Threats against the author of ‘American Dirt’ threaten us all

American Dirt coverThreats against the author of ‘American Dirt’ threaten us all. By Ron Charles, The Washington Post.

And in the current climate, hate quickly becomes weaponized. Gurba told Vox this week that she had received death threats after posting her review of “American Dirt.” And the ad hominem comments about Cummins flying around the Web have been brutal. From the start, too much of the discussion of this mediocre novel has been snarled up in identity politics — a poisonous tendency encouraged by the author herself. In a pleading afterword to “American Dirt,” Cummins confesses that she wished “someone slightly browner than me would write it.”

…But some detractors are determined to short-circuit such a possibility — or any discussion sparked by this novel. Fortunately, Flatiron remains committed to serious debate. Although Cummins’s bookstore tour has been canceled, the publisher has announced plans to conduct town hall meetings involving Cummins and “some of the groups who have raised objections to the book.” Let’s hope those discussions can move forward without bullying, intimidation or violence.

…The best critics of “American Dirt” are clearly motivated by a desire to defend the integrity of Mexican culture and the humanity of our most vulnerable residents. But in today’s toxic atmosphere, those valuable critiques have been drowned out by a cowardly chorus of violence.

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