4.30.2009

Poets Repeat Themselves

One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, "I want to be a poet--not a Negro poet," meaning, I believe, "I want to write like a white poet,"; meaning subconsciously, "I would like to be a white poet"; meaning behind that, "I would like to be white." And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has even been afraid of being himself. And I doubted then that, with his desire to run away spiritually from his race, this boy would ever be a great poet. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America--this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible. (Langston Hughes)

Replace Negro with queer, white with straight, see also discussions on various blogs about this context.

2 comments:

  1. Charles, who's the quote from?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't believe I left that off! It's Langston Hughes, from "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"

    ReplyDelete