And of course, it’s not just writers who learn about the power of subtlety. We can learn the same lessons from life off the page. Anyone who’s been put down by oppression knows that. There are plenty of examples of racism at its most extreme, with the most dire of consequences, but sometimes, it’s just the little things that let you know how others may perceive and misjudge you.
Have we come so far?
by Lauren Quock
After my reading the other night, I had one of those experiences that leaves a question in the air. To be honest, I wanted to catch my breath and move on, know that I survived and save my energy for the big fights like justice for Trayvon, leaving the question as just a question without facing the possibilities of the truth. Then Oakland writer Roger Porter, who was also part the experience, wrote about it on his blog, capturing the feeling of having that question on your mind. And there it was, facing me, in all of the complexity of the truth.
Of course, a writer knows that subtlety can be used for more than oppression. It can be used for quite the opposite. And that’s where I find the hope here. If racism can quietly make its way into our lives, then justice can, too. Sure, there are times when we have to make a thunderous noise to face the truth and call for change. But we don’t have to wait for the chance to do that to make a difference. We can imagine a world of true liberation, and consider what that would mean. Think of what freedom could mean, for everyone and everything, from the big changes, right down to the little things.