AnalogMojo


Reading Between the Lines
August 12, 2015, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m a words person. I always have been and I can’t imagine being anything else. I taught myself to read when I was 2 years old; as the youngest in my family I was livid to have everyone around me engaged in this thing I felt excluded from. I don’t remember what the first book was, in fact I don’t remember doing this. As far as my memory is concerned I was born reading. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve also been editing.

Excerpt from Paula Gidding’s, When and Where I Enter: Her life paralleled with Mary Church Terrell’s in many ways. The two women were born a year apart, and both were daughters of former slaves. Their fathers were sons of their masters, both were men who filled their daughters with racial pride- and the spirit of defiance. 

My Edits: Her life paralleled with Mary Church Terrell’s in many ways. The two women were born a year apart, and both were daughters of formerly enslaved people. Their fathers were sons of their slavers; both were men who filled their daughters with racial pride- and the spirit of defiance.

My first editing experience came from inside of my own brain. As I developed as a reader I was as constantly puzzled to find the absence of she/hers in what I was reading, as I was to find the lack of we,ours. Whenever someone was talking about people as a whole they always referenced men, and this made no sense to me. “Time waits for no man,” I’d read and then ask myself, “But I have a vagina, so will time wait for me?

The Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, …

My Edits: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among People, …

So as I read I would re-write the story I was being told; I would read-write what made sense to me. So whenever I encountered “man” holding space as an indicator of all human beings, I’d replace that word in my brain with “people”; I’d simply tell the truth.

As I continue to develop as a person, this skill becomes ever more necessary. The subtleties of erasure demand my intellectual vigilance. I still edit what I read internally, and it is exhausting to be in this process of constant re-affirmation of not only my existence and truth, but sanity. And I can’t stop, I won’t stop, because this clarity is actively a matter of life and death.

For when we are consuming media telling us that the White residents of New Orleans were resourceful survivors, while the Black ones opportunistic thieves securing food stuffs for their survival, we are dealing with the literal definitions, the constructs and parameters, of reality.

People often ask what they can do to become better allies, more resilient fighters, how to maintain their grasp on what’s real in the midst of so much gaslighting. This is one of my ways. For as it goes below so it goes above, and I’m not done. My editing has become more sophisticated as my understanding has; the edits I make today are not the same ones I made a decade, or two, ago. This is proper as the only sustainable truth is change and I push myself to be that, the change, for the world I believe deserves to exist.

My Edits: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Beings, …

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