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Saturday, July 9, 2016

But it’s a lie.

The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried they will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being too sensitive. And we don’t want them to say, Look how far we’ve come, just forty years ago it would have been illegal for us to even be a couple blah blah blah, because you know what we’re thinking when they say that? We’re thinking why the fuck should it ever have been illegal anyway? But we don’t say any of this stuff. We let it pile up inside our heads and when we come to nice liberal dinners like this, we say that race doesn’t matter because that’s what we’re supposed to say, to keep our nice liberal friends comfortable. It’s true. I speak from experience. -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this. – Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Charlie was a Saints fan, as he described it, about all things race. Best advice my father ever gave me: When you know your team can’t win, you hope, pray, and cheer, but don’t bet, curse, or get in anyways angry when they lose. That’s how you live without your heart drawing up into your ass.
T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville
And in the late nineties, two women sued Hopkins, claiming that its researchers had knowingly exposed their children to lead, and hadn’t promptly informed them when blood tests revealed that their children had elevated lead levels—even when one developed lead poisoning. The research was part of a study examining lead abatement methods, and all families involved were black. The researchers had treated several homes to varying degrees, then encouraged landlords to rent those homes to families with children so they could then monitor the children’s lead levels. - Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
"Come on, girl. Don't cry," whispered Frank. "Why not? I can be miserable if I want to. You don't need to try and make it go away. It shouldn't go away. It's just as sad as it ought to be and I'm not going to hide from what's true just because it hurts." Cee wasn't sobbing anymore, but the tears were still running down her cheeks. -Toni Morrison, Home