Summer Stage #10, Friday 29 July 2016–We’re into blueberry season. In the next weeks we’ll take a day trip to South Haven, Michigan, to buy a couple more boxes–and enjoy a walk along Lake Michigan.
One question I’ll ask at the woman at the farm: “Does God still wash the blueberries?” I know she’ll answer, “Yes.” She always does. “Pop the lot in the freezer as is and enjoy them, no extra washing and drying needed,” she’ll say. You can hear God’s assertion in the tone of her voice.
I hope we get there for the final crop of the year, the sweet, tasty Burlington variety. Ah, blueberries, I rhapsodize as I eat black sweet cherries. Peaches and plums will be busting out all over, too. Still, our friend assures us that blueberries are the only fruit God intends us to eat and preserve as they come from the field. So be it. I’ll still ask the question, though.
If you get a chance to see The Man Who Knew Infinity, see it. We saw it at Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks, Michigan. Its a true story of Indian mathematics genius S. Ramanujan, told in a way that non-mathematicians can not only understand but feel the emotion.”This is not so much a film about understanding the numbers, but understanding the men who made us see their merit, and the passion that drives each of us to find the true meaning in our lives,” said Miriam Di Nunzio in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Lawrence Hill’s experience and insights help heal the racial divide
This week I read Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, by Lawrence Hill (Harper Perennial, 2001). The topic of race and racial identity seldom gets addressed in serious, thought-provoking and humorous ways, yet Hill does just that.
To the saying sometimes used by North American blacks, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” his father added the rejoinder, “But if you get too black, it ain’t no use.” Hill’s father was black, his mother white. Hill maintains that race far from solely constitutes one’s identity. Part of his research included interviews with other bi-racial people across Canada. In the Introduction he writes, “I hope that how I have come to see not only myself but the world in which I live will enrich the ways that people understand identity, and the ways that we speak to each other.” The strides North American society has made in the past 60 years cannot be erased by the still persistent overt and covert racism.
Hill divides the subject into three sections: Family Matters, Border Crossings, and Sticks and Stones. He devotes one chapter, The Question, in the latter section to what he and those he interviewed consider downright rude and inappropriate, That is asking a person of color where they are from. Since the age of about 10 he’s been repeatedly asked “‘So what are you, anyway?’ and all if its variations.” He said that asking such a question is like walking up to a stranger and asking how much money they make, how they vote, whether they believe in God, One’s identity cannot be boiled down to race, he said. One interviewee told him: “They are not coming from a position of intelligence, asking those questions. . . . They’re operating from a position of belligerent white privilege, and they don’t have to look at stuff and think about stuff. So they ask these reckless questions.”
In the final chapter Hill said he’s pitching out, “the language that has guided and misinformed and indeed blinded our thinking for four centuries. Mulatto? Quadroon? Octoroon? One-quarter black? Half black? All black? Black in this knee but white in the other? These terms I toss out the window, . . . I am black because I say so, because I feel it, know it, and own it, It is not the only thing I am. I am allowed to be a few other things as well. Human is a good starting point.”
I’ve previously read Hill’s The Book of Negros and look forward to reading others. He helps us see what it means and takes to be part of the human race.
The Elkhart County 4-H Fair
We spent a few hours at the fair on Tuesday. It’s big, bold, and the week’s hottest thing around.
Delighted to see a butterfly among other sights on one of our walks
An august August to you.