Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Curtain Rises And A Solitary Figure Walks To The Front Of The Stage

When I wrote the end of last September that I was going to start blogging only on the topic of what I call the "socially-constructed, political notion of 'race'," I really thought I meant a few days later. Apparently, I meant three months later. Regardless, I hope to have a book on race (the story of my life, actually) published this year. Then, I'd like to travel around and tell people what I've got on my mind. But in the meantime, while I work on a couple more books and teach and live my life and all, I'll do this, too.

I did my first piece of research on race in 1963 (I was sixteen) on racial discrimination in the area in which I lived with my college-educated, white-bred (pun intended) parents and four younger brothers and sisters. Years in the prison abolition movement, years on welfare, and years in college and grad school later, I am still learning about "race." And talking about it. Loudly. And writing about it. Passionately.

I hope you're not horrified. I'm pretty straight-forward, in general, and absolutely shocking to some folks when I'm communicating about institutionalized oppression against people of color and, most particularly, African-Americans. Most bloggers write: if you don't like what I write, don't read it. But you're not gonna read that here. I hope you're not horrified because I hope you have a clue and you'll be willing to admit it and maybe we can finally make some progress before it's too late. (Yeah. I think there's every possibility that we're already on the downhill slope with our brakes locked as a society and that race is the oil on the pavement.)

But, if you are horrified, don't freak out. Just read it. Then ask yourself, "What if she's right?" Because, dear reader, I am. I'm not here to bury you with statistics. I could, but I won't because people that do that much better than me are already doing it and too many people that need to aren't listening anyway.

No, I'm here to just point out the sights as we careen through our national evolution. I know you can't wake up somebody who's pretending to be asleep. So those of you who choose to snore may continue to do so. But I'm not alone in what I know. So don't think my perspectives are a "personal problem." If you're scared, holler "red rock." And if you believe that there's still hope for us as a nation, then clap your hands. But if you still want to ignore reality, just remember that the ball's still the ball, no matter what kind of spin somebody tries to put on it. And that'll be me you hear in the background, mumbling to myself, "Why am I not surprised?"

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