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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas
Jules Verne
The Spirit of the Border
Zane Grey
Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)
Beverly Cleary
The Underground Man (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Ross Macdonald
Delilah of the Snows
Harold Bindloss
Mrs. Miniver
Jan Struther
Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)
Maud Hart Lovelace
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace

The Ways of White Folks: Stories

The Ways of White Folks: Stories - Langston Hughes Well, this isn't the book I thought I was getting. I thought I was going to read a semi-autobiographical story of a young, African-American man's growing up in Kansas. My mother grew up in Kansas about the same time, so I was interested in one of those compare and contrast kinds of thingies.

But, I goofed up. This particular book is a collection of short stories that deals with the interactions of black and white people back in the days of Jim Crow and long before any significant civil rights movement. I generally try to avoid short stories, but this collection was well worth reading. Basically, it describes the strange ways in which "white folks" interact with non-white folks, non-white by dint of having some African-American ancestry.

The ways of white folks in the 30s weren't all that different from their ways in the 1950s and 60s, when I was growing up. Actually, they're still not all that different in the 21st century in some ways, although some of the more overt oppression has been muted. But we still have plenty of white folks who actively try to suppress non-white folks (race-targeted voter suppression, maintenance of segregated communities with concomitant lack of access to decent education and health care, etc.). Then, we still have the "better class" of white folks who patronize the non-white folks, and/or find their alleged primitivism amusing, but don't give them credit for being able to have "proper" opinions and preferences. A sad commentary on us all.

“the ways of white folks, I mean some white folks, is too much for me. I reckon they must be a few good ones, but most of ’em ain’t good—leastwise they don’t treat me good. And Lawd knows, I ain’t never done nothin’ to ’em, nothin’ a-tall.”