‘people resist by telling their stories.’

Dear President Trump,

Things aren’t looking so good for you all and it’s clear you are up against a master tactician who you have virtually no chance of outwitting.

While we wait for things to shape up with Mueller’s investigation, I want to circle back to the Adam and Eve story because I left out the most critical (of women as well as central) part, which is when we learn Eve was persuaded by the sneaky serpent to take a bite from the forbidden fruit of knowledge, gave Adam a bite and then God expelled them from the Garden of Eden. All Eve’s fault. If she hadn’t been so stupid as to listen to the serpent or if she had kept what she learned to herself and hadn’t implicated Adam, the message is humankind would be living blissfully in Eden, our every need attended to by the almighty Father.

I would so like to be able to get inside the head(s?) of the man or men who came up with this particular creation myth. Was it in response to some other narrative that was no longer serving some faction of the community well enough? Were they aware of the crowd’s need for scapegoats and what a good idea it is to pin this role on the ones with the least status? Were they aware of how those who grow accustomed to power have deep, nostalgic longing and a righteous sense of their right to how things used to be once things start changing? Sound familiar? What was the goal in setting up the story this way? What would a creation story have been like if a woman or women had imagined it? How would things be if it were their version that got written down and passed on?

At the African American History Museum the walls are studded with beautiful quotes in bronze and there is one by bell hooks that is so important: ‘people resist by telling their stories.’ Yes.

And, clearly people can also oppress with stories and stories that start out as resistance can become oppressive and suffocating. But some of the best, most vital story telling is about resistance and it is high time those who have been shouting everyone else down close their mouths, take a deep breath, and prepare to listen because we need to hear the other stories and see what it’s like to live with them front and center rather than merely whispered at the margins.

May we all be safe to tell our stories.
May we all be happy to listen.
May we all have the ego strength to consider other points of view.
May we figure out together how to make room for us all.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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