This post is excerpted from Gregory Wolfe’s final commencement address as director of the Seattle Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing last month. Wolfe, who founded the program, stepped down as director yesterday.
Read part 1 here.
I’d like to close my commencement address by taking a lesson or two from the texts we’ve been studying in the Art and Faith seminar.
One of those texts is Brown: The Last Discovery of America by Richard Rodriguez. It’s a book that’s impossible to summarize: it’s ostensibly about the subject of race in America, from the perspective of a Hispanic writer, but it is so much more: a meditation on history and politics, a search for identity and community, an exploration of tragic conflict and the possibility of reconciliation.
Brown is the color of mixture, Rodriguez says, and thus of impurity. It is often considered either bland or repulsive. And yet he believes that this color speaks powerfully to that which makes us human: our nature as embodied souls. Brown is the color of his own race, but as he reminds us, the shrinking global village is becoming ever more brown. [Read more…]