That’s a TERRIBLE pun.
Earlier in the month a latinx writer posted a tweet that’s been jammed in my fucking craw regarding the insistence of many that POC and LGBTQIA writers MUST write of the burden that is being one of the marginalized.
Not naming names mostly to avoid drudging up trolls on anyone’s TL, so you’ll have to deal with that and imagine a tweet in your precious head.
That said, why is there an insistence that marginalized writers focus on their own or the very hard times they’ve experienced? Why are writers like me expected to focus on pain, grief, and injustice without the privilege of escapism?
ARE WE NOT BEACH READS AS WELL?
Jokes aside, it’s a troubling concept. It seems that even in expressing ourselves, the only role some see for marginalized writers is as a tool for the “betterment” of those who aren’t marginalized. Seriously, how many “woke” people you know that quote Coates and Gaye all fucking day long while walking across the street clutching their handbag or back pocket at the first sight of a black kid? In light of recent events, how many of those who espouse the merits of poets like Neruda step back in silence as children of similar heritage are locked away?
I’m using extreme examples and know it but the double standard is extreme and exhausting. What’s the larger play? Is there an issue with normalizing marginalized authors to the point where we can release cleverly punned cozy mysteries that take place in the projects? Is there a problem with the idea that marginalized people are capable of smiling or playing within their own worlds without bringing in the heaviness of prejudice?
In a world of Trumpism, don’t we all deserve the ability to be a little breezier in our art? Two years ago you had assholes all talking up the great art that would arise out of intense struggle and pain but what if that art’s leaning into pure silliness? What if that silliness is completely rooted in the experience of the ones hurting most?
Is the issue relatability? That’s bullshit. There’s plenty of art out there clearly created without me in mind that I’ve enjoyed immensely. If you ask me, it’s merely an insistence on being coddled that drives a lot of these issues. The idea of needing to code switch (even minimally) is uncomfortable and inconvenient, so folks create excuses and straw men to derail the effort.
Change is scary like that, y’all.
You’re going to hear a lot about my thoughts on this as more POC and LGBTQIA writers join me on the podcast. I’m exhausted of being looked down on for my own writing because it hasn’t included a Puerto Rican or like, sadness of eternal darkness or whatever, and I’m damn sure there are many who feel the same say.
It’s a lot to navigate, though, and frankly; it can get dark, angry, and a little off-kilter (all those things people demand!) but the road to change is always ugly.
Here’s to everyone writing that beach read some day.
Oh, and my next two books are ALL about Puerto Ricans. Gird your fucking loins.