According to Frances Christie learning the genres of one’s own community is a crucial component of acquiring knowledge of its culture and meanings. All of this implies, among other things, that a genre is not to be interpreted as an empty slot ‘filled with’ material or, alternately, ‘imposed on’ content, even if you sometimes hint that one or the other is the case. Primary or fundamental education genres are very strong because they reflect canonical means of generating meaning and accomplishing major personal, family, communal, and societal objectives in any society. Every culture has its unique genre for example America has Western and China has Xianxia and wuxia.
Specifically, Christie states that in the English- speaking culture the basic text types are narratives, recounts, procedures, explanations, expositions and discussions. In my high school ELA classes, our English teacher taught us that there were three purposes of writing – to inform, entertain, and recount. Procedures, explanations, and discussions are all informative. Narratives are entertainment and recounts are recounts. But genre can overlap. For example, narrative can also be information and recounts are entertainment. As a student categorizing text into genres helped me format my writing and it helped focus the content of my writing because it helped me to know what the purpose of my paper would be. It was either to inform, entertain, or recount. And helped me to looks at patterns when I was reading.
But according to Kathryn Accurso and Jason D. Mizell’s article, Toward an antiracist genre pedagogy: Considerations for a North American context, genre pedagogy is racist because the current way of implantations of genre pedagogy is reproducing white-dominant practices and reinforces deficit perspectives of multilingual students of colour. As a multilingual person of colour, I learned English in a similar matter. It was beneficial to me. But I understand that it might be harmful to others.
The article says it was important to learn the genres of one own community. Tagalog is my mother language, but English is also my home language. I considered a mother tongue as the language your family and ancestors spoke. A home language is a language a person is most comfortable speaking and expressing in. I’ve noticed as an immigrant that there are three camps. The white immigrants whose language is English, white immigrants whose language is not English, for example, their language is Ukraine, German, Swedish etc. The non-white immigrants, also most always their native language is not English. Non-white immigrants are pressured to keep their culture and language, white immigrants whose language is not English are not pressured to keep their culture and language. For example, I have first-generation Italian friends who do not speak Italian and are not super-in tune with their Italian heritage but still know of their heritage There is no pressure or shaming of them not speaking their mother language. They’ve “assimilated” into the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture. I have first-generation Filipino friends who were born here and grow up speaking English. And they have “assimilated,” but the reaction is so different. It is like “no oh you poor oppressed POC, even though you’ve grown up here in an English-speaking country, where the population is 75% has European heritage and the rest has heritages from all over the world, you’ve been stripped away from your culture.” Not taking into take that place/ location shaped your identity and not taking into account that maybe they’ve mashed together their culture with the dominant white culture with the minority cultures in Canada is create some strange hybrid culture. This speaks a lot about globalization.
In many of my classes, just by looking at their last names, I know their families are not Anglo-Saxon. They have Anglicized Eastern European names. And no teachers are pointing out that they and their have family’s culture and language have been stripped away from them. I’m not talking about racism, but ethnocentric. It is ethnocentric that the white English majority assimilated non-English speaking white students. I think we can’t take about racism if we don’t talk about ethnocentricism. Ethnocentricism is the -ism people don’t talk about, but we need to discuss.
Frances Christie (2013) Genres and Genre Theory: A Response to Michael Rosen, Changing English, 20:1, 11-22, DOI: 10.1080/1358684X.2012.757056
Accurso, Kathryn. Mizell, Jason D. (2020) Toward an antiracist genre pedagogy: Considerations for a North American context, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/TESJ.554