An excerpt from “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang:
White supremacy tries to reduce people of color to our traumas. Resisting white supremacy means insisting that we are more than our traumas. One quick perusal through the shelves of world literature in any bookstore confirms just what the literary world wants to see from writers of color and writers from developing nations: trauma.
Jane says: I could quote this article all day. ALL. DAY. Gratitude to Jenny Zhang for representing the struggle of writers of color so honestly, deftly, fearlessly and beautifully. Like the article preaches and practices, let’s stand together and rise above:
[F]or those of us who didn’t grow up entitled, those of us who grew up underestimated, underinvited, undersolicited, underacknowledged, underloved, I say let’s expose each other’s excellence. Be greedy and indulgent when you read the work of the poets of color in this year’s BAP like Saeed Jones, Claudia Rankine, Chen Chen, Rajiv Mohabir, Monica Youn, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jericho Brown, Natalie Diaz, Evie Shockley, and Airea D. Matthews. And beyond this book, beyond this moment, I encourage everyone to seek out the work of Asian American poets who weren’t included in the anthology but whose poetry we ought remember long after we forget this white guy in yellowname: Cathy Hong Park, Ken Chen, Tan Lin, Hoa Nguyen, Jason Koo, Jackie Wang, Wendy Xu, Trisha Low, Patrick Rosal, Brandon Shimoda, Bhanu Kapil, Wo Chan, Sally Mao, Ginger Ko, Muriel Leung, Jennifer Nelson, and Geraldine Kim.
Read diverse books. Read women. Read everything, especially the writers not readily available to us. Search for voices and share them. And speak up. Speak up. Speak up.