On Reading: Look at All the Effs I Give

This will be one of those blog posts that I will not regret writing even though it is shades past 2 am and I most probably should not make any attempts at coherency past 2 am.

Also, there will be typos and grammatical errors but you know what? Let me just vent.

These past few days I have been feeling overwhelmed by the amount of toxicity spewed by people who sit snug behind their computer screens and spout utterly reprehensible shit because they have been given the green light by their prevailing Orange Cheeto Lord.

I usually seek solace in books because what other way to escape then by jumping into another narrative, another mind, another world. But being in the writing business (or trying to be anyway) and being an academic (of sorts), you can’t help but be aware of the subtext in the prose, be aware of how the narrative is informed by the author and what the author believes in.

So when you are reading a book written by a white author that has dominantly white characters and the chauffeur is a black man, your eyebrows climb up. Because you know what? Fuck you.

The Nafiza in early 2016 would have shrugged it off and read on but the Nafiza of early 2017 who is angry and hurt at the way the world continues to vilify people who don’t look like the dominant race, who don’t believe in the same things they do, that Nafiza says no.

I am  done with these little microaggressions that add up to one big wound. I am done excusing, accepting, tolerating, I am done with all of that. I just don’t care anymore.

And yes okay, I realize that me refusing to read books that have problematic subtexts or issues with representation is not that a big deal on its own but I don’t care about that. Those doing their best to maintain the status quo, to ensure diversity and the demand for it becomes a four letter word, these people don’t understand that at the heart of it, all we really want is to be accorded the respect that the hegemonic group seems to consider their due. Or maybe they do and they just don’t care. Because they get off on feeling superior because of whatever reasons.

But books you know. I used to be able to turn off the world and read but after that Tuesday revealed what people really think, how they really think of POC…Things changed.

Those who create consumable culture are, in some ways, the people who direct the mores of society. So the call for diversity means POC/people of different sexualities and orientations become become normalized at all levels of society, more accepted and what is wrong with that?

Going back to that example I mentioned (it’s not an example, it’s an actual book but let’s say it’s an example), had there been more POC characters around, would I have been as upset with the ethnicity of the chauffeur? No. The subtext, you guys. It couldn’t have been louder if it had a speaker and was up on a stage.

Yeah okay, I’m mostly done now. Still pissed off but done. For now anyway.


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