Not at ALL What You Thought

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Can't Believe It.

You are Spider-Man

The Flash
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Iron Man
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

This One's for You, TOO, Mama

Because you went ahead and brought me into this world despite a rather peaceful decade of only two kids, all the way out of diapers and on their way to independence, and started, with me, to your horror, all over again;

Because you brought my little sister, who became my bestest friend, into this world a coupla years after that, despite doctors' claims that she'd be deformed or mentally challenged or otherwise Other, and refused to have an abortion;

Because, at the age of 38, you decided to take your life in your own hands, divorce the man who was no longer a good husband, and get your very first job outside of the home EVER, so you could take care of us financially;

Because you shouldered the responsibility of us all, despite your weariness and frustration and (according to you) rank ignorance about parenting;

Because, when we told you we were taking Sex Education classes at school, you IMMEDIATELY sat us down and told us The Real Deal, despite the fact that YOU had had to learn the facts about your body and The Birds and The Bees from a girlfriend (because neither your mother nor your grandmother would tell you);

Because you decided to behave in a deliberate, loving way toward your grandchildren, despite the fact that your own mother had never taught you how to be a woman, much less a grandmother;

Because, every year, you forget that you sent me a "Pull Your Life Together" letter last year, so you send it again, writing out three or four pages by hand, tucking them into an envelope, and mailing it;

Because at the age of 75, you still worry about all your grown children and pray for every one of us --and our children, blood and adopted;

Merry Father's Day. I love you and I hope you live forever.

Dear Jesus, my brother, thank you for fathers of each gender.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's Wise Showing Me?

So I read Tim Wise's essay, "Your Whiteness is Showing," and wondered a coupla wonders: (1) is the phenomenon of (some) feminist Clintonites suddenly considering McCain instead of Obama only about race? (2) What effect does Wise hope to have with his essay?

The first question is an issue I think we all need to ponder. For what it's worth, I think "racist" is a rather simplistic response to the phenomenon. It doesn't explain it for me. Racism, for one thing, is rarely a response to real hurt. And I says it as shouldn't --because I don't particularly believe in the "sexist" charge (some) feminists are trying to make stick to Obama's entire campaign. Yes, I see the sexism rampant in the media, I see Obama failing to respond to the bulk of it, but I can't bring myself to buy into the Guilt by Association thang.

But while I find the charge rather specious, I refuse to pooh pooh the hurt a lot of feminists are feeling right now. I refuse to pretend it's not a real thang. So shoot me.

The second question I thought I'd pose to Mr. Wise. Herewith his response:

Well, of course, writers don't only write for a particular effect. Writers also write their truth because it needs to be said, as with any truth. Effect is derivative and nice, but not always the purpose. Secondly, the effect, as with all of my work is to challenge white racism and those who perpetrate it. That is a value in and of itself, in that it raises awareness among white folks as to what some of our number are doing, or threatening to do, which manifests whiteness, and even if it fails to convince any of the persons to whom it's directed (which is possible), it raises the awareness of other whites as to just how phony some so called white liberals can be on race. That is something that sometimes we as white folks don't see immediately. Already I've heard from many folks who have been stunned to hear their white female friends threatening to vote for McCain, and who didn't really have a conceptual framework to figure out what the hell that was about, and who now sorta get it, having read my piece, and several others that are on the web, framing it in the context of white bonding, etc. So that awareness alone can be helpful for other whites when it comes to making clear the importance of doing antiracism work among white liberal folks.


Notice anything there? Or is it just me, the 47-year-old writer and professor of composition and literature, thinking that the comments "writers don't only write for effect" and "Effect is derivative and nice" are a coupla inaccuracies slathered with a patronizing sauce?

First of all.

Writers always write for effect. First. Even if only to get something off one's chest, the primary purpose of writing is purpose: one narrates; one exemplifies; one describes; one maps out a process; one argues. And for the story, the example, the description, the process, the argument, there is always, almost always uppermost in the writer's mind, an audience, explicit or implicit. And we always write to have an effect upon that audience. That purpose is inherent in any published writing. One can truthfully claim effect as "derivative" (whatever that means) and "nice" only if one keeps one's writing to one's self.


If racism isn't the entire issue where the Sudden Pro-McClain Feminist Response is concerned (and it isn't), if the response isn't entirely a manifestation of "whiteness" (and it isn't), then "challenging white racism" here is only part of the job, yes? And shouldn't we*, if we're concerned with Writing Our Truth, be concerned with the entire truth? I mean, even if we can't quite put our fingers on the thang, shouldn't we at least say that we haven't quite put our fingers on the whole thang?

I dunno. Maybe the compassion I feel for my sisters is just my whiteness showing.

*meaning Mr. Wise, of course.

Dear Jesus, Son of the living God, teach us to love the truth, even when we have to tell it to ourselves.