“The danger in writing is not fusing our personal experience and world view with the social reality we live in, with our inner life, our history, our economics, and our vision.”
Throughout her letter, Andalzua admonishes the woman of color to write about her experiences, to write about what she knows, how she lives, thinks and breathes. Basically to write about life as she knows it. I’m definitely big on writing, even if it’s penning a simple sentence as My day sucked into a journal that’s opened once a month. While I agree with Andalzua, I couldn’t help but think of books that are meant to represent the reality of life.
To prove a point, or maybe somewhat contradict Andalzua’s statement, I’ll briefly discuss ‘urban fiction.’ There’s been a recent surge in the aforementioned and even talks of introducing the genre (I’m not too sure if I’d call it a genre, but that besides the point) into the public school’s curriculum. In relation to Andalzua’s statement, the authors of ‘urban fiction’ are primarily African-American men and women writing about the struggles of Blacks living in the urban community. I certainly don’t have any reservations against such books, and I’m definitely not opposed to anyone reading them.
I haven’t read, nor do I ever intend to read every single one of these ‘published’ books, (a lot of which are filled with page after page of grammatical errors and multiple fonts). In my experience, the few that I’ve read, briefly skimmed, or asked others about all have very similar plots, characters and life situations. Read one, and you’ve pretty much read them all.
Now I’m not suggesting that these books be banned, or the authors completely halt their writing process. I’m all for creativity, self-expression and writing reality. Yes, write about the challenges of living in the inner city; write about what you know; write about you. But seriously, must the majority of these books be so similar? Why must the Black woman depend on welfare or other government-issued programs? Why must all her children have different fathers? Where are the stories of Black males who are not selling drugs, shooting each other, pimping fatherless females or serving time in prison? Where are the stories that don’t reinforce the negative ‘White-world stereotypes Andalzua speaks of in her letter?