Freshman Comp 003
5 February 2015
Why White Critics Shouldn’t Critique
The representation of race in the late 1950’s to the 60’s was quite similar to what it is today. During the Black Arts Movement, black writers everywhere developed their own black aesthetic, which is described to be the principle black writers use to express the ideas of all black people. It was a way for the black people to have a sense of selfdetermination and nationhood.
Today in society, black literature is still used to express ideas, but also other verbal means of expression is used such as protesting for rights. The similarities in this large time span show how things haven't changed at all in terms of how people of color are represented. It is seen in the way black writers write and only black critics understand the importance of why things are expressed the way they are. This is where the argument comes in. The belief that white people shouldn’t critique black literature is still relevant today due to the lack of experience, lack of interest and understanding, and the negative stereotypes of black people that encompass their minds. The Black Aesthetic is a term used by Hoyt Fuller in “Towards A Black Aesthetic”. It is used to portray a platform, set to guide black writers in writing what needs to be heard and to who. Those that were wellknown writers had to make it their obligation to push the ideas of black people out there to have some sort of expression present to white people. In his article,
Fuller pointed out that white people lack the experience blacks have and with that reason alone
they are inadequate to give a valid critique. “Black critics have the responsibility of approaching the works of black writers assuming these qualities to be present, and with the knowledge that white readers—and white critics—cannot be expected to recognize and to empathize with the subtleties and significance of black style and technique.” White people never knew what it was like to feel inferior or feel unworthy to society therefore they don't have the right to say whether a black writers opinion is right or wrong.
Another reason why white critics should not critique Black Art is because Black Art isn't made for them. Its geared towards black people so they they feel that they have something to relate to. In Zora Neale Hurston’s “What White Publishers Won't Print” she talks about how publishers won't print what they know won't sell. They know that African American literature won't sell because of the fixed stereotype they have on black people.”I have been amazed by the
AngloSaxon’s lack of curiosity about the internal lives and emotions of the Negroes,...” White people arent interested in the deeper emotions and behaviors of black people. They wouldn't understand the reason why writers feel to write like this. They would rather read about racial matters, which just add to the stereotype that black people already have, bringing me to my next point. During the Black Arts Movement, it was a time where black people wanted a say for themselves and didn't want to follow the white mans English standards because of the negative stereotypes surrounding them. Black people wanted to break free of those stereotypes and create something better. Many novels and books in this era reject the