If you read one essay, read this:
Kiese Laymon, Professor of English at Vassar reflects on conversations with his grandmother in light of Charleston (exerpts below).
“White folks been misusing us since I been in this world, if you wanna know the truth, Kie. If you expect any thing more after all they done, you the world’s biggest fool.”
“Church don’t mean nothing to these folks, Kie. Nobody in they cars, or on they buses told them to stop laughing. Do you hear me? They love to watch the devil. If church meant something to them, they would have made them stop laughing. They would have paid us right. They wouldn’t be throwing us off in jail for doing the same thing they do. The education would be different, too. That boy over in Charleston, he wouldn’t walk up in no church and killed those folks either if they believed in church. They just wouldn’t treat us like they do. Why they ain’t blaming that boy’s parents? Or his community? If you shot up one of they churches, those white folks woulda killed you as soon as they found you. And every nigger in America, at least the ones who got some sense, would be ashamed. These folks ain’t never ashamed of themselves, Kie. Hard to be ’shamed when you think you own the world. It makes me sick.” full article here
More reading to digest & engage with:
“The disappearance of the Confederate flag from public places will not educate one more black child in a failing school, or help a single black child growing up without a father in the home, or do a damn thing for black families trapped in their homes after dark because of gun violence. That’s all true. You can re-name a city thoroughfare after Dr. King, but that won’t keep it from being, as it is in too many places, one of the worst streets in town. Same deal with the flag.” From HERE, with commentary on Ross Douthat’s column, by Rod Dreher
“At that moment, I had to fight down two conflicting instincts. The first was to spit. (I didn’t.) The other urge was to appease this white officer. To put him at ease. To make sure he felt validated and in charge and, above all, comfortable.” The Cost of White Comfort
Forgiveness and the Past, and a great poem, “Dixie Sister”
I found this article interesting and inspirational. The present debates and laments concerning race reminds me of similar discussions we had during my college years in the late sixties. It is impossible to avoid an overwhelming sense of guilt when discussing how white people have treated black people since this country began. I should know as my ancestors, and even very recent ancestors, held enormous power over a number of black slaves ,and later an even larger number of black sharecroppers, who were terribly abused both physically and economically. But I have finally come to the realization that there is very little I can do about what has been done. However, there is a great deal I can do about what is being done in my lifetime particularly by me.