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What have you experienced?

“I have black friends!” I’ve heard cried countless times. It’s made me want to ask:

But have you talked to those friends about race? Have you talked to them about racism, and the times they’ve been singled out–by silence, by microaggression, by rudeness only identifiable as racism if you’d experienced the totality of it? 

Or have you assumed your friends have never experienced racism … because they would’ve offered up their experiences to you conversationally if they had?

White people are remarkably efficient at self-segregation. We have the luxury of choosing this, and then still pretending we have nevertheless heard and understood the experiences of those outwardly unlike us.

I don’t pretend to have answers or be “post-racial.” I am married to and have two sons with a Black man, and yet I still show moderate preference for Caucasian folks.

As I think about the future well being of my sons in this country, in this world, I think they will be safest in a future where White people don’t pretend to know but ask:

What have you experienced?

Categories: Friends, Parenting Tags: , , ,

Between the grave and perfection

I was sixteen when I wrote my first blog twenty years ago tomorrow. image

I already wrote my twenty-year bloggingversary post, but there is so much more in my heart as my family and I drive back from Legoland.

When I wrote that first blog, I had just graduated high school. I’d already spent time living away from home. I’d long since held my first jobs as a Chinese restaurant hostess and McDonald’s grill girl. Read more…

My platinum blog: 20 years of blogging

Hey, punk,

I was going to write “Dear Deborah” there, but realized that wouldn’t work for you, my June 23, 1995 self. You were so daring and bold that such a plain greeting would’ve chafed.

(I don’t mean to be sarcastic, by the way. It’s just that you’re so goshdarned cute in all your conviction you’re bad to the bone.)

Later today, you’re going to get bored. You’re going to wonder, “What can I do to make my webpage different than all the ones I’ve visited so far?” You’re going to contemplate starting a journal online (gasp!), and then just as quickly wonder if it’s a good idea.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

It’s a great idea.

Now, hold your horses. I don’t mean you’ll be swimming in gold because you decide to add a .txt file journal to your hand-coded HTML site today. Some people will make money from writing journals online someday, but those people will not be you. You won’t have enough sense (or, most days, giggle fodder) for that, and that’s okay.

There’s something else you’ll take from it. Read more…

Our flowers for Rara

Categories: Family, Friends Tags: , , ,

Lost Tree, Found Girl

rache me mid-80sMy younger sister’s poem “Lost Tree, Found Girl” sent my mind and heart spinning today.

I spun through time and space, until I was sitting with my still-little sister in the lowest branches of my favorite. To her older and still quiet, black-adorned high school self. To Cambridge scholar. To mom, neither little or especially quiet; though she still favors contemplation, she’s ready and willing to roar whenever–and at whomever–deserves it.

Her heart has always had a special place in my own. Today, remembering the two of us sitting up in that tree, I was more glad to have had that tree-time than sad it’s over. I was so glad, in fact, that I recorded a vlog to sing you all about it.

I no longer sit in the tree, but I can still sit with the girl.

That’s worth another song, if I ever get ’round to writing songs again.*

Read more…

How to help Rara

There’s this blogger whose words I’ve missed greatly while she’s been imprisoned the last year or so.

Rara has been especially prominent in my heart since I saw her at her husband’s memorial a week and a half ago.

Madame Weebles has created this GoFundMe account to help ease Rara’s imminent transition back to the world beyond prison walls, and boiled down Rara’s heartbreaking last year more succinctly than I’d have dreamed possible.

Please take a look. If you are able to set aside $5 or $10, you’d be helping “put a roof over [Rara’s] head and food on her table” in her new life as (so much more than) a widow and a felon. I’d be grateful.

Can’t send money? Not a problem. You can send her your words (and/or silly dinosaur images) of support, and would appreciate your thanks for those within the prison who’ve helped keep her going the last couple of weeks.

Categories: Blogging, Friends Tags: , , ,

Rara sends her love

Does it look like we're miserable?

With Rara in orange and Dave in the middle

I met Rara and her husband, Dave, a week before my second son was born.

Rara went to prison a couple of weeks later. Innocence doesn’t pay attorney fees.

She’s still in prison.

She was there when Dave posted that he had an infection a few weeks ago.

She was there when he died soon after.

Today, my husband, sons and I drove to Dave’s memorial.

My five-year-old, Li’l D, couldn’t understand how Rara had ended up in prison.

My husband and I answered Li’l D’s many questions until my husband finally said, “Some bad guys fight with swords. Other bad guys fight with paper. She met the kind who fights with paper.” Read more…

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