A friend wrote a blog lamenting the lack of Latino protagonists. Went looking for the post but could not find it so there is no link to it here. Her message stuck with me for several months and raised its flag this morning when I came across this article:
Scanning the list, I wondered if I had inadvertently run across political correctness of a Latino kind. Wikipedia only heightened my curiosity by explaining why such a book might not be mentioned in the linked article, specifically: Because Bless Me, Ultima contains adult language, and because some of the content is violent and contains sexual references, it has been included in the list of most commonly challenged books in the U.S. in 2008. Those characteristics notwithstanding it is also important because it was one of four novels published in the last third of the twentieth century which gained academic respect for Chicano literature as an important and nonderivative type of American literature.
Wikipedia also points out: Bless Me, Ultima is Anaya’s best known work and was awarded the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol. In 2008, it was one of 12 classic American novels selected for The Big Read, a community-reading program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2009, it was in the list of the United States Academic Decathlon.
It amazes me that folk who use adult language in everyday life, who watch adult themed television programs, who live with the media coverage of same, can convince themselves that their children are totally oblivious to that same world and need to be protected from it. Here, an author who should be the subject of accolades, who should a role model for wannabe authors, is ignored because his subject matter and execution are not politically correct.
Then, again, I recommended The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon and received a thorough scolding for my efforts. The book contains several instances of fuck and, apparently, their eleven year old son could not be exposed to such language, this despite the fact their favorite family tv show – Modern Family – routinely bleeps out the word. Their public-school educated son is, no doubt, clueless as to what is being bleeped.