Hi friends! Wow. I don’t know about you but full transparency: I am burned out. I am completely fried. I am crispy and my brain is ashes. I am amazed I’m getting anything done at all. If you’re feeling this way too, I see you and I hear you. I have no idea what to do about it. I mean, I have some ideas from this book, which I might need to give another reread, but also, I’m not going to self-care or long-weekend or therapy my way out of capitalism and white supremacy.
What I’ve pinpointed for myself lately, too, is that I think a lot of my burnout is not only the sheer amount of things I’ve been doing but also I’m finally run down by the sameness of it all. Nicole asked me what I wanted for dinner the other evening and I almost burst into tears, whining, “But we just ate dinner LAST night!” I know I’m craving novelty, and the other day we took a break from work in the middle of the day and went to Marcus Books and I was in a great mood for the rest of the day. We’re taking another day off soon, which isn’t a weekend or holiday, so we’re working on some ideas of what to do. They don’t have to be extravagant things. I think we’re going to try an ice cream shop in SF that I’ve had my eyes on, and maybe go to a store that sells fountain pens (which we also have not been to).
All this to say that even those of us who seem really on top of things are having a rough time and if you identify with this, just know you are not alone.
It’s a resource week! I’ll get to it after this photo of some of my favorite socks (a gift from one of my cousins):
Last year around this time I reached out to my healthcare provider to start the process of getting set up with a therapist. I met with an intake person over a video call and they were like, “Okay, the first time someone can see you is July and in the meantime you can join our African American Wellness group that meets for 8 weeks.” I certainly was not going to wait five months to talk to a professional so I worked that out elsewhere. I did try the group, though, and they shared the site with the slides we went over. Of course, the most valuable part of the group was the group itself and that is all confidential; however, I did ask if I could share the site as a resource and they said yes so here you go! Your mileage may vary.
If you’re thinking about starting therapy, don’t forget about my huge therapy resource list.
Full disclosure: I am very close to full-on having a meltdown over the book bans. I’m unfortunately really good at compartmentalizing a lot of shit but this? This is getting to me.
My Book Riot colleague Kelly Jensen has been doing a phenomenal job of covering the book bans and offering resources and I wanted to make sure I shared them here.
If you’re a person who uses Instagram, Kelly also has a great post and you should give her a follow:
This book absolutely blew my mind. Wilkerson examines the social hierarchies that exist in the U.S., such as race and class, through the lens of a caste system: the insidious underlying system of hierarchy that uses socially constructed identifiers like race, class, and so forth to maintain the privilege of those at the top and to keep those at the bottom, well, at the bottom. This book shows that if the caste systems of the United States, India, and nazi Germany were to be in a Venn Diagram, the diagram would practically be a circle.
I’d heard for years that the original nazis in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s had studied Jim Crow laws in America and it’s where they got some of their most disgusting and depraved ideas. I’d heard this, but I didn’t know the details. Readers: this book gives details, even details about the things done here in the U.S. that the nazis thought were “too extreme.” Yes, some facets and views of white supremacists in the U.S. were “too extreme” for the nazis. Wilkerson goes into horrifying detail about violence and lynchings and abuse so major content warnings there.
She writes about what she calls the Eight Pillars of Caste, those things that need to exist to uphold this framework. Things such as the idea of heritability, that your caste is determined by your family. Also an idea of purity versus pollution and certain groups being inherently superior versus the inherent inferiority of other groups.
While this book taught me a lot about history, this is not a history book. This is an examination of a still existing framework in which we live that affects everything from the media we consume to the healthcare we do or do not receive with the punishments and backlash that happen when someone dares to try to step out of the caste system, or do something above their perceived caste.
This book is a harrowing and necessary read to understand race in America.
That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you want me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.
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