June 2020   

On Being Privileged


   Over the last few years, I've become aware of how much I (as a middle-aged white woman living in a mostly white community) privilege I have, without even realizing it. That knowledge was brought into stark focus last week, when our home (along with 7 others) lost water for several days. We are on a well, and the pump broke. Replacement parts didn't come until 48 hours later, and so our household became a Third World Country for almost 4 days. Although we had plenty of bottled water, electricity and plenty of food (plus a friend who cooked us 3 days of meals), but we couldn't wash our hands. The dirty dishes filled the dishwasher and then both sinks, and I ended up buying paper plates out of desperation.
   Suddenly we were in the same boat as the millions of Americans who do not have indoor plumbing. I found, as time went on, that it was increasingly hard to concentrate on anything. I had to go to my daughter's house (a 40 minute drive away) to take a shower. And my husband and son (both disabled) were stuck at home. 
   We have water again, which is a real relief. But I won't soon forget what it felt like to be without. I think of Flint, Michigan (57% black), that has been without safe drinking water SINCE 2014. I think of all the Indian reservations who are massively impacted by Covid-19. There is no reason - in a country as rich as this one is supposed to be - why anyone should have to live under these conditions.

What I've Been Doing
*   Incorporating more records and resources for African-American, Native American, and Asian-American people into my presentations and writing.
*  Analyzing a friend's Ancestry DNA and doing African-American research
*  Reading (and being outraged by) articles such as these: "A White Woman, Racism, and a Poodle" (which takes place in my beloved Michigan).
*  And this one: "2020 is the Summer of the Road Trip. Unless You're Black."
*   And this one, from the Board for Certification of Genealogists: "Genealogy Ethics and the Call for Diversity"
*  And this one: An entire Manhattan village owned by black people (including 3 churches) was destroyed to create Central Park
*   Joined a Facebook group of genealogists discussing racism and how to overcome it

* And most importantly, reading a document called "Genealogy and Anti-Racism: A Resource for White People"

What I'm Reading
   I love old journals and collections of letters, and when I read a review in the Times Literary Supplement of Love in the Blitz, I snapped it up. (I've bought more books in the last 3 months than all of last year). The introduction calls these letters "vibrant, intimate, joyous, dark, angry, generous and very, very funny by turns", and I look forward to reading them!

  Let it be noted that I have also recently gotten White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism and Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
In the News
  The Michigan History Conference has gone virtual - and registration is only $25! 

Paula Stuart-Warren teaches a virtual class on Researching U.S. Government Records

A chart to help you watch for media bias

The blog of the National Archives explains many of the tools you can access online

A long-lost manuscript contains an eyewitness account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

Palm Coast author solves a mystery about a 160 year old painting of Pocahontas
Upcoming (Online) Presentations
DNA News

 A new genealogy TV program that I have been watching, The Genetic Detective, has 3 episodes available, with 3 more to come!

Ancestry DNA tests are on sale for $59 plus shipping for Father's Day. FamilyTreeDNA has sales, as well.

23andMe provides evidence that blood type matters in Covid-19
And now, something light-hearted to make you laugh - a virtual choir singing about the pandemic!
Our daughter Stacy was interviewed by a reporter with the Seattle Times, for a feature article giving encouragement to the 2020 graduating class!!
Read my past newsletters (July 2016 - May 2020) here
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