Author defends ideas of race from newspapers’ criticism

Alexs Pate, an assistant professor in the Afro-American and African Studies Department, talked to more than 60 people at the Hungry Mind bookstore in St. Paul about his new novel, “The Multicultiboho Sideshow.”
Responding to criticism he received from the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press, Pate said the reviewers were clueless about his goal: presenting all of the racial stereotypes and attempting to measure American society in terms of race.
“I will not listen to two white people in two white papers tell me anything about race,” Pate said after telling the larger-than-expected audience at the St. Paul bookstore that criticism is for the reader, not for the writer.
In this novel — his fourth, counting “Amistad,” which he wrote based upon the screenplay of the movie version — Pate switched subject matters, from Afro-American family and relationships to a satire of Twin Cities artists.
Pate’s stereotyped characters in his novel received strong criticism from both local newspapers. According to the Star Tribune, Pate’s creations have a long way to go before leaving “Cartoonland.” According to the Pioneer Press, the characters are represented more mean-spiritedly than ironically.
“Write this book and buy a one-way ticket to a bulletproof vest,” Pate said. “When people respond to my books, they respond to me. I picked this fight, I should be prepared.”
— Fabiana Torreao