introduction

In Angels of the Americlypse‘s Introduction, Carmen Giménez Smith and John Chávez describe society’s expectations of Latinx authors.  References to abuelitas, tortillas, and “degrees” of Latinx-ness point to the pressure that’s put upon Latinx writers for them to demonstrate their otherness in a way that’s accessible and digestable, a way that aligns with society’s standards. Supplemented by this act of othering, people of color are never thought to be speaking for themselves when they write about their experiences – they’re seen as speaking for their racial collective. When white people write about their experiences, they’re never seen as speaking for white people; society acknowledges that white people have different likes, dislikes, interests, even though it doesn’t grant the same sense of individuality to people of color. Partially due to this imposed collectivism, a running theme throughout the works that we’ve read in Experimental Poets of Color is, “To what degree are people of color responsible for ‘explaining’ themselves to the rest of the world? And, at what point, does explanation cease to be worthwhile?”

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