Monday, July 17, 2017

It is if you believe there's a human race …

… Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Appropriate? - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The more salient point is that Nat Turner was allowed to tell his story before he died, whereas Tom Molineaux’s story consists only in what British journalists said about him; and in both cases, a certain skepticism is advisable. Molineaux’s story, however, begs for amplification, and I, for one, believe I can speak for him as well as I could for a Jew who lived in Spain around 1600 AD or in Italy in 1935. No doubt there are any number of people who know more about the Regency than I do, and a smaller number who know more about the free black community in London around 1810, and a smaller number still who are familiar with the London Prize Ring, but I’m pretty sure that none of them knows as much as I do about all three subjects. Does this make me qualified to write about Molineaux? In a word, yes. Whether I do a good job, of course, remains to be seen.
The joke in my family is that we're Heinzes — 57 different varieties. I suspect, if I had one of those genetic tests done, I'd find a healthy racial mix. So a guy spends time abroad and decides to write a novel set in a foreign country. This will require that citizens of that country appear in said novel. Because of "cultural appropriation," I guess he can't write that novel. The only logical conclusion that those complaining of cultural appropriation can arrive at, it seems to me, is that people can only write novels in which all the characters are of the same race, ethnicity, social status, etc., as the author. Sounds pretty dull.  Come to think of it, what right do young writers have to create characters who are old? What right do female authors have to create male characters? What right did Tolstoy have to create Anna Karenina?

No comments:

Post a Comment