Instead, the speaker looked flustered. She started blurting out how she didn't see color, and how all women should unite together instead of talk about race, because "that's when we start getting divided." To her, the feminist movement was simply that: a feminist movement, one where color didn't exist. To us, this was a shock. Why was this woman -- this white, blonde, heterosexual, beautiful woman -- representing oppression? Why were we allowing the same narrative that has been permeating America for the last decade to appear once again and represent all of us as people of color, as non-binary folks, as members of the LGBTQ community?
It's become so important nowadays to advocate for real-life, accurate representation. Yes, there is a certain kind of beauty in privilege. But there's also a certain privilege in beauty: the beauty of diversity and the beauty of seeing oneself represented in literature. Movements like WeNeedDiverseBooks and Writers of Color exist for a reason. More and more writers who don't fit into the binary are writing themselves into the narrative of American history. And for that, I am grateful. America needs this. In the wake of the 2016 election, marginalized groups have been more afraid than ever. It's important to showcase the strength and resilience of our stories and display our perseverance, even in times of crisis. American freedom doesn't just mean the loosing of chains; it also means the liberation of oppressed groups from invisibility. And for some, that liberation comes in the shape of literature, of writing that empowers.
As a writer of color, it's my responsibility to speak out even when no one listens. As a writer of color, it's my duty to tell the stories of those marginalized in our world today. As a writer of color, I look at women’s rights and I see it as the fight for both white women and women of color. To be undefined in a binary is a terrifying thing, but being American means to look at color and see reality. In the aftermath of the election, I was looking at the numbers -- two-hundred and ninety electoral votes to two-hundred and thirty-two -- and thinking that if anything should be measured quantitatively, it wasn’t this. No number could possibly represent the fears of a nation of color, of a nation of the queer, the non-binary. No number could possibly represent the meaning of thousands of dreams. As a writer of color, it's part of what I do to convey these dreams through literature. As a nation of color, America should cultivate this growth.
There has been so much nationalism in the wake of the 2016 election, but I’m looking for the inherent kind, the kind that thrives within oneself, the one that acknowledges race in stories and narratives. We need diverse perspectives when considering creative work. We need to look at subject matter from all angles, not just one.
When we start viewing literature as not simply a story, we start advocating and speaking out for our own narratives, for the diverse range of them that compose American history, past and present. Only when this happens can our identities be realized by the broader American community. And when that happens, it'll be the stuff of dreams.