Activism in Writing

by Channler Twyman

Originally, I intended to do a book review for the novel pictured in last week’s post, Eleanor and Park, but with the recent news involving the case of Philando Castile, and recent murder of Charleena Lyles, I felt compelled to write about something else.

As a writer and an activist, there will and should be many times when events that happen in the world shake you to your core. They should shake you up so much that it is physically impossible for you to write about anything else, especially, if these events affect you directly. As a black male living in this country, my body itself seems to be some form of political message. Philando Castile could have been my father, my brother, or my cousin… me. It is an unfortunate reality that I am forced to live with each day that I wake up and look at myself in the mirror. As such, my writing reflects that.

However, when writing about such topics there are certain stigmas attached. I’m sure some of you clicked on this post and groaned and thought something like, “Here goes another article about something related to black people,” or, “He’s just writing about this for views.”

It’s fine. I understand, really. Some people actively profit from writing about the misfortunes of marginalized people. The difference between “those people” and me is that this is actually my life. Me not writing about things relating to my heritage does a disservice to all those who have done things so that I could sit behind a computer screen and write this column. Writing is an expression of myself, and thusly I’m going to write a lot about “Black stuff,” and I encourage you to do the same.

Not write about “Black stuff” specifically, unless you are Black and in which case, more power to you, but write about things that are important to you and where you come from. Don’t worry about what other people think or say. This isn’t their story. It’s yours. It is your heritage, and some people are not going to understand, but that’s why we need to write about it. Things will never change if we are silent about our own struggles living as marginalized people in America and the world. How will people know that “Walking While Black” could get you killed? How will people understand that taking pieces from another person’s culture and profiting off of it is traumatizing? How will people understand that America was never great for many of us who live in this country?

Write loud.

Write authentically.

Write unapologetically.

The world is ever-changing, and sure, there are setbacks, but it is the stories that we share, and the connections that we make from telling our truths that cause it to evolve for the better.

Thanks for taking the time to read my article! I also love the support I got from my last one; you are all amazing! Next week, I will have the Eleanor and Park review for you all. Until next time, keep writing.

Channler Twyman is a writer who hails from South Georgia where his love for literature began at the age of two. He currently attends the College of Wooster where he continues to foster his craft. Although, he has a passion for the literary arts, he still hopes for the day where he achieves his final form and is able to battle the forces of evil as a Sailor Scout.