Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Saga Continues..

The more we delve into multicultural literarcy through our discussion and readings, the more complex the issue of insider vs. outsider becomes. This week's readings were an absolute testament to this fact. While Aronson argued that the winner of specific book awards should not be pre-determined based upon the racial and/or cultural identity of the author, Pinkney counteracted this claim by expressing the absolute need for awards that forefront authors of a specific race allowing those books to be easily identifiable to communities desiring diverse literature. While I think that both of these individuals made extremely convincing points and valid arguments in support of their case, I feel that Pinkney took Aronson's article out of context and seemingly misconstrued what he was trying to say. It seemed to me that Aronson's argument was that the criterion of these words was in need of adjustment and reassessment. More specially, he was focusing on technicalities of the wording of some of the established criteria and pointed out the exclusion of individuals that this wording perpetuated. He was not saying that multicultural literature did not have a significant place in the world, rather simply said it is important to focus on the content of the material rather than simply the ethnicity of who wrote it. This reminded me of a point that was made during our class debate. Someone stated that they had a relative of Native American descent yet if this relative was asked to write a culturally diverse novel about individuals deriving from the Native American community, she would have few points of reference and little insight to offer. I feel like this is an excellent example of what Aronson was trying to say; just because you are of a certain race does not necessarily mean you have truly experienced the associated culture and have the authority to write a valid piece of literature regarding that culture. I felt like Pinkney, rather than logically assessing the actual criteria and wording of the awards, spoke from an emotional standpoint and was not able to view Aronson's argument reasonably. She seemed to think that Aronson was saying the awards in themselves had no place in society and were invalid, rather than his actual argument that they simply needed to be adjusted in order to truly recognize the talent of the artists and honor them based upon ability. He was not suggesting that these awards should be done away with, rather maintained a promotion of multicultural literature focusing on the content of the text vs. identity of the author. Had Pinkney truly understood the argument Aronson was trying to make, I feel she may have had a different reaction or response. This is, however, simply my opinion, and like I said before, I can certainly see the validity in both of their arguments. I am truly beginning to understand just how complicated the insider vs. outsider debate can be.

1 comment:

  1. Brittany -
    You've given a very nuanced "read" of the debate - eager to talk further with you about it in tomorrow's class. Thanks for such a thought provoking post!