When I first moved from the south to the midwest, I found activism to be much more prevalent. Most everyone I met had a thing that they were passionate enough about to spend their time, energy and money fighting for.
“I don’t have a “thing,” I remember saying. No bumper stickers, no buttons, no passion.
That was nine years ago – around the same time I started to notice how different racism was in the midwest from the south. Not better, mind you. Just different. And somewhere along the line, race became my thing. Since my children are biracial, I’ve always been cognizant of race and its complexity. But something changed for me when my environment changed and I saw things as an outsider. I became passionate (rabid?) about calling out racism in all its ways of being and holding myself and others accountable for the damage it causes.
And then, I started writing publicly. And I have to admit, I tried to reign it in. Knowing that I do aspire to make a living by writing, I didn’t want to offend for fear of driving off potential readers. I bit my tongue. And I’m ashamed of that.
So here’s my public declaration: I am passionately anti-racist. And I will write about it. I’ll write about it because writing is both my way of understanding the world and my way of impacting it. I’ll write about it because writing matters and people who fancy themselves writers have to talk about things that matter. Writing matters to racism. Art matters to racism.
Some people will go away. And that’s okay. To those people, I bid all the best. To those who stick around, thanks. Let’s learn something from one another.
Speaking of race, I’m working on a story that flashes back to 1940’s south and a farm that is sharecropped by both white and black sharecroppers. If you – or anyone you know – has experience in that subject matter, I’d love to hear from you. I’m finding research to be particularly difficult because, well….history is written by the winners. In order to do right by the black folks in the story, I need to better understand the time period.