Monday, January 18, 2010

The Minority Isn't Always Wrong

First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in the posts here last week. My heart is warmed by the thought that fellow writers would take the time to question and argue over our art form, its making, and its publication.

Today is set aside to honor Martin Luther King Jr. And, along with remembering this great man, I'm also reminded of the other minorities out there--socially and politically, and also in the arts--who are still being silenced today. In countries around the world, like China and Iran, there are writers who have been imprisoned for having opinions that are different from their ruling class or simply for searching for the truth. In our own country, so many people become restricted due to the way they were born or the way they think. So often it seems like the minority is wrong, simply because they are the minority. Of course, this is absurd.

The minority isn't always wrong.

So, today, for all the people who feel like they have opinions that are different from what the majority is shouting out, remember that you may be right; remember that you may still change the world, even if that battle seems impossible to win at times.

And, if you need to be reminded of the power of writing, remember that Martin Luther King Jr. (with Bayard Rustin) was inspired by the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi, who was inspired by the writings of Leo Tolstoy, who was inspired by the writing of Adin Ballou on non-violent resistance.

Note: Rick Daley announced that he's opened a new blog for critique exchanges. It's called, oddly enough, critXchange. Check it out if you're looking to give and receive feedback.


  1. I feel I should disagree with this but you're more right than usual.
    People like the comfort of the majority viewpoint, and choose to stamp out differences instead of embracing them.
    People like MLK made this country what it is today, where people can disagree without being (too) disagreeable.

  2. Great post, Davin! I love watching footage of MLK. It's inspiring and motivating to see someone stand up against discrimination in the loving way that he did.

  3. We all have dreams, Dr. King's was Equality. For everyone.

    Thank you Literary Lab for giving us all the same equal opportunity for our voices to be heard on your blog.

    We all write in different genre's, voices, ways, but here, we are all equal. You don't discriminate and allow us our differences. That's awfully nice, even when we do get into a bit of a tussle. So hats off to you Lit. Lab.

  4. Lucia Orth, the author of Baby Jesus Pawn Shop---a beautiful literary novel about life under the Marcos regime in the Philippines---has written a piece about her family's experiences in Beijing on the 5th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which touches on the Chinese oppression of artists:

    Lucia is a teacher of Native American law in Lawrence, Kansas, and a human rights activist. Plus a mind-blowing writer. Plus she's nice.


  5. Inspiring post. Thanks for the wisdom.

    I'm sorry I missed out on last week's discussion, but I'd like to respond, since I think I can soothe some of those headaches. (Sorry you're going through a bad time, Lady G.)

    I don't know if my comment will be read if I post in last week's thread, so I'm going to post it here.

    I want to urge everybody to look at Robert McKee's iconic writing manual "STORY." It's written for screenwriters, but the principles apply to any narrative.

    According to Mr. McKee, a story MUST have an inciting incident, a climax, and a resolution. Without that skeleton, you don't have a story--you've got a word cloud.

    I don't think Dr. King would mind me posting that today. As a great orator, he knew the value of storytelling.

  6. Who was it who said: "Just because a million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing"?
    I love this post-because I agree with it- feels like irony.

  7. Anne, we get all comments even if they come on to a post a year later after it's posted. So post away there! I'll have to check that out, for sure!

    Davin, I had a breakfast this morning with my sister and brother-in-law and their two African American adopted boys. We do this every year to celebrate MLK day. It's truly a wondrous thing to celebrate. Thank you for posting this!

  8. Davin, I've been taking a break from writing blogs, but your post title caught my eye in the reader and I just wanted to say thanks for writing this.

  9. Thanks for the post, Davin. It reminds me of the real reason I'm off work today.

    The writing on Lit Lab is always inspiring me to think about how I read and write fiction.

  10. Thank you for reminding us today to celebrate diversity and open our eyes to the greater world. In that spirit, I'll suggest reading some writers if you haven't:

    Chris Abani
    Isaac Bashevis Singer
    Naguib Mahfouz
    Pablo Neruda
    Louise Erdrich
    Sherman Alexie

    There are so many more. Maybe someone else will add names.

  11. I was five and a half years old when MLK was assassinated, and the world has undergone incredible transformations during my lifetime. I am ever grateful to live in a time when the quality of one's speech can be more important than the color of one's skin. The internet makes me cynical in a lot of ways, but nothing right now can equal it as a way to democratize discourse. Thanks to everyone who participates not only in our little blog, but in the larger world no matter what your politics or religion or origins.

  12. We are all interconnected and should show each other respect. The year I started kindergarten was the first year of full integration in my little SC town. There was an enormous amount of hatred flying around at that time. I'm grateful that the integration succeeded. I can't imagine my life without my friends of many shades (and nationalities). Thanks to the civil rights movement.

  13. Well said Davin. Thanks for the sentiment.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.