Rigoberto González on SB1070

Earlier this week, we commented on our own Tayari Jones’ public boycott of Arizona.    Now Rigoberto González, another writer on our faculty, has written in protest of SB1070 on the Poetry Foundation’s blog, Harriet.  In particular, he is asking all of us in the NY area to join a public protest of this bill on May 1st.  He writes,

Let us not kid ourselves about what Arizona has presented itself to be. Wasn’t it one of the last hold-outs to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? And didn’t the state cave in after the NFL refused to hold the Super Bowl in a state that disregarded this important civil rights commemoration? If black athletes and their allies felt uncomfortable playing football in such a hostile environment, try showing up to a reading, knowing that you’ve got nothing but Mexican all over your face and that the people from your homeland must carry documentation or risk detention and deportation. (Hey, Arizona, if you object to this depiction of you, then change your ways.)

But in the end, it’s not even those things that anger me the most: it’s that out of fear, undocumented people will no longer seek out the police to report crimes, making them more vulnerable than they already are. It’s that it’s that much easier to victimize a population that has been labeled criminal, unwanted, and worthless. (read full post here)

Both professors received their MFAs at Arizona, and both challenge the state to live up to something better.  I looked on the web for some kind of statement from the Creative Writing program on the issue, and could not find one (will update if I’m proven wrong).  However, I do know that students from Arizona schools are walking out, and the U. of Arizona does fear that the new policy will effect enrollment next year.  The fact that our faculty is taking a strong stance on this just underlines the truth that writing can and should be political.

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4 Responses to Rigoberto González on SB1070

  1. curious says:

    Is this blog really the place for politics or is it intended to be a place to share the events surrounding Rutgers Newark and the MFA program. By posting this you assume that those reading believe that what the two professors are saying is correct and also that writing and politics must have a left/liberal belief base. Your assumption on both as well as statements in this blog is faulty at best.

    On the other hand by posting your support of these rants and boycotts you imply to those reading this, that Rutgers’ MFA program is home to Left leaning ideological beliefs. Is it fair to broadcast this as the stance of the program and this blog? What of others who might not agree with this image that is being put forth? Should current or future students who think contrary to the professors and students (as this post implies) not attend Rutgers, or not speak up.

    A blatant political message should not be posted as part of this blog meant to help students be aware of opportunities for writing in and around Newark.

    • rnmfa says:

      Interesting response. This blog has a number of writers with a number of different beliefs, and this is the “unofficial” blog, not the official one. One writer (Me, Moira Moody) is writing in support of two of her professors. If this were an official blog that had to represent the official stance of the program I would think twice about this, but that’s not the case.

      I don’t think those that don’t feel this way should not enter the program, and I am sorry if anyone construed it in that way. I sent an email to the entire program about blog writing, and will even accept guest posts on this issue.


  2. Dickson says:

    I see the blog as a forum for students, so I’m glad to hear differing views on issues. Makes life much more interesting! I see the point made about this not being a “political” blog, and we should exercise discretion with what gets posted. For example, topics should be framed in terms of how it relates to us as writers, and not simply a political rant.

    I think the post does meet this criteria. The main purpose to this post and an earlier one on this topic is about sharing what some of our professors are publicly expressing on a major issue. Isn’t that important for all of us to know, whether or not you agree with them?

    Also, we should understand writing and literature are not politically neutral. Never has been. The AZ bill is relevant for many writers, especially for those of us who are immigrants, writers of colors, or simply writers who care about social issues. If people want to have a healthy dialogue or debate about this, that conversation is probably best to have in person, not on this blog. It’s just another reason to grab a drink!


  3. rnmfa says:

    Dear curious, I’m truly sorry if I offended with my post about Tayari Jones’ protest of the anti-immigrant bill. I’d like to explain the reason why I thought that it was relevant to the RN MFA blog. My own politics aside, I believe it is important that those affiliated with or interested in the program are updated as to faculty members’ public discourse (political or apolitical). As Dickson pointed out, authors very infrequently write outside the purview of social and political issues. It would be near impossible to create an a-political blog that accurately represented the diverse community of the RN-MFA program. For example, we wouldn’t be able to fully comment on the global politics and religious topics broached during Roger Sedarat’s reading at this past February’s Writers @ Newark. While I agree that this blog should not prioritize politics over academics, some discussion of politics is inherent to the academic experience, especially in a writing program.

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