Sunday, June 21, 2015

Charleston 2015

I see that I had a number of visitors on Juneteenth, and they probably expected a blog post about Juneteenth. I'd made all my usual preparations, stocked-up on Black-eye Peas, rice, etc and had told all my Swedish friends within hearing about the holiday and its significance. But then, I did not write anything because I was in tears over the Charleston shooting. This shooting was aimed at the heart of the Black community:  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Denmark Vesey's church. If you are not familiar with these names (or even if you are and want to learn more), please read The Charleston Massacre and the Cunning of White Supremacy. Dylann Roof is not some random maniac and his choice of location and victims were not accidental.

A Confederate war memorial in Charleston, SC.

If you look to the right-hand column, you can see a new category: Historical Works about SC. There is a link to the #CharlestonSyllabus, a crowdsourced,  annotated bibliography: 

#Charlestonsyllabus is more than a list. It is a community of people committed to critical thinking, truth telling and social transformation.”– Chad Williams

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A matter of definitions

Back at the Charleston airship docks, the Captain tried to rally his crew's enthusiasm for their new crew mate.
“Told y’all this one was different!” he smirked.
“She’s, she’s white” said Kennia.
Tira’s expression was a study in consternation. “White folks been known to fall offa this ship. Just sayin’.”
“Now, now,” said the Captain. “Harry is white, too.”
“Naw,” said Kennia. “He’s Irish. Everybody knows that they aren’t really white even though they’ve got really pasty skins. Just look how they were treated in their own country by the English. The Irish were “just trash” same as well as brown-skinned folks are here and in Africa.”
Tira frowned in disapproval.
“This gal has a French last name and you know what that means. She’s some kinda Euro-trash no doubt.”
“She’s got red hair,” answered the Captain. “Maybe she’s got some Irish in her. Anyway, she’s our new workin’ partner an’ that’s that. ‘Sides, she’s only here for one mission so Tira, please make sure she doesn’t fall offa the ship.”
“At least not until after we don’t need her anymore” added Kennia.
“At least y’all have got another woman aboard. I’m the one who’s outnumbered by all y’all gals. And its not like you miss Harry, either. I don’t remember either one of y’all bein’ too fond of him.”
Tira just pressed her lips together while Kennia busied herself with checking her carpetbag and its contents.
“I can see this is gonna be a long trip,” muttered the Captain to himself.


I've been wrestling (or wrastlin' as our airship crew would say) with this chapter for at least 2 weeks. I am trying to figure-out how to show the ugliness of racism while avoiding being ugly or using hurtful language, even in an example. I will NEVER use the "n-word" here at any time no matter what point I am trying to make. On the other hand racism is real and it is ugly and one of my motivations for writing this story is to fight racism by showing that it was not "inevitable."

Azie D. does a good job explaining the "Irish thing" in her video: