Hamline News

CWP Faculty Pelster-Wiebe Published at Literary Hub

Pelster-Wiebe LitHub 375

BFA/MFA faculty member Angela Pelster-Wiebe has published a new essay, "White Artists Need to Start Addressing White Supremacy in Their Work," at Literary Hub.

"Lately, I’ve been thinking about ownership. I’ve been considering it within the context of writing and art making, wondering who has the right and responsibility to explore the problem of white supremacy, and how, or even if it can be done by white artists without furthering the trauma of marginalized people. I’ve been swimming through these ideas in one way or another for years now, but they all snapped into focus a few days ago when I was in conversation with another writer friend, commiserating over what he called “self-celebrating liberals”—those people who imagine themselves allies to people of color but refuse to address their own complicity in white supremacy. Specifically, we were discussing a growing trend we’ve noticed in the publishing world: that only people of color should make art about racism.

“What should white people be writing about if not racism?” he said. “I feel like half the work that means anything is trying to place and understand the destructiveness of my whiteness.”

This conversation came up, in part, because I am a white woman writing about the toxic inheritance of white supremacy. It is, admittedly, a fraught position to write from with no shortage of examples of seemingly well-intentioned white women (and men) doing their damnedest to address racism while contributing to it instead."

Read the full essay here.