
A recent incident at my writers’ group sparked the idea for my post today. A writer submitted a piece where he offered no description of characters that exposed their race. However, the things he chose to write about the characters did make people wonder what race some of the characters were. The main character was a white man married to a black woman, and there were subtle hints — particularly around hair care — of the race of the wife, but nothing explicit. He’d done this on purpose, with the idea that he wanted the reader to imagine the characters to be however they wanted them to be. One of the ladies there, Pam, asked, “Why? Why would you want to be less specific about them? I’ve never heard a good reason for doing this?” Continue reading “Diversity Is About Inclusion, Not Exclusion”