Yes: Black Lives Matter (5)

What do I do?

I began this week of Black Lives Matter thoughts by saying that the music industry’s #TheShowMustBePaused mission had prompted my (as their statement had requested) honest, reflective and productive inner conversation—with myself, on my own responsibilities when it came to the Black lives in my country.  Race in this country is not a Black problem. It is not even an exclusively American problem. It is mine, and here are a few things that I need to remember.

I need to speak up.  Keeping silent is the same thing as voicing agreement.  I need to bear witness to inequity.

Use my privilege. If events of recent weeks have taught white people one thing, it’s that Black skin is a target where paler skin may not be. There’s often not even a need for the white bystander to be confrontational, merely to be there, and present, and visible, and polite, with persistent and courteous questions such as: Pardon me, sir, but isn’t that sort of racist?  How is it not racism?  Is there something I can help with?  Isn’t there a fairer way we could do this?  And so on…

Give. I need to donate money, but also time.  To the NAACP for their decades of brave work and National Bail Out for those who can’t pay their bail, and the ACLU for all manner of human rights, and the Southern Poverty Law Center for voter registration.  Maybe I should consult the Time Magazine list of things to do? I And if I need a book, perhaps from a Black-owned bookshop?

Vote. This November will be incredibly important when it comes to the future of race relations in our country—when it comes to the future of pretty much everything in our country, for that matter. November is key. I will donate, and I will pry loose some hours to do my part in shifting matters.

I will be aware. It’s time to expand my boundaries.  I’ll start by checking out the books by Crime Writers of Color, signing up for their newsletter, and following them on Facebook.

This week started with #TheShowMustBePaused urging the country to “take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”  So in the comments, how do you see us going forward as a nation, and what are you doing as a person?

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  1. Elise Horn on June 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    • Laurie King on June 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      And thank you for reading.

  2. Katherine from Australia on June 27, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for directing us to the Crime Writers of Color website and in your Black Lives Matter (2) post recommended Black mystery writers. I’ve just splurged and now have a modest pile of reading I’m expecting will both educate and entertain me!

    • Laurie King on June 27, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Enjoy the new voices, Katherine from Oz!

  3. Julie Spickler on July 21, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Dear Laurie R. King,
    During the shelter-at-home months I have been reading your Mary Russell books — just finished reading Garment of Shadows, and was very impressed with your linguistic forays — European languages are one thing, but Arabic? or whatever is spoken in Morocco, or was in 1925 ??! Your bio doesn’t mention languages as part of your studies . . . Anyway, Thanks a Lot for making my furlough from work at the Stanford Bookstore more interesting. Thank the gods for libraries!
    Oh — I’m now 79, born and raised in San Francisco, BA and MA from Stanford in English Lit. Books are magic. Another favorite author is Ursula Le Guin.

    • Laurie King on July 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Julie! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the books–and I have to say, Russell’s knowledge of languages is much superior to mine. I have snippets of various tongues modern and ancient, but nothing like hers.
      One of many ways in which characters are superior to their…literary agents.

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