It is not often that a piece of writing on a topic like diversity takes my breath away. Much of what is written is so formalized and rhetorical that it can be hard to read and does not invade one’s consciousness in a way that leads to deep change.
A piece we published yesterday, however, by Al Letson, is invasive in all the right ways. In the article Letson discusses the many costs of allowing human reality to be defined by a dominant framework and ignoring the voices and stories of others that might cause sufficient discomfort to cause change to occur. Here is the way he begins the piece:
Long before I started working on State of the Re: Union (SOTRU), poet Sekou Sundiata told me, “One of the biggest issues in America is the country’s collective amnesia.” Our ability to forget whatever didn’t work in the narrative of these United States. We consume the world, and if the bones stick in our craw we spit them out and fly away. In some ways that might be our biggest strength as Americans, the ability to move on; to put one foot in front of the other and face the future. On the surface, it may seem admirable, but moving on without cleaning up just leaves devastation in its wake. Sekou went on to say: “Our selective memory in essence has broken time”—we live only in the present and the acceptable past. Much of Sekou’s life revolved around reclaiming our collective memory.
And yet, time is still broken.
If you read nothing else I recommend to you this year, read this and pass it along!