Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race (2018) by Lee


This is the final post from the archives of Lee who writes for her blog Woeful to Froful, where she shares about hair and skincare, beauty, positive thinking and music. This is from Lee’s second blog and I believe a great way to finish her series of posts. I went to South Africa at age 10 and went to a local school for two years. I found it very difficult to separate who could be my friend and who could not based on their colour. I still do. We lived in Liverpool during the Toxteth riots and were saddened by the violence that fractured so many families and lives. Lee shares a very balanced view of the subject and I am sure you will think so too.

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Image Source: Bloomsbury.com

This is not a book review as such, just a reaction to a piece of work that unexpectedly moved me.

I will admit that the amount of reading I’ve been doing over the last few years has been quite woeful considering I call myself a writer. I read more as an enthusiastic 10-year-old than I do now as a down trodden, full-time working, mum of three.

It doesn’t happen very often but on a rare occasion, I’m actually able to go out. Crazy! Adult time…away from the kids. It’s almost like a mythical being that only 2 people have ever seen. Like a yeti. Going out for a parent of a young family is like spotting a yeti. But on a recent occasion of being able to go out, I went with a friend to watch Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie and Reni Eddo-Lodge speak.

I was introduced to Reni’s book that night and I promptly borrowed it from a friend. I knew I would find the time to read it, holding onto it until I went away on a friend’s hen do.

The plan was to read it on the train journey to Liverpool, on the plane to Marbella and lounging by the pool. It’s probably not the usual pool side reading but I knew I needed to read this book. And I did. I devoured it in 2 sittings, it didn’t even make it to Spain.

I can say that when I did read voraciously, I didn’t read critical works, I am a fiction gal through and through. But reading this book about feminism, race and all the issues that creates and encompasses, I feel richer for it. It was enjoyable and informative and it hit much closer to home than expected.

I am someone who is lucky enough to say as a black woman, that I’ve had very few encounters with explicit racism. A type of privilege, I suppose. I know that there are forces against me that I will never see, the things that are embedded in society, within our British culture, a term I now know as structural racism (rather than institutional). I believe I have been faced with the more subtle forms racism can take though.

And that’s the thing with this book. It’s thoroughly British. Like Eddo-Lodge says, British children are well aware of the Civil Rights movement in the US, MLK, Rosa, Harriet. But what do we know of our own BLACK British history. It’s something that is sorely neglected on TV and in schools, although if you have a chance to watch David Olusoga’s “Black And British: A Forgotten History,” your eyes will be opened as mine were to stories I couldn’t have even imagined. I was shocked about how entrenched we as people are in British history and that it’s not just a legacy from slavery. We are not a recent addition.

As I come from Liverpool originally, I was well aware that I was being brought up in one of the biggest former slave ports in the country. It’s a beautiful city with some not so beautiful periods in its past. Nowadays, to me it feels like a real cultural melting pot in comparison to the town where I live now. That’s a legacy of Liverpool being a port.

I also remember noticing how many interracial families there were around and never batted an eyelid. It seemed completely normal to me. Liverpool is a truly metropolitan city.

But there was a term I knew as a chid which I always knew was wrong, “half-caste.” I just never realised its actual origins were based on a statistical social study conducted about mixed race families in my home city post-slavery. This was a section of the book that resonated with me quite strongly since I have a white husband and biracial children.

And that was something that just kept hitting me as I read, especially the first chapter, “Histories.” Just how close this is to me. Not just the mentions of Liverpool, the Toxteth riots just down the road from where I grew up a few years before I was born, but mentions of London and Handsworth in Birmingham, all places I have or have had family.

My eyes have een opened to issues that I suppose I wilfully ignored in the past until they were actually a direct problem for me. There wasn’t anything in the book that if it hasn’t happened to me, it’s happened to family members around me.

And the subject matter is made even more relevant by the fact that my mother and her siblings came to this country near the end of the Windrush in the 1960s. Something that’s making the headlines due to the way those citizens are being treated now. My Dad came over in the 1970s, and I’ve heard over the years the odd snippet of history from them of the issues they faced.

For my Mum, working as a nurse as it was one of the few professions open to her. Which makes sense as you will notice to this day that a lot of health workers in this country are not white and many that are white, aren’t British. How my Dad and his friend, instead of running from a group of skinheads, stupidly or valiantly confronted them, most likely buoyed by youthful arrogance and somehow gained the upper hand. He obviously lived to tell the tale.

Lodge, who is slightly younger than me, seems to be a version of me, but amped up by a level of activism I never contemplated before. She found her activism at university while I just got drunk! The book is a must read for both black and white people, a way for both sides to express and understand the playing field of the world. I especially strongly recommend it for anyone who stands strong and proud and claims to be a feminist.

The night I saw Chimamanda and Reni talk, I felt more connected with my blackness and my place in the world. Seeing intelligent and educated black women speak on the issues that matter to us. And reading this book, I feel like I understand where I fit better. As I grow as a person who feels empowered in the way I look and feel about myself, reading this has made me realise that I must feel empowered AND act when it comes to issues of feminism and race.

I let my polite British demeanour stop me from speaking up way too much in case it creates awkwardness or animosity. Stupid, really. I need to find my own style of combatting the little issues around me and hopefully a ripple effect will be created and in my own small way will have helped with the wider issues.

I returned the book to my friend but I will be looking at purchasing my own copy as I enjoyed it so much. I will read this again, I have to as a reminder of what my obligations are to the world and myself.

xx woeful writes xx

©Lee Woeful Writes 2018

About Lee

My name is Lee and welcome to my little written corner of the world. You’ll find posts on here about haircare, skincare, beauty, positive thinking and my favourite songs. Stick around, read a bit, leave a comment, hey, why not join me on your favourite social media to keep up to date with blog goings on!

Connect to Lee

Blog: https://woefultofrofull.com/blog/
Blog 2: https://woefulwrites.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/woefultofrofull/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/woefultofrofull/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/woefultofrofull/

My thanks to Lee for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and enjoy browsing them yourselves.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History by Yecheilyah Ysrayl


Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

In Yecheilyah’s third post she revisits the events in history that cost the lives or changed them completely for many. We are familiar with the names of those who have been featured in documentaries, books and in films, but there were others who also deserve to be remembered.

Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Have you ever wondered about those people who was part of history but who you never hear about? Sometimes people get lost to history. For whatever reason, their stories don’t make it to mainstream news, most of the time until years or even centuries later. Below is a list of four random people who were involved in major historical events in some way but whom we never hear much about. I will list a few every Thursday time permitting.

#1

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy in Hartford, Conn.

Irene Morgan – We have all heard of Rosa Parks, but there were at least three women who refused to give up their seats on the bus in the Jim Crow south over the course of history. Eleven years before Parks, Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, an African-American woman, was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate bus according to a state law on segregation. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called “The Journey of Reconciliation.” Irene Morgan died on August 10, 2007.

#2

Sarah Collins Rudolph – We’re all familiar with the story of the Four Little Girls who were killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama. However, there were five little girls who were injured, four died but one remained. Sarah Collins Rudolph is the fifth little girl who was injured in the 1963 bombing. Her story touches my heart because she was blinded and there is nothing like losing your eyes. In 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Sarah Collins Rudolph survived the blast, but her sister Addie Mae and three other girls were killed. Today, Sarah still struggles with the aftermath of the bombing.

#3


Virgil Lamar Ware – Speaking of the 16th Street Bombing, Virgil Lamar Ware is a name we don’t hear very often or probably never did. At 13, Virgil was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bicycle on September 15, 1963 when he was fatally shot by white teenagers. The white youths had come from a segregationist rally held in the aftermath of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.

#4

Lamar Smith – We have all heard of Emmett Till who was murdered August 28 of 1955. What we don’t hear a lot about is the murder of Lamar Smith just two and a half weeks earlier of this same year. On August 13, 1955 in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a man named Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man.

©YecheilyahYsrayl 2015

My thanks to Yecheilyah for sharing this post from her archives that reminds us of the innocent bystanders who lost their lives or had their lives changed completely by the events of 1963 and those who stood up for equality.

Books by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

The most recent review for Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Let me first start off by saying, I am ready for book 2. Yecheilyah is a very gifted and knowledgeable writer. She takes the time to capture the time historically, allowing the reader to travel to that special era. The characters portrayed in this book are intriguing.

Nora the main character has a dream of becoming a writer. However her families idea for her is not on the path that she wants to take. Growing up in the south, Nora finds it hard to stay in the slow pace in which the south moves. She’s an artist and in order to follow her dreams sacrifices have to be made. The characters that are introduced have exciting stories. The intertwining of actual historical events with the story leaves you both educated and entertained. The twist and turns this story takes will leave you surprised and anxiously waiting for more. The way the story ended will have you craving for closure. This book was such an easy read and the only conflict you will have is choosing which character you love the most!

Where is part 2? Hopefully coming soon!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA

Read more reviews and follow Yecheilyah on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8336941.Yecheilyah_Ysrayl

About Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah is an Independent Author, Blogger, and Poet. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, red wine, and movie nights. Originally from Chicago, IL, “EC” studied Professional and Technical Writing at Chicago State University and Medical Assistance at Everest College. Founder of Literary Korner Publishing, and The PBS Blog, Yecheilyah has been writing for eighteen years and publishing books for ten years. She loves to blog and dedicate her time toward helping and inspiring other writers through her book reviews and Introduce Yourself Interview Feature. Yecheilyah is a member of the Authors / Bloggers Rainbow Support Group, writes Literary and Historical Fiction, poetry and anything else her mind thinks up. She is currently revising Revelation, Book Two in The Nora White Story along with other writing projects. Yecheilyah lives in Marietta, GA with her husband where she writes full time.

Connect to Yecheilyah via her website: https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yecheilyah.ysrayl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry

If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Please do not send self-promotional book posts as there are several other ways to promote your books here. I am looking for posts on life, relationships, health, creative writing, food, music and travel.. If you have a short story to share that is great too.