Day After #BlackOutTuesday: Dedicating Time to Reading Black Fiction Authors


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Well, here we are, a day after #BlackOutTuesday. I feel like America went through one giant self-awareness “aha” moment during a difficult therapy session. And now we’re all trying to figure out how to change things for the better. It’s hopeful.

I am certainly no one to lecture, and hell, this fight is nothing new. People of color have been screaming about it for generations. All I’m doing now is trying to join as a support and ally. I’m learning what it means to be anti-racist (admittedly, a new term I learned yesterday).

#BlackOutTuesday gave me a lot to think about. I’m Jewish, so I understand on a certain level what dealing with prejudice is like, because yes, I’ve dealt with anti-Semitism. I also know what it feels like to have my non-Jewish friends stand up for me and show solidarity, and it feels pretty damn good. 

But I’m also ridiculously white, like “spend five minutes in the sun and turn into a tomato” white. Which means I benefit from white privilege, because when I walk into a store, or get pulled over by the cops, or go for an evening walk in my neighborhood, people don’t see a “Jewish woman.” They see a “white woman.” For this reason, my friends who are people of color live a different experience than me.

Yesterday, I learned just how different.

And it made me cry. My heart bled for some of the experiences my friends shared with me. I have not found it in myself to watch the video of George Floyd’s death, because the images alone are traumatizing to me. I know his last word. His poor mother.

I realized that because I have the luxury of turning off the news and tuning out the injustice for a bit means that I benefit from white privilege. Because those who don’t benefit cannot just turn off the news. This is their reality.

So now, what will I do about this new realization?

Read. That’s what I’ve decided to do. Read. And LISTEN. And LEARN. I know some stuff, but not nearly enough.

I’ve made a personal commitment to begin choosing fiction books to read by black American authors about the authentic black experience in America. Usually, I choose books to read based on the plot or writing. This time, I’m making a conscious decision to choose based on the author, because nothing transports me into another pair of shoes like reading a strong fiction novel.

And on my blog here, I’ll be reviewing these books. I’ll promote their authors. I’ll talk about what I learned, and will simply share my journey.

I’m currently reading an ARC of a new book releasing in early July, so after I finish that, I’ll begin this new path. I invite you to follow my blog if you want to learn with me, and together, we can work toward creating a more empathetic world, a more just world, a more inclusive world, and a safer world for EVERYONE.

2 thoughts on “Day After #BlackOutTuesday: Dedicating Time to Reading Black Fiction Authors

  1. In my above comment about incarceration I accidentally gave a link to a NY Times article which was incorrect. Here is the correct link!

    Like

  2. Good choice of topics to begin reading about. Nothing is more eye opening than to have a friend of color confide in you to relate past abuses that have befallen them. Two of my mentors have shared their plight with me and I was both grateful and horrified by their stories. The NY Times Morning Briefing of June 3rd highlighted one of the atrocities that needs to be addressed (for which there happens to be too numerous directions that need Federal and State laws enacted to finally provide a sense of justice which has never been met in our country). Here is a link….

    https://outlook.live.com/mail/inbox/id/AQMkADAwATE0YzgwLWNmNmItZGQAOWUtMDACLTAwCgBGAAADAq7mORGMVEujiAykH56uMwcAIdSC3LxX1kCTotFXgCsHoAAAAgEMAAAAIdSC3LxX1kCTotFXgCsHoAAEBoiKGAAAAA%3D%3D

    I also suggest checking into the book: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by
    Bryan Stevenson. It addresses this problem of racial injustice within the criminal justice system (which is totally broken).

    Good thoughts Shari. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

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