In Shawl's alternative history novel, a diverse collection of demographically distinct groups, including faith-based, back-to-Africa, American blacks, European socialists, and native Africans, unite and eventually establish their own free state on parts of the Congo wrested by force from Leopold. The book is full of singular characters, important resurrected history, and subtle moral lessons. I haven't yet reached the end of the book, but before I do, I'd like to highlight one of those lessons. One of Shawl's major characters, Lisette Toutournier, is a bi-racial Frenchwoman.
She is smart, passionate and apparently fearless, a set of characteristics that makes her appearance in the Congo as a dedicated opponent of Belgian colonialism unsurprising. As the resistance to Leopold grows and the utopian Everfair begins to take shape, Toutournier finds enough free time to pursue a number of love affairs. At a critical point in their affair, one of her lovers, a white European woman who has come to occupy a revered position in Everfair's pantheon of heroes, cluelessly insults Lisette's racial heritage; an incident that leaves Lisette both speechless and unwilling to continue their affair.
But though the affair has ended, Lisette's lover cannot begin to guess the reason why. Perhaps, by the end of the story, Lisette will have shared the pain and anger that she felt at the moment her lover so casually and ignorantly derided one of the central aspects of her identity. Regardless, the reader knows that Lisette's lover, a respected leader of Everfair, is nevertheless a product of the racism of her time and place.
The reader also knows that it is not possible for Lisette, however gifted and disciplined she may be, to address and remediate all insults and the racism that underlies them. This brings us or me, anyhow to blacklivesmatter and the growing refusal of African Americans and their allies to stand aside in the face of police brutality and police killings in black communities nationwide.
Huge numbers of white Americans seem surprised by the growing militance, though both that surprise and the number of white people who pretend or allow themselves to be surprised seems to be diminishing in the face of the persistence of blacklivesmatter, North Carolina's Moral Monday Movement, and similar local and national groups. The surprise white folks seem to feel is a fundamental manifestation of white privilege, which is ultimately the privilege to ignore the realities of one's surrounding community, or country, or world. It is more than a little ironic that white folks, who have for generations reaped the benefits of exploiting the black community, seem to need those same people to do one more thing for them; to clarify with endless patience what racism is, how it permeates our society, and how it is manifested and sustained in feigned shock at acts of black resistance and rage.
That white folks need such remedial instruction from black folks is outrageous. Fundamentally outrageous. Who has time in the face of the daily demands of life and the tactical demands of resistance to racism to also scrub clean the souls of white folks? That Sisyphean tasks reminds me of a truth I stumbled upon some years ago when I first wondered how many times a gay friend of mine needed to come out in order to best take care of himself and to move forward in solidarity with comrades organizing to resist homophobia in all its manifestations.
Eventually it became clear that the question of coming out to new people in new places was an endlessly repeating requirement that he was forced to reconsider under constantly changing conditions.
The First Sex
It struck me then and seems equally clear to me now that addressing homophobia and racism are not primarily the responsibility of gay men and lesbians and bisexuals and transgender people or of African Americans. Indeed, if we are to rid the world of racism and homophobia, the main responsibility for rooting out such scourges belongs to those who carry those diseases in their most virulent forms.
Straight people and white folks. Postscript: I cannot resist adding that Shawl dedicates her book to Octavia Butler, whose books offer many lessons that complement Everfair. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change,' she writes. In other words, there is nothing for it but to live in the world, and to see oneself as both responsible for what the world becomes and subject to its conditions at any given time. People are most present in the world when they are growing and changing.
Labels: anti-racism , conscience and community , Everfair , homophobia , justice and peace and sustainability , moral judgement , Nisi Shawl , Octavia Butler , racism , whiteness. Thursday, June 30, The Follies: Medical bills and insurance. Always good for a laugh Jeff Epton. Washington, DC Over the last nine months or so, my son, Brendan Epton 17 years old at this time , has periodically received collection letters from your subsidiary, LCA Collections.
Being a minor, Brendan is not actually legally liable for a medical debt.
His parents, Marrianne McMullen and I, who reside at the above address with Brendan, are, in fact, the liable parties. In light of the above information, it seems that if you continue to feel the need to send dunning letters in regard to the outstanding bill, you should address those letters to Marrianne and I. But , perhaps before you do so, you should make an honest effort to identify and address the obstacles that might be delaying payment for your services.
If that is the case, and we have received notification from either LCA or BCBS that they wanted us to speak up and affirm, then it is definitely our bad for failing to do so. And so the matter was settled. Another two or so months after my long, long, long phone conversation with BCBS punctuated, as it was, by repeated and demoralizing hold messages , Brendan still a minor , again, began receiving collection letters from LCA Collections.
But I digress.
- Goddess of Death by Michael Underwood.
- Whos Sorry Now;
- Hardback Editions.
- Rosa Epton Series by Michael Underwood.
- In the Land of Living Dangerously: Bali, Borneo & Beyond.
- Meditaciones sobre los cantares (Spanish Edition).
But, much to my surprise, Brendan still a minor recently received yet one more collection letter from you. You must be so proud. As we all know, into every life a little rain must fall. Nevertheless, you people at Laboratory Corporation of America and Blue Cross Blue Shield ought to improve your business practices, particularly billing, bill processing and collections. I was told that was because there was some NC regulation that required that Brendan be identified annually as a qualified dependent on the insurance plan.
After I explained my frustration with the process to that point some six months or so after the tests were conducted , the NC BCBS representative kept me on the line while she contacted Dr. Hofman's office directly to complete the record. At the conclusion of that call, the representative told me that everything had been taken care of and that the bill would be processed. I am writing you now because I have absolutely no desire to spend another minute, let alone an hour which is how long I was on the phone last time with an NC BCBS representative.
Labels: corporate culture , cultural dysfunction , health care , health insurance. Sunday, April 24, If I were a teacher, this is the reading comprehension test I would give:. Part A. In which the reader reads,. Say you were a thirty-something and had worked for a decade with the same large company. You work this job about 35 hours a week and commute round-trip in your car about two and a half hours everyday.
You hate the commute, but you do look forward somewhat to the drive home, which is the occasion for smoking a joint and listening to Isaac Hayes, Pat Benatar and the Decembrists, among others. Sometimes, you call your boyfriend who lives about two hours away. Sometimes, you call your girlfriend who lives about the same distance away, though not in the same direction.
As it happens, your boyfriend and girlfriend know and like each other, though you are somewhat hazy about how they actually met. Neither of them seems aware that you have an intimate relationship with the other. Ironically, you think the two of them would make a great couple. You grew up in a pretty religious household, but you and God drifted apart a long time ago. You have the same arrangement with tyson.
Part B — Multiple Choice. In which the reader walks in the shoes. This may not be as easy as it seems. I am completely indifferent to the fate of others. I am something other than what has been described here.
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Part C — Essay. In which the reader chooses one. Explain yourself. Explain someone else. Explain nothing.
Labels: getting by , laying low , life and its distractions , Reading comprehension test. Wednesday, March 2, The Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Want to Read. Shelving menu. Shelve Crime Upon Crime. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.
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