Volume 1, Resources 3: WorldCat & So You Want to Talk About Race

This issue of Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice is for everyone. Please feel free to share it!

Hi Friends! Wow I am exhausted. We have been out late multiple nights in the past week. By late, I mean, like, getting home anywhere between 10pm and Midnight. I usually take my meds at 8pm and I’m in bed by 9pm and then lights out by 10pm. I am a grandpa and I have no shame.

But we were out for very, very good reasons.

Last Friday, we went to the 35th Anniversary Tour of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. They showed the movie and Paul Reubens then appeared on stage and told stories about the making of the film, including a slide show. One of my favorite parts was that they played MTV footage from the movie premier and the after party. It was from a time when celebrities didn’t have publicists so holy shit were they all on A LOT of drugs while on camera. It was amazing.

Last Saturday we had the experience of a lifetime. We went to John Cameron Mitchell’s Origin of Love Tour. It’s the 25th(?) anniversary of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was fucking phenomenal. John Cameron Mitchell performed as Hedwig for some of the show and told stories about the creation of the show. When he mentioned that David Bowie saw the show and went backstage afterward and said, “You got it right, John,” it took everything in me to keep from sobbing. And oh, he crowdsurfed right over us OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

This past Tuesday we went to see Hamilton. I won tickets. It was our third time seeing it but our first time seeing it in San Francisco.

What I’m trying to say is: A BITCH IS TIRED.

But I’m really, really fucking excited to share today’s resources with you all so let’s get to it!

Resource 1: WorldCat.org

I know I really should do a post about you needing to use the library BUT, that’s for future Patricia to deal with. Present Patricia wants to tell you about WorldCat.org.

The short version: It’s a one-stop shop to search all the library catalogs in the world. Well, many of them, anyway. So, you can enter the title of a book (or DVD or CD or journal article), then click on the one you want to locate. Then, you can enter your zipcode and it will tell you all the libraries near you that have it, including university libraries.

I’m telling you this because when I recommend a book as a resource (literally the 2nd resource in today’s issue), I’m going to link it to WorldCat so you can find it for free. I’ll also put links for you to buy it, but I always want to make sure that the resources I offer can be accessed for free.

Ohe of the other neat things about WorldCat is that you can make a free account and then make lists. Basically a bibliography on whatever you want and each thing is linked so that the person reading the list can find it in a library. I’ve not done this (yet) but here’s one with Perspectives on Gender and Music and another with some Stephen Sondheim goodies and by “goodies” I mean books and dissertations.

Resource 2: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

My mom, who is Filipino and white, said to me the other day, “I hear what you say and I read what you write. What can I do to be a better ally to other races? Where do I even start?”

First of all, I’m really proud of my mom for asking. I know many people who, especially when it comes to non-Black people having mixed Black kids or having a Black partner or spouse or family member think they know everything about race. As I’ve said to such people, “Um, you’re not Black by injection. You aren’t Black by proximity.” 

I know my mom’s question was casting an even wider net for information but the first resource I have given her is Ijeoma Oluo’s book, So You Want to Talk About Race. I’ve read it both in eBook form as well as audiobook and it was super helpful both times.

I think one of the most important things the author does is give you permission to fuck it up. Like, none of us is perfect when it comes to talking about race and it’s even harder when it’s in a super-charged moment or interaction. Ijeoma Oluo did so much labor for all of us in her writing of this book. It will answer most of your questions on how to speak up on behalf of me and the other people of color in your life, whether that be friends, family, or yourself. She gives footnotes. She has done her due diligence. She puts it in language that is easy to understand while the subject is heavy.

After reading it twice, I’ve actually drawn my own boundary and will mostly refuse to engage in conversations about race unless the other party has first read this book. It’s already labor for people of color to talk about race and constantly educate so the best thing that others can first do is to learn some stuff on your own.

If you want to hear me talk about this book in more detail, check out this podcast.

If you want to read the book yourself, find it for free at a library or purchase it from an independent bookstore. The second one is an affiliate link, btw.

That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this free resource email, feel free to give me a tip!

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