The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.
Scott Woods (via newwavefeminism)
The 14,000 members of this Association, however, know that revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship.

History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past.

Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time.

There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning.

The unending quest of historians for understanding the past—that is, “revisionism”—is what makes history vital and meaningful. Without revisionism, we might be stuck with the images of Reconstruction after the American Civil War that were conveyed by D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation and Claude Bowers’s The Tragic Era. Were the Gilded Age entrepreneurs “Captains of Industry” or “Robber Barons”?

Without revisionist historians who have done research in new sources and asked new and nuanced questions, we would remain mired in one or another of these stereotypes.

James M. McPherson (Princeton Univ.), president of the American Historical Association, 2003. (via medievalpoc)

I was thinking about this quote when I reblogged the post from katelliottsff using the phrase “Restorative History” as a response to the negative associations we’ve built around the phrase “Revisionist History”.

If you read the linked article, it goes into how revision/revisionist has acquired a pejorative meaning, and why this is a bad thing. Too many people have been erased, maligned, and demonized by the popular-cultural-consciousness version of European and American history.

I like the idea of restoring the missing or twisted narratives, although the process of doing so remains a revision process; a re-writing and critical analysis of what currently exists. After all the only way to grow and change as a society is to take another look at what we “know” to be true and why/how we know it.

(via medievalpoc)
A savvy young friend of mine pushed me to launch a Tumblr page because my fourth book was coming out and she believed it would expose me to a new audience, which is exactly the right reason to do it. And I had a bunch of pictures from Mardi Gras parades I wanted to post somewhere, which, as it turns out, is also exactly the right reason to do it. Three months later I have close to two thousand followers and I am consistently impressed with how easy it is to post content, expose myself to new ideas, and become a part of the larger conversation.

Jami AttenbergHow to Use Tumblr to Connect With Readers 

Retro year-old followers numbers, but still the right reasons.

(via rachelfershleiser)



This 1928 NYPL overdue book slip was miraculously discovered in the 1980s during the construction of the Tenement Museum. The Museum kept the card on display, stating that the title of the book on the card is “one of the great mysteries, we unfortunately do not know.” That is, until yesterday, when the Museum turned to Twitter for help deciphering the handwriting. Within a few hours, the mystery was solved. The book, which may have never been returned, was Israel by by Ludwig Lewisohn. A great example of the power of social media.