July 13, 2015 by carolinetanski
I’ve been making a focused effort to recognize and address some of my own blind spots when it comes to structural racism (primarily in America). I’ve been quiet about it because I’ve felt the most important thing I can do for now is to sit down, shut up, and listen to some people who really know their business. As always, I turn to books and writers. Coates has a stark, clear eye for accountability and evasion; this New York Magazine interview addresses Coates’s treatment of white guilt and the desire for forgiveness in ways that have made me examine my own motivations anew. I’m grateful for that, though of course my gratitude is not the point.
It’s uncomfortable to look more closely at the framework that has formed and privileged my life at the expense of others in a centuries-long process of subjugation and discrimination. It’s uncomfortable to begin to come to terms with how culturally swaddled I’ve been and how long I went without seeing it. It should be uncomfortable—these are huge issues that have been woven into this country since before its founding, and they affect all of us.
Coates is one of many, many writers who deserve our attention. Whom have you been reading lately? Who has made you ask new questions, made you look at the world differently, or voiced something you’ve longed to hear?