I decided to post the things I wrote in class today.
My familial history?
I carry two kinds of history in my blood. First, there is the history from my mother. I used to think that this history happily began and ended in the crunchy, green enclave that is Berkeley, California, but our history is also Southern and WASPy. My mom’s family came from England many generations ago. There were plantations and there were slaves. My Cousin Jimmy is a genealogist. He has replicas of the mansions our ancestors lived in on display in his house. Through the generations this side of my family must have lost their wealth because my mother grew up on food stamps in Eugene, Oregon.
Second, there is the history from my father. This is the history of Eastern European Jews who sought refuge from Russian Pogroms in America. The children and grandchildren of these immigrants--my grandparents--grew up in New York, muscled their way through admissions quotas at Harvard and Radcliffe, and became academics.
There is more history. I am a big sister, and my little sister and I do not have the same mother. Her mother immigrated to America from Guyana with her family when she was five, I think. They brought their music with them--my little sister already bangs away at the steel pan. Their history is also religious and racial. My sister’s grandparents are Catholic, and we are not the same color. In some ways, we are on opposite sides of this world’s painfully persistent history of racial persecution. In other ways, we are not.
My family has not “worked with the land” in many, many generations.
How was I socialized?
First, my parents and grandparents socialized me at the dinner table. They indoctrinated me into their liberal, wealthy, and pedigreed ways. Later, I went to school. My parents picked a public school in the middle of the projects. This was where I learned about racism. My mom says that I would come home and ask ceaseless questions about why my school worked the way it did. I wanted to know why there were only white kids in gifted, why my teachers let the black kids get away with stuff, and why all the kids who walked to school were black. I don’t remember how my parents answered my questions.
What do I want for my children?
I want my children to live in the world that they will/must create.
Name for this?