(Feb. 11, 2023) Salon OpEd about Reading Beyond “American Dirt”

I coauthored an op-ed in Salon with my colleagues in US Latinx Studies, David J. Vázquez and Magdalena L. Barrerra, in response to Pamela Paul’s commemoration of the 3-year anniversary of the American Dirt controversy. In it, we argue that the NY Times decision to publish Paul’s piece distracts us from “a problem that truly deserves a spotlight, especially now in the era of book bans and other censorship: the harmful and persistent under-representation of Latinx and other people of color in the publishing business.”

We ask that the public make a “concerted effort to read beyond “American Dirt” and the Big 5 — for example, reading Myriam Gurba and books by the small presses […] like Arte Público. If we must commemorate the anniversary of the “American Dirt” debacle, then let us do so by considering the authors who are actually in the shadows, whose voices and stories are largely excluded from the publishing world. Such exclusion cheats us all, robbing us of the light needed to view the complexity and nuance of what it means to live in this world.”