Saturday, October 27, 2012

SKIN by A.P. Brooks

Sending this one off with a wing and a prayer...A.P. did research at the Archives where my husband works. When her book was released, we got an email. I had been meaning to read it for a long time. I had a friend coming round who I wanted to pass it on to, so I read it this morning. It was very good, to me. History that reported what went on without the benefit of rose-colored glasses. History from the peoples' perspective, from an archeological perspective, rather than that of the "victor". Some say History is written by the victors.  No's written from the heart of a woman wise enough to see the truth, and how it affects those who may survive and thrive despite man's inhumanity to man.  It also is a book of hope.

Snip from her facebook page, hope she'll forgive me

From Amazon:

Right after I got done reading it,  I sent my own "review" to the author, and I think it gives a good synopsis, a good idea of what you might find.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

My husband, a historian, says history is written from the victors point of view, somewhat cynically.  That is not what Peggy Brooks has done.  She has written a historical, research based study from the point of view of an anthropologist, a gifted writer, a fact-checking reporter, a teacher, a preacher, and anything BUT that romanticized nationalist who gives us heroes to worship, rather than expose the misguided notions of one's own people.  She sets up a curious idea of how we have gotten to where we are without romanticizing. I've always had it in my mind that we Europeans (okay, my people were Normans) are only a few centuries removed from barbarians, where as African tradition is much, much older. I was able to read about power under the guise of religion, the near decimation of a people by a virus carried by fleas, about a rabid racist who under the guise of science was instrumental in bringing out the notion of only allowing the fit to survive. (Hitler took the thought a step farther, to deed.) She exposes the southern mentality among the privileged class that allowed them to deny their hypocrisy, while becoming the richest part of the new country absolutely dependent for their lifestyle on the free labor of slaves.  Most interestingly, she delves into the notion that the British people rose up like a Phoenix from barbarians to world conquerors in the space of four centuries and through 2 world wars, have bankrupted themselves back into relative obscurity in comparison.

The history of African Americans and other "conquered people" is covered extensively in the last part of the book, from selective capture of slaves based on their occupations in their homelands, to the help of slaves in turning the tide of the Civil War, to an ignorant man's  "science" of race, and to the ultimate expression of false superiority based on lies in the Holocaust.  After all that ugliness, it ends in the hope that we can leave behind our violent past, and truly evolve to a people who live up to the ideals we were founded upon, and that our faith will guide us to evolve.


God love her, and you all, but if you don't mind, you might read the book and post on it, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Odds and ends...dyslexia and autism  

Kyra tells a tale of growing and her Aspergers's son. My favorite line?

And an open heart is the wisest mind we have.

You GO Girl!!!

Next, Dr. Naomi (Nim) Folb, in the UK.  She planted the seed that dyslexics (somewhat like autistics) think in pictures. The lot of labelled kids may be no more than right-brained thinkers.  Simarly to the left-handed, sinister children of the last century, we are trying, by drugs and therapies, to tie their right minds behind their back so they can be normal, that ever elusive medical model of health.

She leads with wisdom, too.

Which all remind me of the words of Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry .  I remember reading The Little Prince up on the roof of our family home. (I was sun-tanning. Why I remember this, heavens knows.) These words just reverberated, so 30 years later when I was beginning my work as a teacher in a special needs classroom I used them on the blackboard to remind me:

"It’s only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
It's amazing the difference it made in how I saw the kids.  I wish I could put into words their worthiness, while in the world's eyes they were seen as imperfect, money wasted on teaching them as they would never be "productive" citizens. Good God, they were the teachers!!!