Sunday Salon: On Recovery

sunday salonTime: // 5: 23 a.m.

The scene: // The house is quiet as I listen to the birds chirp outside. I’m sitting here with my thoughts and there’s so much to try and process.

I named this post “On Recovery” because right now I’m recovering physically from being really sick early in the week and emotionally from all that’s happening in the United States. Nine people were gunned down on Wednesday at Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina during Bible Study. Nine people who were murdered because they’re black. They were parents and grandparents, coaches and college students, librarians and pillars in their community. They were loved. They were human beings.

As a black person, I don’t often mention things about race on my blog. Often, like now, I feel like it’s so hard to put my thoughts and feelings into a coherent post. But being silent about things that matter like race and privilege and being so talkative about things that don’t like book giveaways or whatnot is part of the problem that’s going on in this world. Book blogs try to stay focused on the subject, but as people, we are not one-dimensional. Things happen and they affect us. So why not speak about it?

As I pray for the victims’ families, I’m hurt, angry, and shock. People often act as though our society is post-racial though it’s anything but.

It’s a world that’s filled with hatred and acts of violence based on skin color, religion, and gender.

It’s a world that’s filled with love and forgiveness as we’ve seen with the families of the dead.

It’s a world that’s filled with courage as Joy and her friends stand every weekend to point out that “black lives matter” and Jill posts about a diverse and important number of subjects about the world.

It’s also a world that’s filled with hope as people come together to pray and openly talk.

You may not know how to contribute to the conversation. Listen to what others are saying. Speak up even if it means offending or losing the support of family or friends. It may be hard, but isn’t it harder living in a world where horrific things of this nature happen? Acts of hatred and terrorism cannot be fought by being silent or on the defense. That’s not how the world is going to change.

Emily Perper at LongReads compiled a small list of online reading about the massacre.

Thanks to Evelyn for pointing out #CharlestonSyllabus, a list of selected readings that educators have gathered to talk about race and race relations in the U.S.

Speak up.


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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36 Responses to Sunday Salon: On Recovery

  1. Sending you all my love, Vasilly.

  2. Anne says:

    I am so troubled by the events of this past week, too. My heart breaks for the families of the victims, for us all really. Why, why, why? Today my husband and I were talking about the flap in our start over the gal who was running the branch of the NAACP in Washington and how her family says she isn’t even black. Leonard Pitts wrote an excellent editorial about the two things today in the newspaper. Our DNA is the same. We are the same. Why, why, why such hatred? Ugh. Everyday I pray for peace and for understanding. I pray it will happen in my lifetime or sooner. We cannot go on this way. Sigh.

    • Vasilly says:

      “We are all the same.”

      That’s exactly it. The human race is capable of so much if we would just get out of our own way.

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  4. joyweesemoll says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! It encouraged me to post links and a photo about the Black Lives Matter vigil on my blog as well as some other ways to work for change.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I find it so troubling that when a white man shoots nine black people in cold blood and even tells them it was because they are black, the media still looks to see if it is mental illness. No, he was racist. They would never look for mental illness if the races were reversed. It sickens me that even in the 21st century the country and the world is still so full of #whitepriveledge. My heart is in Charleston.

    • Vasilly says:

      I want the media to quit blaming so many of society’s ills on the mentally ill. Racism, hatred, and lazy thinking aren’t mental illnesses. You’re right. The media wouldn’t have looked for (or even cared about) mental illness if the races were reversed.

  6. Well said. I too hope some discussion will lead to real change this time around.

  7. “Speak up even if it means offending or losing the support of family or friends. It may be hard, but isn’t it harder living in a world where horrific things of this nature happen?” This has been something I’ve had to come to terms with quite a bit lately, but it’s so true. I’m no longer willing to sit around and let people I “fear” dictate what needs to be said. Another great reminder, but horrified that it comes after another awful situation.

  8. Lovely post. I especially love what you said here:

    Speak up even if it means offending or losing the support of family or friends. It may be hard, but isn’t it harder living in a world where horrific things of this nature happen? Acts of hatred and terrorism cannot be fought by being silent or on the defense. That’s not how the world is going to change.

    well said, and nice writing!

  9. Akilah says:

    Yep. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Belle Wong says:

    Beautiful post. Especially this: “Acts of hatred and terrorism cannot be fought by being silent or on the defense. That’s not how the world is going to change.”

  11. BermudaOnion says:

    It has been a very sad week. I saw a piece today about carrying guns that said when white people do it they’re perceived as “exercising their rights,” and when black people do it they’re perceived as “criminals and thugs.” It struck me as so true and wrong and really made me angry. Keep writing posts like this.

  12. heidenkind says:

    (Hugs) You’re not the only person feeling this way. Sometimes the most important things are the most difficult to talk about. But you’re absolutely right, we need to talk about them.

  13. hurting and feeling with you

  14. dastevensish says:

    I’ve read your post four times now, hoping that I could find words to respond to such a heartbreaking, beautiful, and ultimately hopeful post. I still don’t know what to say, but I’m taking your words to heart–silence is not the answer. Sending you a million billion hugs, N.

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  17. Speak up. That is so true. I live in South Carolina, and this incident have shaken me to my core. As a high school teacher, I do everything in my power to speak and teach the truth, and to address social justice issues in my classes. This year we read Frederick Douglass, Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I feel even more committed to my work in the classroom and in my daily life. Thanks for writing this post.

  18. I have to be up front and say that I have a deep seeded insecurity of doing it wrong. That is, talking about these issues as a white woman and looking like a complete asshole or being told just to shut up about it. But, as you pointed out so eloquently in your post, we have to speak up. All of us together. I have a lot of reading to do. Thank you for the links.

  19. It’s been such a rough week. The Charleston shooting breaks my heart in so many ways, and I’ve been trying to find small good things to set against it. It’s rough. Hugs to you, Vasilly.

  20. Athira says:

    I have a few white colleagues who always speak about issues with gun culture, racism, stereotyping, intolerance. And then I have a few who laugh and joke about these subjects. The latter ones make me realize how much we have become used to the status quo. We do need to speak up, acknowledge that there is a problem, and strive to fix it. I live deep in gun country and see plenty of bias on a regular basis here.

  21. BookerTalk says:

    glad to know you’re on the mend.

  22. Like Andi said, I’m always afraid of doing it wrong. Or of not having anything of value to add to the conversation. I’m sitting up here in Wisconsin feeling so angry and shocked and wondering how in the hell things like this keep happening and happening and happening. The only thing I know to do is to keep talking about racism with my family and friends, to keep voting for people who know right from wrong, and to question everything. All the time.

    Thanks for posting this, Vasilly. It’s powerful and it’s important.

  23. Trish says:

    Thank you for posting this Natasha–like some of the others mentioned, there is a fear of doing it wrong–from coming from the side of privileged and not knowing just what to say. Honestly, I’m embarrassed because of my inability to find the words. I also appreciate the Charleston Syllabus list you provided. xo

  24. Maree says:

    Thank you Vasilly. For the post and also for the links. ❤ ❤ I'm not sure – as a middle-aged middle-class white woman who lives in a pretty privileged country can do, but I DO know I can educate myself, and I can also listen.

  25. You are right. We must not be afraid to speak up. We must not be afraid to name wrongdoing. We must not be afraid to do the right thing.

    Courage, people, courage.

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