Class Spotlight: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Literature

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Class Spotlight: Diverse Voices in Contemporary Literature

Kavya Weaver '20, News Editor

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Are you tired of reading books written by deceased white men? Are you frustrated by never seeing your culture or personal experiences reflected in your English class’s curriculum? Are you eager to read more multicultural literature? If you can relate to any of the previous sentiments, then I highly recommend that you take Diverse Voices in Contemporary Literature, a class that is designed to highlight underrepresented and marginalized voices in literature. The fact that reading diverse literature is relegated to an elective rather than being incorporated into the core English curriculum shows that there is still a lot of progress to be made, but the existence of this class bears witness to the school’s effort to bring attention to traditionally disenfranchised voices. I eagerly signed up for Diverse Voices when I read the description of the class in the course catalog the spring of junior year, and it has been my favorite class so far this school year. Although I can certainly appreciate the classical literature we’ve read in my past English classes, I’ve always been frustrated by the lack of works by authors of color in our school’s English curriculum. Finally having a class that recognized this deficiency has been very gratifying for me, and I think that the creation of this relatively new course is one step towards ensuring that every student of color at OC feels seen and valued. This single semester course focuses on the topics of racism, immigration, and identity by exploring a variety of multicultural texts. Our class just finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and we’ve spent the past few weeks examining how black Americans have been systematically oppressed in this country, both historically and in present day. The dynamic Mrs. Rinkacs has facilitated engaging discussions among the class, and we’ve been able to thoughtfully talk about sensitive and often difficult subjects. I’ve learned so much from both the texts we’ve been reading in class and from my classmates, and I’m excited to hear everyone’s opinions as we continue discussing important ideas about racism. I want to emphasize that this class is for everyone – even if you don’t identify as a member of an underrepresented community, it’s important for every student at OC to recognize the enormous and often overlooked literary contribution of writers of color and to expand your understanding of the unique struggles of communities of color in our country. I genuinely believe that this is one of the most important classes offered at this school, and I’m writing this article because I think it deserves more attention. I promise that you will be deeply challenged and edified if you take this class, so consider signing up for it when course selection season comes around!

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