An excerpt from “A Response to ‘On Pandering’” by Nichole Perkins:
Unless it’s to support someone I know or explicitly recommended, I no longer read white men. It’s not to make a political statement so much as I’m tired of seeing the world through their eyes. If you asked me to name my literary influences, it would probably take an hour before a white man appeared.
Jane says: Same. Same. Same. A friend texted me about Perkins’s article at the exact moment I liked it on Twitter. While I appreciate Claire Vaye Watkins’s honesty in “On Pandering,” a quasi confession, I felt alienated by the piece. For a female POC who has always been searching for a connection through reading, writing for the literary gatekeepers is treading cold water. Perkins is so on point when she writes, “Watkins demands we create our own canons instead of trying to find our place in that built by old white men in ivy league towers. I’ve already done that.” I have, too. I have found Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz, Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, Sylvia Watanabe, Lee Cataluna, Nelinia Cabiles, Sally-Jo Keala-o-Anuenue Bowman, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Nora Okja Keller and fallen in love with each of them, sating certain pains, but there is still more to say. Thankfully, they have cracked the door for me, you and others.