Thursday, October 19, 2006


Dear Zac,

You are 15 1/2 months old now. You are funny, creative, inquisitive, and so amazingly good and throwing a ball that we only give you foam ones to play with because we are afraid for our lives if we give you anything heavier. Please start walking soon. Mommy's getting tired and you are getting so big. Walking is fun! Everyone I know loves to walk - even that kid at Weight Watchers last night that stole your bottle of milk and made you cry. He loves to walk. I think you would like it too. At least then you could chase after milk theives faster.


Dear FR,

I've been thinking a lot about what you commented yesterday regarding "intuition" being used as an excuse to justify racism. As I commented back, I thought about that when I was writing the post and wasn't sure how to address it then. Thank you for calling me out on it and making me reevaluate my words.

The only concrete thing that kept coming to my mind when I mulled over what you had written was that only 20% of violent incidents are commited by strangers. 80% of victims report that they had some kind of relationship with their attacker as: neighbors, coworkers, former bosses, lovers, partners, friends, contract workers, child care providers, doctors, lawyers, priests, pastors, rabbis, clerics, or some combination of all of these. That's a huge statistic. Of course, it's the 20% of cases that get the most media attention. "Senseless," "unthinkable," "abhorrent" acts of violence will keep Americans glued to their tv screens and constantly refreshing their MSN browser. It's the large amount of personal, intimate violence that we can easily dismiss by saying, "There is nothing like that going on in MY family," with the certainty that only people in denial can really muster.

In those cases, I do think it's important to listen to your intuition. If someone that you have to interact with (on a date, when you drop off your kid to daycare, at the dentist's office, when a former coworker gets fired) creeps you out, then it is most likely something more than "nothing". It is valid in those circumstances to listen to what you are feeling.

However, people do need to evaluate their own internalized racism and the legacy of oppression for any kind of difference when thinking about fear out in the public realm. It is racist for a white woman to be afraid to walk next to a black man simply because of his race. Just as it is racist to not board a plane because "suspicious looking Arabs" were planing to board. Wasn't it Jesse Jackson (God help us all!) that said if someone came up behind him at an ATM, he always hoped that it wasn't a young, black man? That shit is totally crazy. The media blows all of these cases up to such huge proportions, that it leads to the (incorrect) assumption that violence is only committed by non-whites living under the 130% of the poverty limit.

So, that's all I've got for now. It's not much. I miss you and your blog. Please keep writing (maybe sharing it) and commenting on here. Please also tell Sebastian to write on his blog. I miss his work as well.

Much love back,
Dear self,

Next time you want to convince yourself that you look good in a tank top, please remember the pictures from the gala and try to save yourself the embarassment.

Dear blog readers,

I've made my pictures on Flickr' private and taken them down in other forums. I tried to invite everyone that I could to become a "contact" as a friend or family member, but I'm sure I missed some people. I'll be uploaded some new pictures of Zac later on tonight that I want to share. If you want to be added, please e-mail me at and tell me a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for reading and giving me an outlet for sharing my thoughts.

With fondness,

1 comment:

FR said...

hey NSP,

i wrote a long, rambling response yesterday, which subsequently got lost before i submitted it :(

i so much appreciate your thoughts and the letter. learning to listen to oursleves (and unlearn the bad stuff) is hard, but necessary work in our lives.

and in the process, we need to be willing to make mistakes. we've grown up in a context in which government and the media and our social and religious institutions are feeding us daily messages about who and what we should fear. how to determine which threats are real and which aren't is becoming an increasingly more difficult task.