NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 72

Askia Toure, co-founder of The Black Arts Repertory Theater also chimed in. Unlike the Norton Black Arts denouncers, Toure views the Black Arts movement as part of the Golden Era: 70 Most of the pioneering writers of this Golden Era are mature, and still among us, making continuous contributions to Art and Literature in the United States. Several have won major awards, and have traveled and greatly inspired the International Community’s appreciation for Multi-ethnic Culture in the u.s.a. Now, if I were an executive editor of a major eastern Establishment newspaper, knowing the exact oppressive historical relations between the Black national Community and White America, why maybe I might venture to manipulate the naïve, talented younger writers of an emerging generation… especially, if they might’ve swallowed the hypocritical lies of a so-called “Post-Racial” U.S. Society. This, of course, after my academic scholars and experts had fed them on the abstract shallowness of Post-Modern American literature… but, I’d also prove unable to disguise my scornful contempt by assigning the “snow-job” to a writer whose specialty and expertise was articles on “fruit” and culinary arts, rather than the competent, scholarly expertise expected of a literary don and critic. But then, maybe I’m being too cynical… I’m sure that the NY Times has a reasonable explanation and will enlighten us in due time. Incidentally, Toure’s great poem DawnSong, which heralded the arrival of the Black Arts Movement, is absent from Norton 3, Vol.2, which, for me, makes the whole section worthless. Indeed black writers have written thousands of poems that could have been written by a “white” person, not Italian American, Irish American, or Jewish American writers but a “white” person which the ‘Times Book Review’ offers “universal” status. As poet laureate of the SF Jazz center, I arranged a festival which not only included black, Latino, Asian American, but Jewish American, Italian American and Irish American poets. Italian was spoken from the stage. As Irish American poet Sean Casey said — “It’s great to step out of the melting pot from time to time.” Moreover, If the absence of race in poetry means that black poetry has “evolved,” and found a new day and a great moment, does this mean that white authors who write racist stuff have devolved? I cited some of these authors in a symposium called “Politics and the Novel” conducted by the Los Angeles Times in August 13, 2000. Though novels about relationships dominate “mainstream” fiction — prose versions of “Sex and the City” — some “major” novelists still write political novels. I don’t particularly care for the politics. John Updike, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and Tom Wolfe have all penned novels recently which, in my opinion, are political and racist in nature and have been given a free pass by the “critical” good old boy network. In The Human Stain (2000), Mr. Roth has his black women characters do his dirty work, or shall we say, ‘literary housekeeping.’ One denounces Howard University, an institution which has been producing scholars, writers, artists and professionals since 1867. The other compares Black History Month to “sour milk,” an image I’m still trying to