There are no excuses…forced, non-negotiated sexual encounters are repugnant. Promises of career advancement or threats of career derailment used as a weapon in a war of desire, are repugnant. All such behaviors are repugnant. What about lesser transgressions?
Wild River, recently available on pay-per-view, centers around the gang rape-murder of a young Native American woman on a Wyoming reservation.
In our numbed reactions to constant mass shootings we’re pulled into tracking which ideological side has produced more homicidal maniacs. Our wish to absolve ourselves of responsibility hints that we’re feeling it in some way. The inkling of collective guilt we get when confronted by news of horrific violence isn’t right on exactly, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s a complement to empathy. We wish we could do something. At the same time we unconsciously wonder at what we did. Unexamined and then repressed this anxiety may, in turn, devolve to a less than humane rush to determine a shooter’s race or politics—a habit of mind we’d all be better off ditching.
Imagine that you are writing a book which opens with your central character, “a powerful, 6’2″, finely dressed man of proud stature and handsome face,” leaping “like a lion” from a bus to save a woman from two knife-wielding thugs. Imagine that, within the next page, you have further described your protagonist as “a musician, and artist… quick in mind and step… (with) an unusual grace of movement… magnetic charm,” and a “creamy” skinned Afro-American, bearing a “noteworthy resemblance” to Clark Gable.
Imagine that your book is a first-person narrative, whose central character is describing himself.
What follows is an excerpt from the late Stuart Hall’s Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands (2017). First is posting it with the permission of Duke University press which holds the copyright.