I went to an English department gathering last night in celebration of "Into the Briar Patch: A Family Memoir," a new book by Mariann S. Regan, Emerita Professor of English at Fairfield University, who explored her ancestors' slaveholder past. She traveled to her southern ancestry to uncover her family's involvement with issues of slavery and a racial past, trying to rectify her position as a professor at a religious institution and how her role intertwines with the story of America and many of its ugly truths.
Truth is, the majority of people who write, read, and publish benefited from the foundation created on the oppression of others. To have this ability is a privilege.
I think it is interesting that almost of every success story has its intricacies in exploitive and tricky pasts. Higher education, after all, can only remain an ivory tower because others are kept suppressed. The event was well done and I applaud my colleague's accomplishment - especially on a topic that is not always easy to digest. As I have often taught, every word a writer composes is often a result of the many unwritten narratives not fortunate enough to have the textual power to express themselves. Herein, perhaps, lies the 21s century snafu.