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clarabow


Mar 16, 2006, 9:23 PM

Post #1 of 100 (4648 views)
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I am starting this thread because I am interested in continuing The Waiting Game's conversation regarding diversity and MFA programs.

I would like to start this thread off by asking the question: What's wrong with an MFA program making an effort to admit a diverse group of individuals to their department?


rocky_fona


Mar 16, 2006, 9:38 PM

Post #2 of 100 (4633 views)
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I think it's a good thing. I think it's really important. I don't think they knock out white kids just to get minorities in. I think that they look at all their good applicants and then pick the ones who will provide the incoming class with the best mix of perspective AND talent. Both those things are important in a workshop environment.


HopperFu


Mar 16, 2006, 9:52 PM

Post #3 of 100 (4626 views)
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In Reply To
What's wrong with an MFA program making an effort to admit a diverse group of individuals to their department?



An MFA program should admit students that are:
1) the best writers with the most potential
2) likely to work well together as a group of students

Given an honest and true reading of works, that will in and of itself result in a diverse group of individuals in their departments. Historically, however, an honest and true reading of works was not the standard. Some schools do have additional funding - usually competitive schoolwide - for members of traditionally disenfranchised groups, and this can help offset some of the hurdles that these individuals face.
But the reality is that an MFA program's number one goal should be to get the absolute best writers they can (or at least the ones with the best potential, an entirely subjective exercise).


poetastin


Mar 16, 2006, 10:16 PM

Post #4 of 100 (4613 views)
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     Re: [clarabow] MFA Programs and Diversity  

Good grief...whatever happened to close reading? I swear, I could type anything into this little blue box and someone would come back with, But discrimimation is bad and like there are no quoteas but we need them because american is racist! So, yeah. Good luck with that.


(This post was edited by poetastin on Mar 16, 2006, 10:19 PM)


clarabow


Mar 16, 2006, 10:28 PM

Post #5 of 100 (4605 views)
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     Re: [poetastin] MFA Programs and Diversity  

 This thread isn't a direct response to you, Poe. A lot of people said things in The Waiting Game about diversity that I found interesting, but it was clear that many people wanted that conversation moved elsewhere. I wanted to keep hearing people's opinions, so I started a new thread.

Why so defensive? We all need to take a deep breath. Me, too.

Clara


poetastin


Mar 16, 2006, 10:39 PM

Post #6 of 100 (4598 views)
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     Re: [clarabow] MFA Programs and Diversity  

Sorry. I am defensive because of long, self-contradictory responses that failed to take into account what I actually wrote.

Really, I think you are asking the wrong question with this thread. I don't guess that many entering a graduate writing program oppose diversity. I certainly don't. The issue, for me, is that Indiana's policy confuses "diversity" and skin color and is discriminatory in both their acceptance and funding policies (in their dealings with all ethnicities). These policies do not even take financial need into account. Race is noted as a major admissions factor.

What any of that has to do with writing I can't tell. I would like to work with a group accepted on merit. I don't think that mere exposure to different perspectives, however you quantify that, will by osmosis make someone a better writer, unless those different perspectives are attached to people with excellent reading and writing skills. But that's just me. (I admit I've never sat in the middle of the DMV and waited around for greatness to strike).


sibyline


Mar 16, 2006, 11:19 PM

Post #7 of 100 (4582 views)
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In Reply To
I would like to work with a group accepted on merit. I don't think that mere exposure to different perspectives, however you quantify that, will by osmosis make someone a better writer, unless those different perspectives are attached to people with excellent reading and writing skills.


I find this statement pretty reductive, especially given that we're talking about creative writing, an endeavor that's highly subjective. Setting aside the arguments for "merit-based" admissions in less subjective fields, "excellent reading and writing skills" in the context of creative writing can mean a million different things.

I haven't investigated the admissions policies at Indiana enough to know about whether they factor race/gender/orientation, etc. over their perceived notions of writing quality, but I would argue that it's impossible to separate those two things. It's possible to argue that Indiana's criteria for good writing necessarily takes unique viewpoints into account. I think it's their prerogative to set up their admissions this way, and that it's poe's prerogative not to apply because of such a policy.

Personally, I'd feel ambivalent about applying too if poe is portraying Indiana's policy accurately. However, I didn't feel that way when I applied to undergrad schools, having only lived in the U.S. for two years and knowing myself to have the potential to do well if given the chance. But thankfully, I can write grammatical sentences now, so I didn't need a minority pass to get into school.


shadowboxer


Mar 16, 2006, 11:26 PM

Post #8 of 100 (4580 views)
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Quote
Hey Lavash. I know it's a sensitive subject. I'm not sure what there is to 'buy': based on the information Indiana provides on their web site, race is an admissions factor. Sexual orientation is an admissions factor (but presumbly, only if you are white). I can't speak to the thoughts of current students, but I'd say everyone there is a product of a quota system, because that's the way Indiana sets up their program. I draw no conclusions about quality, other than quality is not the overriding admissions concern. That is why I will not be applying.

(And not that it matters, but I checked out the *current* fiction student photo page, and maybe four people are white [of those, one or two are gay or lesbian, according to the admin], the rest are a rainbow, not limited to black or asian. Again, commendable, but I think color is a lousy yardstick for diversity. Just visit my 'highly diverse', rich neo-con high school if you don't believe me!)


This is the response I took issue with.

You started by saying that you corresponded with someone from the program who suggested that race was more important than quality or merit. I doubt this occurred, but I will play your game for a minute. Next, you conclude that based on the website, everyone (the minorities I'm guessing) is a 'product of a quota system'. Nevermind that you readily admit that you haven't talked with any of the current students. Nevermind that you haven't read the work or been in workshop with any of the current students.

Then you conclude that quality is 'not the overriding admissions concern', which is an indirect statement about the quality of the program. Nevermind that you have no evidence for any of these conclusions, except the website. Nevermind that you think it's all right to make wild, unfounded claims about a group of people because of their race/ethnicity.

There is nothing discriminatory about their admissions or funding practices. This isn't undergrad; your funding is not determined by your SES or expected family contribution. This is fairly basic information about humanities grad programs.

I don't see why you continue to link diversity with the absence of merit or absence of excellent reading and writing skills. While some of your classmates will turn out to be duds, I think it's safe to assume that excellent reading and writing skills are a prerequisite to admittance to a quality MFA program.

Finally, I'm not birthofanation, although I agree with his/her post about the motivations for your posts. Don't you think it's a bit paranoid/wacked out to claim that anyone who disagrees with you is posting under an alias?

HopperFu: great list of criteria.


(This post was edited by shadowboxer on Mar 16, 2006, 11:28 PM)


murasaki
Marie Mockett

Mar 16, 2006, 11:43 PM

Post #9 of 100 (4569 views)
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Italics are Birthofanation's comments:

The assumption that just because someone thinks there are more colored faces than 'normal', or, not as many white faces as they would like, means that they will not be accepted because they are white is wrong.

Right. Correlation and not causation.

For the record, "underrepresented groups" does not mean race. It can mean religion, it can mean socioeconomic status. A poor white from Appalachia is a example of a underrepresented group. So is a South African. So is an Iraqi. So is a Swede. To assume that underrepresented are admitted not because of their talent is to assume they cannot have enough talent, and this is not meant to offend but euphamisms aside, this is racist and classist.

I think the other thing to say is that writing programs are trying to make the commitment to help make sure that these stories are told. There is very much a type of authorial voice up until a certain point in history -- a typical kind of omniscient narrator (and yes, I realize I'm making gross generalizations). I still feel even today, for example, that when I read a lot of contemporary British authors, I can hear shades of that super confident, slightly distant "voice of the empire".

I think that the quality of the omniscient narrator in this country has really changed because we have so many more voices speaking than before, and part of this is because the market has opened up and there is interest in a greater variety of voices and experiences which, quite frankly, more accurately represents the present, and most certainly represents the future.



poetastin


Mar 17, 2006, 12:02 AM

Post #10 of 100 (4559 views)
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     Re: [shadowboxer] MFA Programs and Diversity  

This is fairly ridiculous. I don't know how I could be more clear. I know a former student. I spoke with the school. I read their web site. You, too, may do two of these things.

Read the site. Draw your own conclusions! It states that they "recruit" based on race. That they choose people based on ethnicity and orientation to have a round or 'diverse' program. I'm not sure how you conclude that this isn't discriminatory. They don't make choices based solely on the manuscript, or--egads!---'ability'. Maybe 'discriminatory' is too strong a word for you. Perhaps you could find a synonym more to your liking.

Again, I don't object to diversity. I don't link 'diversity' with lack of merit. I question if real diversity is achieved simply by filling spots with different random ethnicities, as if you were collecting a set. (I'm not sure how you conclude I feel otherwise, but I'm happy to type it all out again). Indiana is the only school I contacted to make this their primary selling point (they did misjudge my particular minority status--this could have had something to do with it).

The funding does in fact revolve around race. Look it up, and you will see: there's a hispanic package, an afro-american package, etc. This implies that they are looking for X amount of certain ethnicities to bestow each year. That is a quota. Or quota-like, you may argue. The funding does not take into account financial need; only race. I don't know if I need to spell this out further (something tells me I do).

Birthofanation made one post. In response to mine. (S)he could not have known of my post unless (s)he was already a site member under a different alias. (Unless you seriously believe someone just registered tonight with that name, with no regard to the context of those posts).

Well, all right. Fire back with "But you don't like diveritaty!" Or use your head, either way.

And murasaki, while I can respect the issues birthofanation raises in the sections you quote, it's important to note that, for the purposes of this conversation, about Indiana, no one was really making those arguments. And clearly, Indiana does not include anything beyond ethnicity or orientation in their discussion of 'diversity'. You guys are setting up strawmen.

As for a 'minority voice', that is a very tricky issue, as evidenced most recently by Nasdijj, I guess.


(This post was edited by poetastin on Mar 17, 2006, 12:08 AM)


murasaki
Marie Mockett

Mar 17, 2006, 12:20 AM

Post #11 of 100 (4540 views)
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In Reply To

Birthofanation made one post. In response to mine. (S)he could not have known of my post unless (s)he was already a site member under a different alias. (Unless you seriously believe someone just registered tonight with that name, with no regard to the context of those posts).



Birthofanation registered as a user on March 3rd, and has probably been lurking/following our discussions since then. Click on his/her name and you'll that that is the case. I think to continue to insist that Shadowboxer created this as an alias is absurd. Knowing Shadowboxer as I do, the accusation you are making is ludicrous. Yes, I seriously believe that Birthofnation registered on March 3rd, and found a post in which she or he suddenly had something to say . . . and said it.


In Reply To



And murasaki, while I can respect the issues birthofanation raises in the sections you quote, it's important to note that, for the purposes of this conversation, about Indiana, no one was really making those arguments. And clearly, Indiana does not include anything beyond ethnicity or orientation in their discussion of 'diversity'. You guys are setting up strawmen.

As for a 'minority voice', that is a very tricky issue, as evidenced most recently by Nasdijj, I guess.



This new post was about "MFA Programs and Diversity" and not just Indiana; check the title. I was trying to help broaden the discussion, so it would go in a more positive direction. Clarabow made it clear she didn't want this to be a discussion aimed at one person -- namely you -- but it does seem to come back to you.

I do not see why, as you say, for the "purposes of this conversation . . . no one was making those arguments." Perhaps no one was making these arguments before: I have added these factors into the discussion. I fail to see how these points are strawmen. If you want to have an intelligent conversation about MFA Programs and Diversity (again, the title of the thread), then the discussion deserves more than your own opinions and experiences.

Minority voice is interesting, tricky and complex, I agree and I imagine the general debate on this will go on for a long time to come. Perhaps you can elaborate more on what you mean by Nasdijj in this context.


(This post was edited by murasaki on Mar 17, 2006, 12:25 AM)


clarabow


Mar 17, 2006, 12:37 AM

Post #12 of 100 (4533 views)
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Poe, my question doesn't suggest that people entering graduate writing programs are against diversity. My question was, what is wrong with a program making an effort to gain diversity in their workshops? That's exactly what I asked. You seem to be very sensitive about people not misreading you, so please don't misread what little I have posted on this topic so far by suggesting that I'm making wild assumptions about graduate students. Thank you for posting, as I am interested to hear what everyone has to say regarding the "ethnicity issue" when it comes to MFA admissions.

Marie, thank you for your comments. I have to say, I tend to agree with you. This is really interesting. I'll probably jump in with my full thoughts soon, but I am still kind of digesting all of this and processing your statements right now. Continue on.


poetastin


Mar 17, 2006, 12:40 AM

Post #13 of 100 (4529 views)
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Point taken! Birthofanation wrote that in (non)-response to me, so I was coming at it from that angle.

I don't think there's an easily identifiable minority voice, if that's what you're arguing. That would assume a sort of essentialist view of ethnicity that just goes against everything else that we argue about in terms of race. Sibyline says fiction, or a writer's 'tales', are inseparable from a writer's identity, but as Nasdijj (most recently) proves, this is just not the case. People exploit that belief to sell their work. And this includes a few 'ethnic' trustfundian friends of my own, whose families have been in the US longer than mine, that spin wonderful tales of their homeland like they just stepped off the boat, stuff that is eaten up by a certain type of reader, but laughed at by say, my other friends, the ones that really did just step off the boat and tend to know actual things about their culture. This I find very interesting. Personally, I don't tend to care much as long as a story is compelling, but certain guys I know get all riled up when say, Ha Jin wins awards for what they consider banal falsities. (I think I'm too sleepy now to continue...)


Clara: I guess it just depends on what you mean by 'encouraging diversity'. My sense is that all schools have a diverse applicant group, and that most go by manuscript alone and end up with a diverse bunch. Indiana seeks a collection of differently colored people, as if students were skittles. I think real diversity means something else. As sibyline mentions, there's already a 'diversity' of stories and styles in application manuscripts, different perspectives on display. Why go for something superficial, like skin color?


(This post was edited by poetastin on Mar 17, 2006, 12:47 AM)


shadowboxer


Mar 17, 2006, 12:46 AM

Post #14 of 100 (4526 views)
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Our graduate program is relatively small, currently enrolling thirty-nine Students. We normally accept twelve new students each year (six in fiction, six in poetry), and work to recruit as strong and diverse an entering class as possible... The M.F.A. Program has a strong commitment to, and history of, diversity. Applicants to the program frequently cite the diversity of its faculty and student body as an important factor in their decision to seek admission. Currently over a third of our first-, second-, and third-year M.F.A. students are African American, Latino/a, Asian American or Native American. We have also sought to make the program a congenial and supportive environment for gay and lesbian students, international students, first-generation college students, and students who are single parents. Our program makes every effort to recruit the strongest and most diverse annual entering class of students possible and offers students of color the Neal-Marshall Graduate Fellowships in Creative Writing in addition to all of our other fellowship lines.

This is their statement on diversity. There are many types of diversity mentioned in the statement. Their statement implies that their idea of diversity isn't limited to race. There is also a fundamental difference between accepting and recruiting. I'm betting that most of their recruiting is done after they accept someone through personal phone calls and visits to campus. Again this is standard practice at some MFA programs and many humanities grad programs.

Again, it doesn't seem as if their idea of diversity is based on collecting minorities like coins. They may have prejudged your ethnicity and I'm sure that their response was meant to anticipate the questions and issues people from underrepresented backgrounds might have with the program. I elaborated on that in the other thread.

There is one fellowship for African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans (covering all students from underrepresented backgrounds). I don't see separate funding packages for different minorities. There are a number of fellowships open to everyone and even a special fellowship for students in 'acute need'. Certain schools have fellowship restrictions because donors establish funds for a specific demographic (gender, geography, country of origin etc.). I don't see why this is a problem here.

For the last time, they discuss many different types of diversity in their statement. And as others have alluded to on this thread, ethnicity and race often influence the kinds of stories that people want to tell. I think your colorblind approach to matters of race is an ill-fitting model.

What is tricky about minority voice?


RogahDodgah


Mar 17, 2006, 12:50 AM

Post #15 of 100 (4522 views)
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"The funding does in fact revolve around race. Look it up, and you will see: there's a hispanic package, an afro-american package, etc. This implies that they are looking for X amount of certain ethnicities to bestow each year. That is a quota. Or quota-like, you may argue. The funding does not take into account financial need; only race. I don't know if I need to spell this out further (something tells me I do)"

Hmm... I've looked around the Indiana CW website, and I just don't see anything like what you describe:
http://www.indiana.edu/~mfawrite/fellows.html

Maybe you looked somewhere else I didn't see, but it seems like their is a single CW fellowship specifically for ethnic-minorities, and then general IU grad school minority fellowships. This does not seem extreme or even exceptional compared to any other program or school that I have looked into, and hardly a "quota" system.

Additional quotes from the IU website regarding admissions and diversity:
"Each committee member reads every application sent to us carefully, with a decided emphasis on the manuscript portion. We look for talent that genuinely excites us and that we feel we can work with and develop. The manuscript portion of the application is, by far, the most important part of the application and the main criterion on which decisions of acceptance are based. "

and

"The M.F.A. Program has a strong commitment to, and history of, diversity. Applicants to the program frequently cite the diversity of its faculty and student body as an important factor in their decision to seek admission. Currently over a third of our first-, second-, and third-year M.F.A. students are African American, Latino/a, Asian American or Native American. We have also sought to make the program a congenial and supportive environment for gay and lesbian students, international students, first-generation college students, and students who are single parents. Our program makes every effort to recruit the strongest and most diverse annual entering class of students possible and offers students of color the Neal-Marshall Graduate Fellowships in Creative Writing in addition to all of our other fellowship lines."

They seem to be proud of the fact that 1/3 of their students are from ethnic-minorities, not that 1/3 of their accepted students HAVE to be ethnic-minorities.

Perhaps I missed something, or maybe this is all essentially a non-argument based upon misinformation and/or misunderstanding. But there's nothing structurally in IU's acceptance process (as stated on the website) that requires them to accept any minority students.

If there is affirmative action going on, than it is in it's most benign innocous form. I only write all this because it bothers me when people mischaracterize any and all applications of affirmative action as "quota systems". Quotas are wrong and counterproductive, I agree, but I don't see that or anything even resembling that going on here. I don't think what Indiana is actually doing can be seen as anything but positive.


murasaki
Marie Mockett

Mar 17, 2006, 1:11 AM

Post #16 of 100 (4507 views)
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In Reply To
Point taken!

Good. Glad that is settled. ;-) Shadowboxer doesn't back down from a fight and doesn't need to resort to an alias.

In Reply To


Sibyline says fiction, or a writer's 'tales', are inseparable from a writer's identity, but as Nasdijj (most recently) proves, this is just not the case. People exploit that belief to sell their work.

Nasdijj was "caught" and "outed." It was the very "untrue" nature of his story-telling which alerted writers more knowledgeable about their own culture that Nasdijj wasn't really a Native American. There is a difference between selling your work, and selling your work and being a good writer. Of course, if just selling your work is all that matters, then absolutely none of these discussions have any value.

In Reply To


Indiana seeks a collection of differently colored people, as if students were skittles. I think real diversity means something else. As sibyline mentions, there's already a 'diversity' of stories and styles in application manuscripts, different perspectives on display. Why go for something superficial, like skin color?

I think other people have responded to this already; in regards to just Indiana, the school does not seem to emphasize only skin color.


Windiciti



Mar 17, 2006, 1:18 AM

Post #17 of 100 (4500 views)
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Please don't think me superficial. but I thought Indiana U.'s site was frankly refreshing.

I spent 10 years of my life as a minority recruiter in an African American firm that found candidates for corporate America.
The cands. were often just as or even more qualified than white candidates, and pursued fiercely by corporations trying to redress their past mistakes of discrimination.

Although I can't read the intentions of the folks who designed IU's site, I felt that they are trying to get a good mix of talents. EVERYONE is going to be a good writer of course, but they will hold a few places for Blacks, Latinos and Asians who are greatly underrepresented in MFA and PHd. Creative Writing programs.
Just met w/2 friends who are at UIC's administration---Latinos-- and one told me that last week was the first time in 6-10 years that a Latina rec'd. a PH.d in English or Creative Writing. Yes, indeed, minorities are highly underrepresented---Latinos more than African Americans.

Illinois has a special grad. fellowship program called "Diversifying Faculty in Illinois" (DFI) to remedy the situation of underrepresentation of minorities in post-secondary institutions throughout the state. Believe me, they wd. not do it if the problem did not exist!

UIC accepted 6 Fiction writers out of 180 candidates for their MCW program this year (yes, I was rejected) and I would venture to say NOT ONE OF THEM is a minority.

So Indiana, not an urban center like UIC, is doing a good job going out of its way to find some minorities.

Unfortunately being Jewish or an Atheist, and I am BOTH, is not a special underrepresented category.

I wrote this to bring in a slightly different perspective; not to offend or label anyone.


emptymug


Mar 17, 2006, 1:23 AM

Post #18 of 100 (4498 views)
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What about schools like Iowa or Virginia? Do you think they pay any attention to "multicultural writing"? At some places, it might be a disadvantage...to write about different cultures...and at some places...it might be more appreciated (like Indiana)...


viviandarkbloom


Mar 17, 2006, 1:38 AM

Post #19 of 100 (4491 views)
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In regard to Iowa and diversity, the last two Iowa books I read were written by Asian women. This is not to say that the place is not predominantly white, but I suspect (someone can correct me on this) that the homogeneity there is more about style than culture.

As far as Indiana is concerned, I applied, I'm white, and I'm anticipating a rejection, but I'm not really sure I want to go there anyway: the academic and teaching loads seem to be heavier than I realized, leaving little time to write.


Windiciti



Mar 17, 2006, 1:45 AM

Post #20 of 100 (4486 views)
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I'm glad you asked... even though I don't know the answer about Iowa and Va.

Most of the time I am the only Latina in any writing class I attend. Most people appreciate my cultural bent, except for one class of all white lawyers and accountants who asked me
if I could write something a little less...diverse. So I did, as a joke, and they didn't get it! In fact they loved it!

Some of my stories have featured Latinos, Middle Easterners, Indians, Americans, Brits, Anglo-Argentines, etc., etc. which I think is pretty panoramic and broad.

I will be attending a workshop in June at UW-Madison on the short story, and I will tell you bluntly that I am going because the professor, Audrey Petty is an African-American from the Chicago area, and faculty at the MFA at U of IL in Champaign/Urbana.

I'm trying to get a different perspective in every way: about my writing and from a writer of color.

There is a great one in San Francisco in July for writers of color funded the NFA but I can't go. Junot Diaz is one of the teachers! The web address is www.vona-voices.org
Voices of a Nation program at USF. They have scholarships.

Let me know what you think, emptymug.
The issue has been troubling me for a while.
NU, the school I will probably attend, shows a few different faces in their brochure, which is good for me.


sibyline


Mar 17, 2006, 2:01 AM

Post #21 of 100 (4480 views)
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In Reply To
Sibyline says fiction, or a writer's 'tales', are inseparable from a writer's identity, but as Nasdijj (most recently) proves, this is just not the case.


Not quite sure if you're intentionally misrepresenting my argument or if you just can't see past your prejudices to understand that to characterize my statements in this way is blatantly simplistic and reductionist. The relatiolnship between identity and fiction is not just or even primarily about content.

I would suggest that you contend with the argument on its own terms, rather than creating a straw man. I have read enough Ishiguro, Peter Ho Davies, Salman Rushdie, to name a few writers, to be able to come to the realization that "Oh my God! Minority writers *can* write about white people!!!" Get a clue.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 17, 2006, 2:29 AM

Post #22 of 100 (4472 views)
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Quote
My question was, what is wrong with a program making an effort to gain diversity in their workshops?


The problem, AFAIC, clarabow is that your question is loaded. The issue with Indiana's (alleged) policies might be illuminated by rephrasing it:

"What is wrong with a program using race as a major factor in admissions?"

or

"What is wrong with a program enforcing 'diversity' by a narrow standard?"

or any other number of rephrasings.

(I'm slightly inebriated here, so excuse my spelling mistakes and rambling. To use an analogy, lets say we were discussing the problems of plagarising on a paper. I feel like your phrasing above would be akin to responding to the plagarizing discussion by saying "What's wrong with trying to do well in school?"

Obviously nothing is wrong with trying to do well in school PER SE, or desiring diversity PER SE. The problem is cheating to do well or in factoring superficial factors like ethnicity in a field that is supposed to only reward talent. The devil is in the details here.

One thing I think poe is right on about is that diverse skin color is not, by any stretch, a gaurentee of diversity. I could EASILY pick a group of 10 white male new england writers that were far more diverse in style, subject matter and thems than a group I picked of 10 writers each from a different ethnicity. (This is NOT to say that white males are more diverse than minorities, but just to say that trying to get diversity by skin color is silly. I've known many many non-whites in my time and have never seen any indication they are more diverse than others on any substantial level, especially one substantial to writing, automatically. You can find a group of black people from a tiny town in lousiana and have them be very diverse. Things like skin color or religion don't mean diversity.)

The problem with trying to gain diversity in a program is that 90% of the time this means some kind of quota or pseudo-quota thing, which is bullshit. The best writing should win, end of story.

If by trying to gian diversity you mean sponsoring programs to encourage poor inner-city kids to write or something along those lines, rock n roll. But if it means judging race as a factor in admissions or artificially creating "diversity" by having differeint skin colors or religions represented... no thanks.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Mar 17, 2006, 2:52 AM)


viviandarkbloom


Mar 17, 2006, 2:33 AM

Post #23 of 100 (4471 views)
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     Re: [Clench Million] MFA Programs and Diversity  

Are you guys still here? It's Saint Patrick's Day! Go have a drink!


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 17, 2006, 2:43 AM

Post #24 of 100 (4470 views)
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     Re: [Windiciti] MFA Programs and Diversity  


Quote
but they will hold a few places for Blacks, Latinos and Asians who are greatly underrepresented in MFA and PHd. Creative Writing programs.


Is this any real evidence of this?

I would not be surprised if african americans, for example, where OVER represented int he writing world, based just on what i've seen anecodtotally. I also wouldnt' be suprised if minorities were underrepresented, but I dont' see any reason to take as a forgone conclusion that minorities are underrepresented much less "greatly" underrepresented.

Lets face it, in the current cultural climate minorities (even fake minorties like "women" [fake in that they aren't a minority]) are awarded an automatic authority and there is more of a demand for their writings. The best example would probably be homosexuals, who most surveys show only constiute a mere 1-3% of the population, yet who certainly constitute more than that for media characters, writers, actors, etc.

I'm not suggesting that these "minority" writers are inferior or that this is a problem at all. I just don't see any reason to automatically assume minorities are "greatly underrepresented" withotu some actual evidence.

There has been a bit of discussion recently in the media about how women make up a good majority of college students and a vast majority for fields like english and the arts AND they do better, yet they still receive tons of special scholarships, fellowships and yada yada. Which is to say, there are plenty of examples of overrepresented groups that continue to get benefits encouraging them to be more overrepresented, so why should we automatically believe that minorities are "greatly underrepresented." Do you have any stats?


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It's possible to argue that Indiana's criteria for good writing necessarily takes unique viewpoints into account.


sib, my only problem with this is that we are talking about a short writing sample and a one page bio here. A person's viewpoints aren't really gonna come through in that. I'm sure admissions people don't have the foggiest idea what my "views" on things are, they just have a superficial knowledge of my history.

Certainly I'd appreciate being with people who have diverse philosophical views, life outlooks, writing styles, etc. But I suspect a program like Indiana's (if poe's allegations are true) is merely going to have diverse skin tones, which don't mean anything most of the time....


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Mar 17, 2006, 3:05 AM)


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 17, 2006, 2:54 AM

Post #25 of 100 (4464 views)
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     Re: [viviandarkbloom] MFA Programs and Diversity  

It ain't St. Patrick's day until the sun comes up, AFAIC.

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