The new book “Tierra Americana,” translated from the English “America Dirt” by author Jeanine Cummins, unleashed the wrath of Mexican, Chicano and Latino communities on Twitter, who criticized the superficiality of the story, the pornography of suffering, and the cultural appropriation of a theme that touches thousands of Mexicans: migration.
The novel, which deals with the story of a Mexican mother, Lydia, who flees the violence of Mexico with her son towards the United States, was acclaimed by authors recognized as Stephen King and Sandra Cisneros, literary critics and Oprah Winfrey, who chose her to be part of his famous reader club. It was published in English by Flatiron Books with a budget that exceeded a $ 100,000, has already been translated into Spanish and at Bulgarian, and will have a possible film adaptation.
In the book, author Cummins writes in her author's note the reason she wrote the book, even though she thinks that a “darker” person should have written it.
At worst, we perceive (migrants) as an invading mob of resource-draining criminals, and, at best, a sort of helpless, impoverished, faceless brown mass, clamoring for help at our doorstep. We seldom think of them as our fellow human beings.
In the worst case, we perceive (migrants) as an invading mob of criminals who deplete resources and, in the best case, as a kind of defenseless, impoverished and faceless brown mass that cries out for the Help at our door. We rarely think of them as our human companions.
On Twitter, the responses of Latinos and Latinas living in the United States were harsh and explain why the book is insensitive and a symbol of the inequality experienced by Latino communities in the United States.
The majority criticize that the story that Cummins produced is harmful because it shares stereotypes about Mexicans. Cummins is not Mexican. The author, who identified herself as white in 2015, now says on her Twitter profile that she is “Irish / Boricua / Person, ”for having a grandmother from Puerto Rico.
The successful author Julissa Arce Raya explains that the representation of Mexicans in the book is incorrect and harms the Mexican communities.
#Americandirt is now an @oprahsbookclub selection. As a Mexican immigrant, who was undocumented, I can say with authority that this book is a harmful, stereotypical, damaging representation of our experiences. Please listen to us when we tell you, this book isn’t it.
– Julissa Arce Raya (@julissaarce) January 21, 2020
#Americandirt is now part of the selection of @oprahsbookclub. As a Mexican immigrant who was undocumented, I can say with confidence that this book is a harmful, stereotyped and harmful representation of our experiences. Please listen to us when we tell you that this book is not good.
The American, Guatemalan and Mexican researcher who uses the nickname Polemicist regrets the sensationalism that accompanies the pain of immigrants in the literature.
If you're going to get and read #AmericanDirt please do so knowing that it is following a long tradition of sensationalizing the lives and experiences of immigrants. It is not humanizing to make people into worn out tropes and “thrill rides.”
– Polemicist (@PalmTreesnGz) January 21, 2020
If you are going to buy and read #AmericanDirt, please do so knowing that it follows a long tradition of sensationalizing the lives and experiences of immigrants. You can't humanize people by making them stereotyped and part of “exciting trips.”
Many users on the networks shared the review of the author Myriam Gurba, which was published in the academic medium Tropics of Meta after a feminist medium canceled the publication of the review because the author was not “famous enough to write such a review negative. ”In his article, Gurba mentions“ the words in Spanish written in italics like hell, millet and friend dirty prose, producing the same effect as the taco seasoning bought in the store, ”and that Lydia's story is little credible because it always seems to be surprised by the violence that torments Mexico.
That Lydia is so shocked by her own country’s day-to-day realities, realities that I’m intimate with as a Chicana living in the north, gives the impression that Lydia might not be… a credible Mexican. In fact, she perceives her own country through the eyes of a pearl-clutching American tourist.
The fact that Lydia is so surprised by the daily realities of her own country, realities that I know intimately as a Chicana living in the north, gives the impression that Lydia is not … a credible Mexican. In fact, she perceives her own country through the eyes of an American tourist who squeezes her pearl necklace.
Myriam Gurba, who also criticizes how the novel dodges the political causes of migration, shared books written by latin people in your Twitter account.
For the Salvadoran and American journalist for the Los Angeles Times, Esmeralda Bermudez, one root of the problem is the inequality that exists in the world of the American publication, where the majority of American publicists are white.
You don't have to be Latino / an immigrant or write about immigrants. I've had white mentors who I respect because they've worked hard to see past their limitations, to understand the community. The problem is the book arena is ruled by white writers, agents, critics, gatekeepers. pic.twitter.com/t15XoyY9ij
– Esmeralda Bermudez (@LATBermudez) January 20, 2020
You don't have to be a @ Latin immigrant to write about immigrants. I have had white mentors who respect because they have strived to go beyond their limitations, to understand a community. The problem is that the literary industry is governed by writers, agents, critics and white porters.
He says that because of this inequality, the stories written by Latin people about the experiences of the Latino community themselves are erased and are not often seen on the shelves of bookstores.
In an industry where Latinos make up only a tiny percent, our stories are often rejected, shrank down, manipulated, misunderstood, stolen, appropriated, exploited, sanitized, repackaged for easy consumption by white audiences. Most of all, our stories are silenced – invisible.
In an industry where Latinos only contribute a minuscule percentage, our stories are often rejected, diminished, manipulated, misunderstood, stolen, appropriate, exploited, disinfected, repackaged for easy consumption by the white public. Above all, our stories are silenced – invisible.
After the successful thread that Esmeralda Bermudez shared on Twitter, she says that Jeanine Cummins la blocking, giving the impression that the author is not open for dialogue with the Latino community offended by her novel.
Two days after the official publication of the book and the criticism rained on Twitter, the Flatiron Books publishing house prepared a launch party for American Dirt where the table of the guests was decorated with a central piece adorned with false barbed wires, echoing the walls that separate the United States and Mexico. The illustrator John Picacio called the piece “mexplotation.”
Seeing lots of #Mexicanx sharing but I don't think this is being seen enough. Photo: May 2019 bookseller party by Flatiron Books for #AmericanDirt, complete w / faux barbed-wire centerpieces. #Mexicanx pain & anguish as fashion brand. Disgusting #Mexploitation (via @lesbrains) pic.twitter.com/z1DCIkrFwo
– John Picacio (@JohnPicacio) January 22, 2020
I've been seeing a lot of #Mexicanx sharing this but I think it's not being shared enough. Photo: May 2019 Flatiron Books Bookshop Party for #AmericanDirt, organized with false barbed wires as centerpieces. The pain and anguish #Mexicanx used as a fashion brand. Disgusting. #Mexploitation
It seems that the criticism of the novel is not about to stop.