Friday, March 16, 2012

Writing While Marginalized - Pt. 5

How do other folks who are members of historically marginalized groups, and who write about race and gender and sexuality, wrestle with writing for mainstream spaces? Do they? Should we? Are there topics writers will not or should not discuss outside of a "safe space"? Are there story ideas writers reserve for "of color" or GLBT spaces?

I asked some smart, writerly, social justice-minded folks to weigh in. And I'll be sharing their thinking all this week. Today, Jennifer of Mixed Race America, and more from Christopher MacDonald Dennis.

JENNIFER (Mixed Race America)

This has been a very rich discussion to read, and I appreciate Tami giving me an opportunity to add my own thoughts to this rich mix.

Others have echoed many of the concerns and misgivings that I have in having conversations about race and my specific racial community (Asian Americans) in a larger mainstream context.

However, let me add another dimension to this.

Recently, colleagues of mine who study/research/write about Asian American communities have been trying to figure out how we can have more of a voice in MSM. There is so much invisibility of Asian Americans--and what little coverage there is often is rendered in very sterotypical terms. We have wondered how we can have more of a voice in sharing our own stories and histories to educate others, especially around social justice issues. Interestingly enough, Jeremy Lin has provided an avenue into this, as I’ve seen colleagues of mine featured on the CNN website writing about Asian Americans and trying to educate people about the history of Asians in America.

And one of the things I think about when I see their pieces in MSM isn’t just that they are making visible a whole community that has largely been invisible, but that it’s quite powerful to see your community legitimzed in MSM. For all that MSM is problematic, for all that the dominant society is problematic, it is also true that it feels empowering to have a voice.


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