Ever since I got into travel writing, I've been told to read the works of Joseph Conrad, Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, William Dalrymple, Bill Bryson, and other white men. While I learned a lot from their stories, I was also repeatedly left with questions about misogyny and racial insensitivity.
Walking among 2,000-year old sequoias in Sequoia and Yosemite national parks, I felt their powerful energy and gave thanks that these last remaining giants were protected by the Buffalo Soldiers from the effects of logging and ranching at the turn of the 20th century. What a loss their demise would have been!
As the curtain closes, Amazing Grace gets a standing ovation, with shouts and tears to boot. Maybe, I missed something. Maybe, I don't understand. It's okay that I don't like it because someone else did. But for me, it is not enough. It's too trapped in "history" to acknowledge the history that resides inside us.
An angry white man is politician. He is a banker, a lawyer, a journalist, a president. He can carry gun. He can voice his opinions no matter how loud and is entitled to a microphone. The constitution was constructed for and by him. It his pulpit. No matter how hard Black voices try and compete they aren't even in the audience.
Every year on Independence Day, we celebrate the fact that the past is not past, coming together as a nation to celebrate the past, to revere the past, to honor the collective ideals upon which our nation was founded. We pay tribute to the ideals of freedom and liberty and remember that "all men are created equal."