Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #32

"It would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy. ... Without the idealistic, strenuous and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different — it might not be a democracy at all." — Nikole Hannah-Jones, introducing The 1619 Project last summer.

"For many years I was a clueless white guy. I suffered from one-ness. What I really needed was two-ness, and maybe three-ness and four-ness. ... And then Karen Dunlap, my boss and president of the Poynter Institute, made it explicit. It gets tiring, she explained, bearing the burden of white people's ignorance about black people and African-American culture. 'You know,' she gave me a Sunday school teacher look, 'you could read something.'

Read something. Yes, read something!

And so I have."
— Roy Peter Clark, for The Undefeated in 2018.

I'm almost 50 and I have not read nearly enough of other lives, other histories, other experiences, other perspectives. I acknowledge all that, and acknowledge that all I can do to address it is keep chipping away at my ignorance. One page, one chapter, one book, one conversation at a time.

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