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Group Writer’s Works, Not Themselves

Writers are often grouped together, by ethnicity or religion. “African American Writers” and “Asian Writers” are often the topic of many classroom discussions. However, there are several pros and cons to this kind of grouping. The pros are mostly related to culture and education, and the cons concern individual identity and stereotypes; I believe that there are more cons than pros and would rather have my writing labelled instead of myself.
There are several perceived pros to grouping writers. By creating a marked distinction between writers, within these groups you can expect to find works by authors that share experiences. Within the group of Native American writers , both Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie write about the displacement of indigenous people by colonists. Silko’s “Lullaby” and Alexie’s “This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” take completely different approaches to the same themes of poverty, perseverance, and displacement. This variety offers two perspectives to an ethnically shared experience.
Another pro is that by revealing the group the writer belongs to, relevant culturally specific details within their stories become clearer. As an African American writer, Zora Neale Hurston’s style of writing can be linked to African folk tales and stories. It is written like verbal storytelling, and their origins become clear when you understand Hurston’s heritage.
By grouping writers, you also encourage ethnic studies. Literature being a big part of these studies, we can say that works by African American writers and other such ethnic writers serve to educate people in these programs. A focused study on a group of Asian writers can reveal a lot about their cultures and t...

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...hat they were writing about a certain subject- like emancipation- is a valuable educational opportunity. In these instances, I believe it makes more sense to label a writer’s works instead of the writer themselves. “Native American Ethnic Literature” as a group would better befit Alexie and Silko. “African American Literature from 1945- Present” is also a good label. This kind of specificity lends meaning and context to the writer’s works without simply referring to them with a general label as part of a huge group that probably has little to do with their work. By doing this, you are receiving all the pros of grouping writers without its cons.
There are many pros and cons to grouping writers based on ethnicity, religion, or other factors. I believe the cons outweigh the pros, and I would rather my writing be grouped individually instead of with myself as a whole.
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