Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fake Race Change Gets White Poet Published

A library worker and amateur poet in Allen County, Indiana named Michael Derrick Hudson made over 40 unsuccessful attempts to publish a poem he had written, but then found success after he adopted the Chinese-sounding pen name Yi-Fen Chou.  The poem, entitled "The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve", was rejected 40 times under his real name and then 9 more times under his pen name, before being published by Prairie Schooner, and later being included in the anthology The Best American Poetry 2015.

Although Hudson never tried to pass himself off as Asian in any way analogous to Rachel Dolezal's attempt to appear black, he has understandably drawn some angry reaction from Asians.  As poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post:
“And it diminishes categorically all of our accomplishments. He sort of implies that minorities are published because we’re minorities, not because of our work. That’s just insulting because it strips everything we’ve worked so hard for.”
I would beg to differ with Professor Chang.  I would submit that Mr. Hudson did not imply anything, but instead exposed a willingness within the publishing business to publish minorities because they're minorities, or at least a desire to include minorities in their publications out of fear of being accused of racism they don't.

Read more at The Washington Post (mentioned above), The Independent and The Guardian.  In their write-up, Hot Air includes an excerpt of Mr. Chou's, er, I mean, Mr. Hudson's poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment