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"Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid."

Junot Díaz, speaking at Yale  (via malinche)

Those final four sentences are something else.

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"Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn’t make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential."

Junot Díaz, “The Junot Díaz Episode" (18 November 2013) on Fan Bros, a podcast “for geek culture via people of colors” (via kynodontas)

Junot Diaz stay not fucking up. This is a really good interview.

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"Motherfuckers will read a book that’s 1/3 elvish, but put two sentences in Spanish and White people think we’re taking over."

Junot Diaz to the interview question “Do you think using Spanish in your writing alienates some of your readers?” (via spoopyzourry)

Always reblog Junot Diaz

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"Listen, I think one of the things that’s real strange, and I see it with my kids, is that they have entire networks of communications, and entire networks of joining up with each other and talking that I think elude folks like me and older. I mean I’m not on Tumblr every darn day, I’m not. I don’t have Instagram. I don’t get on any of these networks that my kids are on. There’s all this movement, and information that’s passing and that is slipping past what we would call the mainstream radar. And my kids, my students, they understand that there’s kinda two worlds; the official world where they’ll go work and the official world where they’ll talk to adults and in that official world folks don’t talk about race, folks don’t talk about rape, folks don’t acknowledge how much young people are doing, what they’re doing, folks don’t talk about how many gay folks are out there. And then… there’s the world they live on, the ground, where they’re seeing this stuff right up front. And I think a lot of what’s going on is that a lot of communities are becoming bilingual. Speaking real speak, and real speak is the stuff we acknowledge is happening. And speaking the official speak, and the official speak we don’t acknowledge any of this stuff. It’s code but it’s also negation, because part of what you’re seeing with the republican madness is, what they wanna do is put that story back. They wanna push it back, they wanna negate it, they wanna erase it. I think when you speak the official code, part of it is erasing. You want to not talk about this, not talk about that, let’s just talk about the old thing. And you if you talk about anything new Ima get real mad at you."

— Junot Diaz - Moyers & Company Show 151: Rewriting the Story of America (via kenobi-wan-obi)

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"“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”"

- Junot Diaz (via Tatiana Richards)

Wow…

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Gut punch.

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"1) Not reading enough. 2) Being far more obsessed with approval than with what the work is demanding. 3) Way too much awareness of this as a profession rather than as an artistic calling. My students already know about agents. That’s kind of insane! 4) This is self-serving, but I certainly don’t think that most people who write and publish are taking long enough. 5) Not writing as a reader. Most of the young writers I know seem to be writing for other writers."

Junot Diaz on mistakes fiction writers make

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/the-scene/events/Junot-Diaz-Talks-about-His-New-Book-Heartbreak-Poetry-and-The-Craft-of-Writing-169354486.html

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'The Baseline Is, You Suck': Junot Diaz on Men Who Write About Women

  • The Atlantic: It sounds like you're saying that literary "talent" doesn't inoculate a writer—especially a male writer—from making gross, false misjudgments about gender. You'd think being a great writer would give you empathy and the ability to understand people who are unlike you—whether we're talking about gender or another category. But that doesn't seem to be the case.
  • Junot Diaz: I think that unless you are actively, consciously working against the gravitational pull of the culture, you will predictably, thematically, create these sort of fucked-up representations. Without fail. The only way not to do them is to admit to yourself [that] you're fucked up, admit to yourself that you're not good at this shit, and to be conscious in the way that you create these characters. It's so funny what people call inspiration. I have so many young writers who're like, "Well I was inspired. This was my story." And I'm like, "OK. Sir, your inspiration for your stories is like every other male's inspiration for their stories: that the female is only in there to provide sexual service." There comes a time when this mythical inspiration is exposed for doing exactly what it's truthfully doing: to underscore and reinforce cultural structures, or I'd say, cultural asymmetry.