A is for…

If you visit Zetta Elliott’s blog, you’ll find that A is for Anansi, a bi-annually impressive conference” hosted by the Institute of African American Affairs, aims to deepen and diversify the cannon, conversation and scholarship of the literature as told by its most influential critics, scholars, teachers and producers.” It sounds like those of us who didn’t attend really missed out.

 ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Young Adults) is coming next week! Very few authors of color on the schedule. Very few authors of color got published this year. I know I’ll enjoy this conference, it was just amazing last year. But this lack of representation is unsettling. I did hear that the organizers were reaching out, so I’m not sure what happened.

APALA (Asian Pacific American Librarian Association) has a feature series entitled What’s Your Normal? Their most recent feature is “More Than Enough” in which Alla Aiko Moore states:

 We live in a world of Western thought and Universalist thinking, where, when two things conflict or oppose, only one can be true. This creates barriers in our communities and forces people to only acknowledge part of their identities in order to feel included and not isolated. People with multiple identities often feel like they are straddling two worlds, with their feet never fully planted in either one.

Read the article and I’m sure like me, you’ll question how often you find the need to place people in one category or another.

A is for Arab! The past couple of weeks, there have been several diversity events on campus and among them was the library’s presentation of “A is for Arab”. It seemed like such a good idea, to display banners that displayed stereotypical Hollywood images on one side and then dispelled the myth on the other. But, it didn’t work and the banners were pulled. There are a lot of reasons why it went wrong, but I took the consequences so personal. Here I was on the side that offered the offense! These things aren’t always intentional, but that doesn’t make them any less wrong. Conversations were held, lessons were learned and plans made for other events in the future.

Also during the events was a performance by Rohina Malik, “Unveiled”. If Rohina ever performs this near you, do go see her! This one woman show is the story of five Muslim women and how their lives have been disrupted by post 9-11 reactions to them. Using tea as a thread through the stories, we meet Arab women from a variety of countries and occupations. As Rohina relates quite passionate stories, she reveals the lives of very strong women who, despite it all, I was unable to feel sorry for: they didn’t need pity! It was clear these women would be OK despite the verbal, emotional and even physical abuse they’ve suffered, but the thing is that they should be more than just ‘OK’.

A is for ‘another post needs to go up this week’!! I have three reviews to share!!