How contemporary American literary fiction begins to decolonize


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If we always regard books written by white men as the pinnacle of literature, we can never demystify white supremacy and Western imperialism. As Audre Lorde rightly said: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never allow us to make a real change. If we are to create a future where the works of BIPOC authors are as accessible and endemic as those of whites, then decolonizing your library is the need of the moment.

This does not mean that we must completely boycott the perspectives of white authors or undermine their literary or intellectual merit. Instead, we need to work on creating spaces where BIPOC voices get the recognition they deserve. It won’t happen overnight, but contemporary literary fiction has become one of the pillars of this movement. They promote racial literacy, contribute to ongoing conversations about the representation of minority communities, decentralize whiteness by including diverse narratives, and encourage critical self-reflection at the micro and macro levels. He slowly uprooted the pervasive effects of colonialism and shed light on the stories of authors whose work has always been disadvantaged by the white-dominated ivory tower of academia.

Diaspora and 21st century immigrant literature

Unless we were brought up in very politically conscious families, we probably had minimal, one-dimensional exposure to literature written by or for the immigrant of color. We may have read about Steinbeck and his stories about what white migrant farmers went through in the southern United States. But why have the immigration stories of Filipinos who played such a huge role in building America’s infrastructure go unnoticed? History has favored whites over non-whites, and contemporary literary fiction brings much-needed change to this one-sided trajectory. As the origins and ethnicities of the authors are varied, they present a racialized redefinition of immigration.

In his book Infinite country, Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants, reflects on the essence of the generational trauma that continues to build up in the collective psyche of the diasporic community and how it exists and will likely never be resolved. utopian that resolves the ambivalence of citizenship. She shed light on the multifaceted nature of expulsion, which includes its gendered reality and the state’s contempt for the various kinship ties existing in immigrant families, thus confiscating their fundamental right to found or remain together. as a family.

At Angie Cruz’s Dominican and Etaf Rhum’s A woman is not a man, we see what it looks like for immigrant women with violent husbands and very oppressive families to navigate a foreign world. They are hypervigilant to the point of being paranoid about their behavior so as not to frown and therefore fall victim to the wrath of their highly patriarchal homes, and in turn, of a world they know nothing about. These women have been doubly estranged, and their both literal and metaphorical homelessness has led to fractured identities. Thanks to contemporary literary fiction, people from immigrant families can finally see themselves in the pages of books, which was unthinkable just a few decades ago.

Center the voices of people of color

To reframe what America looks like, we need to rethink what Americans look like. Contemporary literary fiction is slowly eroding the assumptions that have strengthened white hegemony in the publishing industry. Literary fictions featuring people of color as protagonists denounce the constraint to erase all physical and cultural distinctions in order to fit into the archetype of the true American.

Written as a screenplay, the novel by Charles Yu Chinatown interior is a satirical take on how American films and literature have relegated Asian characters to the fringes of society in centuries past. Whether the characters are Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, or second-generation Americans, all are labeled as “Generic Asians,” and their diverse histories and legacies are swept aside. The identities of Chinese Americans only exist as a performance in the collective imagination of white Americans. Contemporary literary fiction shows how this constant exclusion leads to the failure of characters (like Willis) to see themselves as the protagonists of their own lives.

In An american wedding, Tayari Jones explores this sidelining of people of color and how the forced silence of non-white voices can lead to a fatal outcome. Roy is wrongly convicted of rape, which upsets his marriage. This novel is not a gripping courtroom drama, nor an impeccable critique of the prison-industrial complex. Rather, it is an evocative, compassionate and intimate representation of interpersonal relationships and how they can never be separated from their racial background. Contemporary literary fiction urges its readers to radicalize, as the non-white body in America is still under scrutiny and cannot escape the scrutiny of the political lens.

To conclude, twenty-first century literary fiction broadens and redefines the idea of ​​America itself. Stories of racial injustice, the status of women of color and micro-aggression are brought to light as pre-existing racist narratives are crushed by postcolonial consciousness. With clean voice writers gaining center stage, we may be able to live the day when reading multiethnic literature is not seen as an act of rebellion, but simply as a normal way of being, more sooner than expected.


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