A close RE-reading of “You and I Are Disappearing –Bjorn Hakannson”

After writing my previous blog post, “A Close Read of “You and I Are Disappearing””( https://morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2019/03/24/a-close-reading-of-you-and-i-are-disappearing/ ), it was brought to my attention that I misinterpreted the author of the poem. The title of the poem is followed by “Bjorn Hakannson”, however, he is not the author of the poem. As Professor McCoy pointed out to me, the actual author is the same author as the poem “Facing It”, Vietnam War veteran Yusef Komunyakaa. After finding out this information, I re-read  the poem with the correct knowledge of the author and interpreted it in a much different way than I had originally. Continue reading “A close RE-reading of “You and I Are Disappearing –Bjorn Hakannson””

Stolen Songs

An issue we have often discussed in class is the lack of recognition of African American artists’ impact on American culture. Du Bois raises the question in Call & Response, “would America have been America without her Negro people?” (Call & Response 754). Without the contributions of African Americans, what would American culture be today? Much of our American culture exploits and appropriates African Americans and disregards the importance of their art in our society. Du Bois, in his writings displayed in Call & Response, discusses the role African Americans had in building up America and the importance of their music. Without African Americans and their contributions, American culture would not be the same today.

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The Hindrance of the Single Story

Black authors are not as represented in literature as white authors, and thus “black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form”(Toni Morrison).  In class, we watched Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk about the problems “single stories” create. Adichie tells of how the single story of Africa inhibits African writers, like herself, from receiving the same recognition as white, western writers. She explained how living in Africa, she grew up reading books with all white characters. When she submitted a story, a professor told her it was not “authentically” African, even though she herself was an African writer. This problem circles back to Morrison’s idea that African American works of literature are often depicted as less than serious works of literature and art, and are expected to convey the “single story” of being African American. Great works of literature written by African Americans should be recognized as such.

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