Privilege, cultural appropriation and self-censorship
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Hi, rebel women, seems like this group could use reviving.

Today I posted my first guest blog since the release of my novel, Murder Under the Bridge: A Palestine Mystery. It's looking at the question of what voices we have the "right" to assume, and how we avoid appropriating cultures we are trying to honor.  And at the same time, we don't want to censor ourselves because all fiction is about reaching outside of ourselves.  I would love to hear your reactions to this piece and the comments on it:

  • Thank you, Cate.  I appreciate that and I really like your blog.

    I do want to say, though, that while I'm coming down on the side of "empathy" and taking the plunge, I do think we need to listen closely to people who feel we're overstepping.  Sometimes, they are just taking out old hurts on us but a lot of the time, it means we didn't do a good enough job.  Though I have to say, I never heard that critique of Hurricane.

    The other thing about a situation like that is that I'm pretty sure Ruben Hurricane Carter gave Jewison permission to do the film.  He could have picked a Black director if he preferred that perspective.  People also criticized Alice Walker for choosing Spielberg to direct The Color Purple (of course, people criticized a ton of stuff about The Color Purple) but she had good reasons why she chose him.  She wanted what he could do.  That's more or less what I am claiming - that the people who asked me to tell their stories gave me permission to tell them in the way that felt right to me.  But that is not a carte blanche to tell it any way I want. If I distort or misuse someone's story, that's on me.

    Thanks for having this discussion with me, it's really helping me to figure out what I want to say about why I write in the way that I do.