It’s been a weird little January. Ever since I went freelance, January has been a month of writing and editing, because my academic Second Job is on break. I think it was two Januaries ago that I did some major book work, which was great. This January has been the Small Beer book.
If it weren’t for the destruction of the progressive image of this country, I would be fine. On the one hand, now that the veil has been removed, it is obvious to the mainstream that there are deep inequalities and abuses that this nation has not atoned for. One of my friends was born in Germany right after WWII. He talks about the deep shame of knowing that his male relatives, people he loved, had been Nazis. He almost moved to Israel to work on a kibbutz to atone.
The governor of Maine said that John Lewis should thank him, a white Republican, for what the white men (Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, etc.) did to free the slaves. I laughed until I cried. White America has never reckoned with the impact and reverberations of slavery the way Germany has with the holocaust. Nor have we (for I am part of white America too) acknowledged the ways in which we have benefited and perpetrated white supremacy. I used to think I was off the hook because my family didn’t own slaves. But I know as a white woman I move in a privileged space.
I’m rarely considered to be a criminal, uneducated, or poor (at least now that I don’t dress like a grunge waif). My being in a room or a group is rarely considered a political act. My friend S. once said that every time she walks into a room, people have an opinion of her as an African American, a woman, and a writer. That is a weight I rarely feel.
I’ve gotta keep thinking, keep working, keep meeting new people. What questions should I be asking?