patricia j. williams

For blacks, describing needs has been a dismal failure as political activity. It has succeeded only as a literary achievement. The history of our need is certainly moving enough to have been called poetry, oratory, epic entertainment - but it has never been treated by white institutions as the statement of a political priority. (I don’t mean to undervalue the liberating power for blacks of such poetry, oratory, and epic; my concern is the degree to which it has been compartmentalized by the larger culture as something other than political expression.) […] Even white descriptions of ‘the blues’ tend to remove the daily hunger and hurt from need and abstract it into a mood. And whoever could legislate against depression? Particularly something as rich, soulful, and sonorously productive as black depression.
—  Patricia J. Williams in The Alchemy of Race and Rights: diary of a law professor, 1991
There are moments in my life when I feel as though a part of me is missing. There are days when I feel so invisible that I can’t remember what day of the week it is, when I feel so manipulated that I can’t remember my own name, when I feel so lost and angry that I can’t speak a civil word to the people who love me best. Those are the times when I catch sight of my reflection in store windows and am surprised to see a whole person looking back. Those are the times when my skin becomes gummy as clay and my nose slides around on my face and my eyes drip down to my chin. I have to close my eyes at such times and remember myself, draw an internal picture that is smooth and whole; when all else fails, I reach for a mirror and stare myself down until the features reassemble themselves, like lost sheep.
—  Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor

이번 주 달리는 열차에서 나는

“She found herself on what she called a ‘razor’s edge’ of social consciousness - she was supposed to be enjoying the fruits of her professional success; she was, she knew, supposed to display some subtle mixture of wit, grace, and gratitude. Yet sitting at that table engaged in conversation about corporate mergers while acknowledging ‘the help’ only by the quiet sway of her body from right to left as the plates came and went, felt to her like ‘ignoring my family,’ as she put it.”

Patricia J. Williams 교수의 Seeing a Color-Blind Future 를 읽었다. 법대 교수이자 칼럼리스트이기도 한 사람의 BBC 렉쳐들을 묶은 것이라 인종 이라는 주제를 다루는 쉽지도 어렵지도 않은 술술 읽혀지는 에세이들.

요즘은 에세이 잘 쓰는 사람 보다 잘 쓰여진 에세이 가 부럽다.