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
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
from 'Lies My Teacher Told Me'
by James W. Loewen. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Americans seem perpetually startled at slavery. Children are shocked to learn that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves... Very few adults today realize that our society has been slave much longer than it has been free.. The first colony to legalize slavery was not Virginia but Massachusetts.. Wall Street was the marketplace where owners could hire out their slaves by the day or week (142).
Textbooks canonize Patrick Henry for his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. Not one tells us that eight months after delivering the speech he ordered "diligent patrols" to keep Virginia slaves from accepting the British offer of freedom to those who would join their side (146).
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.)