Fear of Appropriation

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks! Today I’m going to share a little about what I’ve been going through with my writing, and I would love some ideas, support, feedback, etc. Whatever you have, throw it at me. I am happy to learn!

So, here is what has been going on. About a year ago, after I released my first book, I started hearing the word cultural appropriation thrown around in terms of artists, etc. While it wasn’t about me or my work, I began to wonder if publishing my book, Vivir el Dream, was cultural appropriation. For those who aren’t aware of cultural appropriation, here is an interesting Wikipedia page about it. The first sentence of the article gives a pretty good explanation of its meaning: “Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power.”

I am a member of the dominant culture writing about members of a minority culture in a country where there is an imbalance of power between dominant and minority cultures. And though I am married to someone from the culture I am writing about, have many friends and family from that culture, go to church almost exclusively with my brothers and sisters in Christ from that culture, work with people from that culture on a daily basis, am bilingual, and in my heart feel like that culture is part of me, I know that in the end, I am on the outside looking in. There are many things I can miss or won’t ever completely understand because I am not actually from that culture. Not to mention any unconscious bias that might be hiding inside me.

To complicate the matter, I was doing research for my current WIP by asking a friend about some cultural aspects of El Salvador that I was unfamiliar with: language and food questions, etc. During this conversation she wrote something along the lines of “Gringos, always trying to talk about things they don’t understand.” I got angry about it and then got worried about it and spoke with another friend who had been writing a lot about race and bias. Her reply, “Well, she’s not wrong.” This began a complete tailspin and an overwhelming fear of appropriation. I almost trashed my WIP and since have developed a giant case of writer’s block. It has shaken me to my core. Am I writing what God wants me to write? Should I be writing something completely different?

When I prayed about my WIP, God gave me more ideas to turn the book into a series. So I didn’t chuck it. Now even though I feel in my heart that God has led me to where I am with writing and I am writing what God wants me to write, fear is hindering me. I don’t want to appropriate culture. I don’t want to misrepresent. I just want to share God’s love and create understanding within our communities.

So, what’s a girl to do? Please comment below. Thoughts and advice appreciated!

Allison K. García

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Open Discussion – How to Deal with Prejudice/Racism towards Diverse Books

DBTP - letstalkHappy Saturday, Diverse Book Readers!

I hope everyone has had a lovely week. There has been a lot of negative news in the last few days, so I am glad to have a place like this where people can encourage each other and where we can see that there is hope for a brighter, more diverse future in literature and the world in general.

With the current volatile climate towards diversity, diverse books are more important than ever. Diverse books throughout time have changed people’s views and hearts.

But still there will be people who are angry about diversity and who may even quote scripture or use their words of hatred to quell excitement about diverse books.

This week’s question is: What should we do (or what have you done) when confronted with prejudice or racism towards diverse literature? And what are some of your favorite diverse books that have made a difference in the world?

Please comment below! We can all learn from each other. 🙂

Discussion by Allison K. Garcia

Welcome to Diversity Between the Pages

diversity-profileThank you for stopping by, Diversity Between the Pages. I wanted to take a moment to tell you about our vision. We wanted to create a place where readers could find Christian fiction featuring diverse characters. So many people seem to have a hard time finding these books.

We want to be able to connect you with the books as well as the authors who have poured their heart onto the pages of a story used to glorify God. Since we live in a diverse world, it would stand to reason that we would desire fiction to reflect diversity.

Our goal is to be “your stop for diverse Christian fiction.” Every book featured on this blog will have a main character (or prominent secondary character) who comes from a diverse racial background (i.e., African American, Asian, Hispanic, etc.)

Mondays, we will share author interviews. Wednesdays, we will share a book spotlight. Fridays we will share a book review.

Please be sure to check out our Contributors. Our Diverse books recommendation page is currently under construction, but we hope to have it up and running soon. You can also find us on Facebook.


Welcome post written by Toni Shiloh.