Thursday, November 09, 2006

some thoughts on race: first in an occassional series

i really want to join the chorus of voices thinking about race these days (and i'm sure there are many more), but i'm just not sure where to start. there was a time in my life when race felt very easy to talk about, even though it was far from an easy topic. what i mean is that it was a very complicated topic which i felt very much at ease discussing. make sense? my experience of race and racism was largely academic and theoretical, and no doubt that was a very important entree into a much more concrete and lived experience of race and racism that has further informed my thinking in the last decade an a half. i have certainly found that both experiences -- theoretical and lived -- shape one another in significant ways.

unfortunately, i'm finding that the more i live out the messy, complicated issues of race and racism in this culture (the ones that i used to just think and study about), the less easy it is to talk about. i think that is unfortunate because i believe we need to talk more about race in this country, not less. about that i am sure.

so i hope that in the months to come, i hope to be venturing into these waters. i am acutely aware that this is a difficult topic, all the more so because people don't know me, so it is not possible for you, my readers, to assume shared values. that makes the sort of shorthand one can often have with friends when discussing difficult topics, well, difficult.

along the way i will try to share more of my own background and experiences, so that folks can have a better idea where i am coming from. i hope that if i deviate from what seems to me to be a liberal/academic white script about race, you will not jump to all sorts of ugly conclusions.

to be continued...



At November 09, 2006 3:36 PM, Anonymous mamacate said...

about the previous post, it was lovely and I can't believe (again!) there are hundreds of miles between our homes. I wish you could come for the house blessing this weekend. It would be lovely.

I have been thinking a lot about our car conversation, and I'm glad you'll be writing about it, and I was also thinking about what you've said here--people don't know you well enough to understand that when you say something that isn't scripted, it's from the right place. That very fact--that it's so hard to say anything but a very narrow script--is an interesting comment on our discourse.

I was also thinking about how we can make certain kinds of critiques supportive of people *within* african-american communities who are making those same critiques. yes, it's very different coming from me than coming from an african-american (and as a trans-racial adoptive mom, I think it's even more complex--you *must* weigh in, yet your role is already suspect in some circles...). And that might be enough to keep me from speaking, legitimately. But I think what might help create change is support from outside for those who are trying to bring everyone up and out.

I'm not sure I'm making sense and I should be writing a research consent form, but I suppose I'm just saying that I'm looking forward to hearing more.


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