What we want to avoid at all costs is…an opposition between writing that accounts for race…and writing that is “universal.” If we continue to think of the “universal” as better-than, as the pinnacle, we will always discount writing that doesn’t look universal because it accounts for race or some other demeaned category. The universal is a fantasy. But we are captive, still, to a sensibility that champions the universal while simultaneously defining the universal, still, as white. We are captive, still, to a style of championing literature that says work by writers of color succeeds when a white person can nevertheless relate to it—that it “transcends” its category.
quoted in response to Mark Edmundson on Whitman