Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.
When Toni Morrison died on August 5th last summer, I was amazed to realize I’d never read anything by this Pulitzer (and Nobel!) Prize winning author. Then I watched, on CBS Sunday Morning, and excerpt from an NPR interview, and promptly read three of her books to get a sampling of her writing. They were not an easy read.
What I’ve realized in the past few weeks is that, while I’ve heard myself say I love to read about women’s lives (and lately some men’s, too), I’ve read precious few books about black women’s lives, most by Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker – either fiction or memoirs. There have been tons of posts on FB, etc., about what it is like to be African-American in this country (not to mention Native, Hispanic, Asian) – stories that try to explain what the term “white privilege” means, and I think I’m just beginning to understand.
Something PJ said the other day on the Trail spoke to me: “At the moment I’m immersed in learning more about American history, race relations, politics, and the changing vocabulary and strategies that have been used over time to divide us along racial, economic, and political lines. I’d much rather be doing something else, but it feels as if it’s my civic duty to be as informed as I can be so I can better understand what’s going on all around us.”
To that end, I’ve ordered James Baldwin’s Collected Essays, after hearing a conversation about him with MPR’s Angela Davis. I came upon this “Anti-Racist Lit. Starter Kit.”
It can be argued that we need to do much more than try to fix it by “throwing a book at it”. But like PJ, educating myself is what I can do right now.
Do you have any recommendations for books we could read right now, to further understand what needs to change in our culture?