Link to: I Didn’t Dream of Dragons, by Deepa D.
The Western publishing industry has the luxury of being able to support the base camps of crappy first novels and cliché-ridden genre fiction hacks and niche-marketed speciality books that creates the momentum for the breakout book, the genius author. If you grow up in a country where every child has held a crayon in nursery school, you are at an advantage.
And just to make it absolutely clear—the Western publishing advantage was derived from the economic wealth those nations enjoyed by virtue of stripping the resources and talents of other peoples. I do not consider it an accident of fate that it is in America that the art of children’s picture books evolved (which I consider one of America’s most exquisite cultural gifts to the world). These books, printed in China on paper from Brazil—they cost (when they are imported at all) more than a full length Penguin Classic in an Indian bookstore. The books available in one fourth grade classroom at a low-income Minneapolis charter school where I have worked outnumber the entirety of books my private primary school in Delhi made available to me (And I reiterate, I am nothing but privileged in India). Remember on whose backs the resources for your public libraries were built.
* * *Part of my own education as a prowomanist/profeminist is in listening to the voices of women around the world, and the voices of women of color who are familiar with cultures, places, nations, and experiences that I do not know anything about. To the contrary, what I know about them may have been sugar-spoon fed to me by Disney, which does many things well--telling the truth is not one of them.
I welcome you to click over and read this essay on one woman's reflections on the harm of cultural-political colonialism by the West. And also to read the comments. I have only today found her blog, and greatly appreciate the comment posting policy she has, the first statements of which read as follows:
I may write to her to thank her for all that she is doing with her blog, however sporadically she is doing it!Hello, and welcome to my public blog. I post very sporadically, and use this blog as an idiosyncratic soapbox, so don't be surprised by extremely long silences, even on issues on which you might expect me to voice an opinion.
I expect people to behave with civility towards each other and me while conversing in comments, but I am ok with rigourous debate, as long as I feel that participants are commenting in good faith.
My journal must be a safe space for persons of colour/non-white/chromatic people, and no racist, misogynist, homophobic, ageist, casteist, communalist, ablist, or otherwise discriminatory language or opinions will be tolerated. Repeated voicing of problematic arguments after your ignorance or bias has been pointed out will be ground for banning.