Three Commandments for Writing About Race

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

xu-xi Xu Xi

A Craft Essay by Xu Xi 許素細 to accompany our Special Issue on Race, Racism, and Racialization: 

Race, unlike a monotheistic god, no longer has a singular ancestry. There are those who like to think it still has, but that paradigm shifted centuries ago.  Thus the first biblical commandment, about a god liberating people from bondage can apply to freedom from a singular notion of race, and, by extension, to writing about race, freeing yourself from the “problem” of race.

There’s a race problem we need to write about and it goes something like this: I’m better than you because I’m the superior race, regardless of how I live.  C.Y. Lee 黎錦揚 forgot about race (and even his natural language Chinese) when he first showed up in the U.S. in 1943 as an aspiring playwright.  When no one would stage his play with Chinese characters, he heeded…

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