There has been much hullabaloo over how publishers discriminate against women, who are forced to use pseudonyms. But what about those who have to use pseudonyms that hide their race or ethnicity? Turns out that’s not so spiffy to the cultural Left when it is a pasty White guy using a non-White name.
Michael Derrick Hudson’s poem “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” kept on being rejected (in large part because it sucks), but when he submitted under the name “Yi-Fen Chou” it was not only published but declared to be one of the best poems of the year!
When it came out that this young Chinese-American poet was an evil pasty-White male oppressor, the usual gang of idjits came out to whine about being oppressed:
“‘When you’re doing this from a position of entitlement, you’re appropriating an ethnic identity that’s one, imaginary, and two, doesn’t have access to the literary world,’ poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post. ‘And it diminishes categorically all of our accomplishments. He sort of implies that minorities are published because we’re minorities, not because of our work. That’s just insulting because it strips everything we’ve worked so hard for.'”
How “entitled” can you be when your work is rejected just because you are the race you are? How “oppressed” can you be when that same work receives accolades because of your race?
But this is the problem with Affirmative Action and other such preferential treatments: It does imply that one’s accomplishments are diminished explicitly due to the fact that they are celebrated solely due to the race associated with the author.
Sherman Alexie, the editor who accepted the poem, gave a telling defense:
“And he acknowledged that he was ‘more amenable’ to the poem because he thought its author was Chinese American. There was nothing explicitly culturally Chinese about the poem — indeed, it seems obsessed with imagery from Western culture — but that only made it more interesting to Alexie. The award-winning Native American author, who has been involved in the ‘We Need Diverse Books’ campaign, said that ‘Yi-Fen Chou’ benefited from a form of minority writer nepotism, just as many white, male writers have long benefited from white, male writer nepotism.
“‘I had to keep that pseudonymous poem in the anthology because it would have been dishonest to do otherwise,’ he wrote. ‘If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I gave the poem special attention because of the poet’s Chinese pseudonym. If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I was consciously and deliberately seeking to address past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world.’
“And, most importantly, Alexie wrote, if he pulled the poem, ‘I think I would have cast doubt on every poem I have chosen for BAP. It would have implied that I chose poems based only on identity.'”
But by admitting that there was a discriminatory preference given because he thought the author was not White, he has confirmed that non-White authors benefite from “minority writer nepotism” and that it does cast doubt on every poem by a non-White author.