Flannery O' Connor once said "I write to discover what I know." What do you think of this statement?
Writing something down makes it real. There is something that feels more permanent about a thought committed to paper than something that exists solely in the mind. Therefore to commit something to written words, gives it some degree of conviction. When we write we are making a choice about what to express and what not to express, and there is self-discovery in that choice.
How can literature be used to create more compassionate human beings?
Exposing people to a diverse canon of literature has the ability to close the empathy gap between the reader and people who, from face value, seem very different from them. The reader is able to connect with the character, become attached with the character, and ultimately find something of themselves in the character.
What is the difference between racism and prejudice, and what relationship do the former have with fear and ignorance?
Prejudice is something we are all capable of. It speaks to a bias, or preconceived notion we may have toward an individual or group of people that is based on limited or no actual knowledge of that person or group. Prejudice can often stem from ignorance and that ignorance can create fear, given that people often fear what they do not know. The difference between prejudice and racism lies in the power they employ. Prejudice is personal, racism is institutional. Racism is using prejudice to justify the marginalization of a group of people, and infringement on their basic human rights.