Happy New Year!
In January, 89% of Wine Country Books sales were military history books. H’m, wonder what social currents are at play at this time? Train! Prepare! Be ready!
Our first sale of February is a book of essays analyzing the way African Americans have historically been portrayed in photography.
‘Tis the season when we remember that the history and current reality of our nation, our communities, our personal lives, rests on rather poor representation for Americans who did not win the demographic lottery.
One of the low risk – high yield things we can do to ease the divisions and harm done in American society is actively seek out narratives from people we don’t hear from or see much in mainstream media.
It goes hand in hand with doing the headcount, another easy step those of us distressed about injustice can take to start getting acquainted with the who what why.
Caveat! Diversity does NOT mean equality. I am just talking about gathering information over time.
I know the in-person headcount is kind of tough when many of us live in bubbles of people pretty much exclusively just like us. That is our bellwether that something is wrong.
Perhaps we have “that one friend” or coworker who is in a wheelchair, or aged, or of African or other nonwhite descent, or dealing with loss, chronic illness, mental health issues, gay, name it. Here’s why this is not as helpful as we might think. That one unique person cannot, does not, and probably is sick to death of people asking / expecting them to, embody or speak for the experience of the larger group.
Perhaps we were raised to see people as people. Perhaps we ourselves have struggled with poverty, with abuse by institutions or persons of power in our lives, or even attack or abuse by people from one of those groups. But humanity is humanity, and we have forgotten that, somehow, and regressed into biologically programmed behaviors without examining those behaviors’ impact on ourselves and those in other walks of life.
So you can do the headcount in a low risk, high yield way, too.
Begin to notice – how much of the news and entertainment we consume features authors, characters, or narratives about and created by people who are different from us?
If a particular group- people over 50. Women (in leadership roles or college or pro athletics, this is big). People of native, indigenous, African or Latin descent. People with chronic illness, a difference in processing or physical difference, differently oriented people- is x% of the population of a city or state or nation, shouldn’t they be getting, at minimum, x% of representation, jobs, publication, money in the media we consume, the people we hire, the people we elect to represent us, the businesses we buy from?
It takes time to absorb. And it is easy to misstep. This is because cognitive dissonance – constantly moving goalposts regarding okay / not okay, constant difference between the dominant narrative and what individuals experience – is the rule, the very foundation of American society for so long. Divided, a few of us stand and thrive, and the rest of us fall. And some of us have been falling generation after generation after generation.
Watch. Read. Notice. Question- do your research. You’d be surprised how much you can learn just by typing your question into Google. I got the best stuff, for example, when I typed in “Why aren’t these jokes funny?”
Synthesize or assimilate information for yourself. Take your time. Best wishes and happy reading.