A reader writes:
I read Jan Grave’s self-pitying essay on "the Anti-Racist White Movement" in Seattle but I pretty much gave up after this choice bit describing young African-American men who choose to walk in the center of the street and ignore the attempts of motorists to get them to move out of the way: "Honking was an attempt to reassert privilege." Oh please. Honking was an attempt to get these idiots to stop walking in the middle of the street and blocking the flow of car traffic. Why does a city have sidewalks, for the sweet love of Christ?
Graves equates this walking in the street to the "loping" that African-Americans habitually did in the Deep South and which they brought with them to Seattle in the migration of the 1950s. Thus, I guess, it should be preserved and respected by tremulous whites as some sort of cultural touchstone rather than the inconvenience, lack of regard for others, and evidence of failure to adapt to the circumstances of Northern urban life that it clearly represents.
Jan Graves drips with whining self-hatred for her damnable whiteness. Really, she struck me as an almost laughable caricature of a super sensitive, desperately earnest, white suburban liberal trying to "do the right thing". I thought we left that stereotype behind in the '70s!