I didn’t think this book would matter to me…because I’m Black. Or am I black? Uppercase or lower?
Identity is frustrating. Difficult. Annoying. Everything. Beautiful.
Why did it take me so long to get to beautiful?
Maybe because the other stuff is more present in me and in the book. I actually didn’t finish it. Well, not yet, not as of March 16, 4:13pm EST. I have one or two more entries to go. What happened? Vacation happened and it was wonderful. I needed the beach. The warm air. I needed the disconnect from the quotidian rush-rush. Book reading, even though I took two along with me, did not happen but once.
But I’m writing because I said I would reflect. I’m writing because I created this Read with Me journey that a few of you joined. I’m writing even though I have other things I’d rather do such as empty the tray under that plant by the piano, a plant that’s flourishing but I couldn’t name if I tried…I’m trying, y’all. Nope. Nothing.
Why does this reflection process feel so hard? Probably because I had this preconceived notion that the 41st day would dawn with anti-racist insight bursting out of my veins. But why would I think that when I didn’t think this book was even for me? How did both of those ideas live in my head?
Well, here’s what I do know. I can’t loan anyone my copy because there are too many notes in it that, at times, were prayers. And since I don’t remember them all, I’d rather not risk surprising someone else with my honest two cents.
What I do know is that it’s hard to be reminded that not all descendants of the KKK have taken a different road as one of the writers of this book clearly has. (That entry was WOW! See page 83)
What I do know is that we’re so often stuck in what we believe that much of what we don’t believe automatically offends us, turns us off. This will be the reaction of some to this book—it’s too hard right now, too smack-you-in-the-face when it’s actually trying to be helpful. If only the writers could control the readers’ reactions.
What I do know is that a book isn’t enough. I knew this before, but reading all of these experiences, some of which aren’t from long ago, reminds me of the deep work we have to do. Yes, we. And we can’t allow anything to excuse us from working for what is right.
And what I do know is that listening can lead to empathy which can then lead to advocacy which can the lead to dreaming—the kind that yields the individual and collaborative change we need. Desperately.
Glad I got that out. Now back to regular life and the juggling of who I am and what I do and who I’m with and where I am.
What are you reading and what are you learning/experiencing as you read? Let me know in the comments or email me.