Musings on the News and on Work

I’m unable to stop reading the news. I told myself a couple of weeks ago that I’d like to try reading more headlines and fewer articles, and I’ve succeeded to some degree, but that’s mostly because Black Twitter is more knowledgeable about what’s going in the American political sphere than some mainstream media outlets are. (And, of course, some of them are journalists, too). So even if I’m feeling avoidant, I can’t stop consuming, and someone’s smarts are always there to educate me.

Sometimes my anger, fear, and worry about the takeover of this country by open fascists who denigrate women feel all consuming. I lay under a blanket on Election Night, the cat mushed on my legs, commiserating with my closest friends. Worrying. Wondering. Feeling flattened. Like many of you, I’ve gotten a lot of my oomph back since then, but the onslaught of bad news is destabilizing, and sometimes I think, why am I writing this dissertation instead of going to medical school to be an abortion doctor, or to law school to be an immigration attorney?

But then I think, this project is about the talent and misrepresentation of Black women, and about the White dudes who learned from them without giving them enough credit. The values of the book I’m trying to write are at the heart of the political – and moral – landscape we live in. If I do this right, it will be part of an ongoing and strengthening discourse, among writers and activists and teachers and faculty and students and artists and musicians, about the impact of systemic racism and systemic sexism on the art we consume and the art we learn from. It will (I deeply hope) help to cut against those forces, and to honor the incredible work of Black women (and some White ones) as inspiration for other work that we don’t think twice about honoring. And we need to do better, on so many fronts, but this one is directly in our control.

So I hope you’re donating time and money to organizations working for intersectional justice. I hope you’re finding space and time for your own self-care. I hope you’re angry as fuck and ready to fight. But I also hope you’re, like me, finding ways to keep your work centered in the values of this fight. To paraphrase my wonderful advisor, it’s a terrible time, and there are books to be written.