It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
'Cause Sadie moved like water poured
The shapes she shaped had angels floored
She knew her walk turned wind to fire
A wink from Sadie turned brains to mire" -Tim Seibles, The Ballad of Sadie LaBabe
Monday, June 16, 2008
For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend
by Pat Parker
The first thing you do is to forget that i'm Black. Second, you must never forget that i'm Black.
You should be able to dig Aretha, but don't play here every time i come over. An if you decide to play Beethoven-don't tell me his life story. They make us take music appreciation too.
Eat soul food if you like it, but don't expect me to locate your restaurants of cook it for you.
And if some Black person insults you, mugs you, rapes your sister, rapes you, rips your house or is just being an ass- please do not apologize to me for wanting to do them bodily harm. It makes me wonder if you're foolish.
And even if you really believe Blacks are better lovers than whites-don't tell me. I start thinking of charging stud fees.
In other words-if you really want to be my friend-don't make a labor of it. I'm lazy. Remember.
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. This is one of my absolute favorite stories. Focusing on prejudice, it demonstrates the silliness of segregating people based on categories (race, religion, gender, etc). The story's strength is that it shows just how arbitrary these categories are.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In this classic story, a new mother suffering from what we might today call 'post-partum depression,' sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.
"Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" He asked.
"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
(both quotes from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," available in full-text here.)