i love these readings, too, and i go to lots of them. and i know this is a touchy subject, especially when it's offered by a white dude, but hear me out. you say the readings like the african-american themed readings are places where poets can go and be surrounded by those who are of the same community, who look like them and share the same experiences, but i still think that every slam is exactly that, especially when we're talking about race and ethnicity.
i think every slam across the country is a showcase of all kinds of people doing poems about their racial and ethnic identity, so i don't see why there needs to be an additional reading championing any particular race or ethnicity. granted, there might be small slams in small towns that don't have racial diversity, but, for the most part, creating a safe and welcoming and supportive environment for people to explore their background and heritage has already been done. we rejoice as a community in all races and ethnicities, so again i say why do we still need an african-american slam?
now, again, i still see a need for a queer reading and a womens reading because there is still a need for championing those folks and offering a safe place to rejoice and express along these lines, but for racial issues, i just don't see it any more.
what i am asking, i guess, is why is there a need for them? now, i really don't think i am some dumb white guy who needs schooling on issues of race in america, i know the struggle for equality in america continues. but within our slam community, i think the battle was long ago won as far as race goes.
and again, if people love these themed readings, then we should still have them, and i will still go like always, but it still makes me wonder why they are there.
i would much rather have readings that were organized along thematic lines that we all share -- comedy reading, political reading, form readings, cover readings -- that everyone can go to. that way each of these readings is not only a celebration of a particular theme, but they are always celebrations of the diversity within the community since EVERYBODY is welcome.
so, tell me more!