Sue Gambill

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1981


As a white writer I want to speak to white feminists about the literature we read, write, print, and teach. Robert E. Hemenway, in his book, Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977), exposes and criticizes the assumption that " ... the Black author must transcend race in order to write universally .... Even such a brilliant poet as Gwendolyn Brooks has been advised that if 'being a Negro' is her subject, then she is somehow prevented from creating great literature ... that the ultimate transcendence is to not write about Black people at all, believing for some reason that white people carry no racial identity ... " (p. 307).

This sounds familiar—women writers know what it's like to be criticized for being trivial, not "universal" or "humanist." Yet, how often do we fight sexism with our left hand and perpetuate racism with our right?



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