We missed noting the story reported in the Washington Post late last week about an aspiring poet named Michael Derrick Hudson of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was having trouble getting his poetry accepted in any poetry journals. So what did he do? Pretended to be Chinese:
Sherman Alexie read hundreds, maybe thousands, of poems last year while editing the 2015 edition of Best American Poetry, an annual anthology that comes out Tuesday. Just over six dozen of them made the final cut, including “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” by Yi-Fen Chou, 20 brief, cynical lines on the absurdity of desire.
But after Alexie had chosen the poem for the collection, he promptly got a note from the author, who turned out not to be the rueful, witty Chinese American poet he’d imagined while reading the piece.
It was written by Michael Derrick Hudson of Fort Wayne, Ind., a genealogist at the Allen County Public Library who, given his field of expertise, could probably easily explain that he is not of Asian descent.
Hudson, who is white, wrote in his bio for the anthology that he chose the Chinese-sounding nom de plume after “The Bees” was rejected by 40 different journals when submitted under his real name. He figured that the poem might have a better shot at publication if it was written by somebody else.
Well, perhaps this is just a social justice makeup call for the fact that Asians are being massively discriminated against in elite college admissions these days. I’m sure Rachel Dolezal would understand.
I’ve been thinking for a while that if people can self-identify as anything (gender or race) that they want, then everyone should start declaring themselves to be a racial minority (except Asian—the only officially disfavored minority) on college applications, mortgage loan applications, Census forms, etc, until this whole corrupt edifice collapses.