On paper, I’m totally one of those guys — a white Jewish novelist with an MFA from Columbia. I’ve never activated my membership in that club, though. Nor have I ever made a conscious decision not to; I’ve just always been a hip hopper, and the sensibilities, artistically and politically, that followed from that have dictated my path since I was eleven, memorizing Crinimal Minded and beginning to understand the subjectivity of whiteness, as hip hop was won’t to make a whiteboy do back then. I’m relegating all this to a footnote because I think us white folks tend to centralize ourselves and our issues way too much when we do deign to talk about race or privilege or access. Is it the role of yet another overeducated white guy to point out the elitism of the State of the Novel convo? I think it can be, for the same reason I wrote Angry Black White Boy: because I can’t be labeled as just another complainer speaking from bitterness and self-interest, which is the way people of color are often tagged, and dismissed. To me, this is the proper use of privilege: to say things for which people with less privilege might face knee-jerk recrimination.
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