TBNT S03E05 | Wading Through the Controversy of American Dirt
February 19, 2020
When Jeanine Cummins’ highly anticipated book American Dirt hit the shelves early readers were beside themselves recommending it (led by Oprah who called it a ‘must read’). The mother and son story of being pursued by a drug kingpin fired everyone’s imaginations and said to highlight the plight of migrants, in the Trump-era of xenophobia incredibly current.
And then controversy hit. Mexican and Latinx writers came down hard on it calling it out for fetishising their culture and that Cummins wrote at best, a summer thriller and not (as marketed) a book that really puts forward migrant issues and social justice. We chew through the controversy surrounding this book in our latest episode and touch on the sensitive subjects of cultural appropriation, the biases of a publishing world and, who has the right to tell whose story.