Friday, January 28, 2011

This is, of course, nothing against my fellow writers in the Fine Arts programs across the nation. But never has it been so truly voiced for writer's of color mired in the rhetoric of the university (and other such institutions). There is a great deal of discouraging that goes on in these large institutions that do not quite understand the sense of social responsibility minority writers are born into. Sandra here, towards the end, suggests the social responsibility pressed upon women of color. The same can be said for men of color who feel many of the same responsibilities manifested in different ways. When you are a writer of color, a black writer, a chicano essayist, a vietnamese poet--you have to expect that those who will be reading your work are people who are like you. But what if the people who are like you cannot appreciate writing because they are below the poverty line? What if your audience, the people you write for, cannot read or even understand you? An overwhelming sense of isolation settles into our bones. Why keep writing when you know, somewhere, someone who looks and sounds like you can use some real help? Not just an enlightening poem. If you are a writer of color in the institutions of higher education--expect that few, very few professors will be able to guide you through the tumult. Expect that professors who understand your background may not be willing to fight for you. No one will fight for you. So what are you left with? What are you willing to do to preserve your freedom to continue writing with a social consciousness? It is a question we come to daily. All of us.

-Andrew E. Colarusso

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