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Write Everyday.

posted Aug 23, 2014, 11:23 AM by Elizabeth Bishop   [ updated Aug 23, 2014, 11:48 AM ]
8.23.14

I've opened this fresh page to begin the writerly habit of writing everyday. Novelists and academics swear by it. Poets disdain such dictates. I see this space as an opportunity to flex my cultural studies muscle, to write with free flow apart from APA rules and citation indexes. I kept my blog at zerodraft.wordpress.com for the more rhizomatic side of online creation, but this one is strictly words on the digital page. 

I've been thinking about whiteness, supremacy and violence a lot in the past few days. As a white woman, I'm horrified by the racist language of white privilege. Just before I started writing this, I learned about a "beloved" illustrator from Ferguson. She was typically "non-controversial" but felt obligated to add her work to the discourse of anti-racist peace and struggle. The image she drew depicted a Black mother and son at a table with a newspaper that read "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." A number of her former "followers" denounced her on Facebook, telling her she should also make a poster looters stealing from store owners. What disturbs me most about this particular sentiment is the dehumanization of Michael Brown, as though he is removed from the situation. 

I read on EdWeek that a school district close to Ferguson is not letting their teachers teach about what is happening there currently. Such a gag order is structurally violent, as it tells youth that their lives are not valuable and that their thoughts and feelings about what is happening currently is irrelevant and dismissed. 

I've been wishing I was working as a classroom teacher with youth as school starts again. I would absolutely let them write, speak, listen and read about any current events they deem worthy. Educational administrators and local officials gain nothing from stifling the voices of their constituents - young and old. I'm grateful that #FergusonSyllabus has entered the Twittersphere as a hashtag around which to gather resources and strategies. I hear the refrain of white privilege echoing in my head from all the writing I've seen which says that the Black community (not that it's singular) and the protesters (as if they're not peaceful) are creating a divisive landscape. 
That's simply not true. They are responding to violence, to brutality, to a cover-up of misinformation. 
Moving toward calm requires understanding, something that can't be achieved if ignorance is the first reflex.