Cultural Appropriation in Literature is not a Problem – Naomi

Cultural Appropriation in writing is a difficult topic, but I hardly see this as a major issue.

Yes, a variety of issues and cultures from around the world are interesting and should be explored through writing. If a holocaust survivor is unwilling, unable, or lacks what publishers are looking for, should the world be deprived of fiction surrounding the holocaust? I say, NO! Fiction is not real. And the author only needs to be as “real” as is required to turn over a manuscript. Lionel Shriver attacked this idea head on with her keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival.  She said, “In his masterwork English Passengers, Matthew Kneale would have restrained himself from including chapters written in an Aboriginal’s voice – though these are some of the richest, most compelling passages in that novel. If Dalton Trumbo had been scared off of describing being trapped in a body with no arms, legs, or face because he was not personally disabled – because he had not been through a World War I maiming himself and therefore had no right to ‘appropriate’ the isolation of a paraplegic – we wouldn’t have the haunting 1938 classic, Johnny Got His Gun.”

I recognize my own desire to know where literature comes from, and when I can tell that the author has experiences what he/she has written, I do feel a certain satisfaction. Fortunately, this is not a requirement of writers. If it were, would we ever have science fiction or fantasy? Did Tolkien personally destroy a piece of jewelry which held incredible power?

In the end, if I make assumption of an author that turn out not to be true, the literature has not changed. Trying to put writing into a tight, little box, will not serve to increase publication by minority or otherwise culturally appropriated writers, I think that it will only limit the breadth of subjects that are seen in literature.

I just don’t see another side to this argument.

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