Saturday, May 08, 2010

La Bloga cultural appropriation posts

[To accommodate my participation in Coyote Con, Cecile Pineda's final installment of the series on Jean Blum will appear tomorrow.]

Here from Coyote Con?
To read La Bloga's take on cultural appropriation (
CA), scroll past the Intro.


This evening at 7pm EST, 5pm MST, I'll be a panelist in a chat room entitled Non-Western Perspectives, part of what looks to be a very well organized (online) 31-Day Digital Author Conference called Coyote Con--no, it's not about those coyotes--launched by Drollerie Press. It's a crazy event with sessions every day of the month covering a gamut of topics: "Our guests are authors, editors, publishers and other industry professionals who love to talk about, and be involved in, the making of books: cross-genre, historical, romance, horror, fantasy, and science fiction, and all the related media they generate."

"Our topics are geared toward the author, but if you have an interest—whether you write or not—you are welcome to attend. There is no cost involved, but registration is required as space is limited and you must obtain a ticket for Special Sessions."

That's me, Special Session, so you'll need a ticket. To check it out, click here. Mine will be in the Raven Room.

As for the Non-Western Perspectives chat: here's the intro:
"Beautiful writing isn’t limited to the west. In fact, great stories have been told in every culture around the world. How do you write great stories that include the rest of the world we live in without appropriating a culture (CA)? Why should you bother? What does a non-western perspective have to offer you?"

I've never done one of these, so I can't guarantee the quality of my input, but you can if you go there and keep me in line. Below is info for Coyote Con participants looking for some La Bloga posts relating to CA.

for Coyote Con:

When we started La Bloga (12/3/04) all we knew was we wanted to create a Chicano literary site. Today's Blogueros post something new each day and include crime, spec, children's lit, novelists and writers, lawyers, teachers and quien-sabe-qué-más, new, views and reviews. (Check their websites for more info.) In any event, we don't have one philosophy, other than a love of lit, so views expressed in this post and today's Coyote Con chat are strictly of my culpa. Below are highlighted posts I chose from La Bloga history that somehow relate to CA, in some of its many exploitations. Its truncated form is intended for a fast read, with links to the full post.

Before that, a few words about where I'm coming from:
What, besides KOP, do I consider some good spec lit that isn't a case of CA? I gotta start with Ernest Hogan's Cortez on Jupiter. Protagonist Pablo Cortez, leader of the Guerilla Muralists of Los Angeles, is one crazy vato in one jam-packed SciFi novel. Some people don't know Hogan's mom was a Chicana, which partly explains the novel's verisimilitude, sans CA.

Who's on my CACA list? Mostly Anglo writer/researchers specializing in other cultures. Gary Jennings of Aztec fame spent years in Mexico doing the research and must've raked it in because after he died, his notes were turned over to Robert Gleason to continue the series. Our history is just so much property to be passed on and exploited, is my take. Not claiming to speak for Native Americans, I put Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children and the other First Americans authors in the same pile of CACA. (Yes, I've probably read them all.)

I don't intend to make today's Coyote Con focus too much on things Chicano; there's many other "non-westerns" to discuss. And like always, if I've put my pata en mi boca I may have to eat some of my words, but don't hesitate to help me position my foot correctly: I've been known to be opinionated, even wrong, several times.

Below are highlights from La Bloga's history relating to CA:

La Bloga Groundrules, from RudyG's version:
"5. Cultural appropriation. (FYI, generally, writing about cultures you're not a part of, like Anglos writing about us--whatever we're called.) I don't like it. There's Anglo writers who I don't think of as being cultural appropriators, e.g., John Nichols, but they're rare and few. The rest of them are cabrones. I'm willing to discuss this, in general or specifically.

Guest columnist Sergio Troncoso's take on "Is the Texas Library Association excluding Latino writers?"

My "review" of SciFi gringo novelist Warren Hammond and his Kop and Ex-KOP.

- a film-review on Alberto Korda's renowned Che image.

Below's a wild poem introducing a great post:
I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performance Between Cultures.

Hello people, you know me, I know you.
I am Carmelita Tropicana.
I say Loisaida is the place to be.
It is multicultural, multinational,
multigenerational, mucho multi.
And like myself ,
you've got to be multilingual.
I am very good with the tongue.

From Manuel Ramos's piece on the Simon and Schuster fake-Chicano author, The Strange Cases of Danny Santiago and Amado Muro:
"Simon & Schuster book editor who bought Santiago's book stated the author had hidden his identity and masqueraded as a Chicano (using Chicano slang in his letters to the editor) and, even after his identity had been exposed, expressed his intention to continue writing as Danny Santiago."

Here's a blurb from a post I did on the Coyote Rising novel, A Light Case of Cultural Appropriation.
"Allen Steele's Coyote Rising (Ace Books, 2004). Subtitled, A novel of interstellar revolution, it depicts the colonization of the planet Coyote by Earthlings who undergo a "revolution" to decide how the planet will evolve.

"Among others, Coyote has a series of Spanish-surnamed characters (presumably Chicano)--Carlos Montero (terrorist/freedom fighter), James Garcia (architect/engineer), et al. I saw none of the baser stereotypical problems with these major characters, i.e., they weren't the formulaic chucos or hot-blooded Latinos we've all come to know and detest. However, what they came across as are white guys who happen to have Spanish names. So what's wrong with that?" . . .

And check out guest Bloguera Mayra Lazara Dole's SPIC Out! on her YA novel, Down to the Bone.

I'll probably regret volunteering for this chat, but hopefully it will sully neither Coyote Con nor La Bloga's rep, at least not too much.

Es todo, hoy


msedano said...

One more, a Cubano's wrong-headed take on Chicano Unitedstatesamerica, East L.A., gets the geography all bassackwards, the vocabulary weirdly manchada, the actitude totally inappropriate. The culturally appropriated mish-mash is called "America Libre" by R. Ramos y Sanchez.


I consider myself a Chicano. I don't know if having an Irish name on my Arizona driver's license will cause me any trouble. The 21st century is like one of novels.