I have a ton of conflicted feelings about this piece.
It starts off with Cleavon in 1955 when he’s only ten years old. He’s at a funeral of a friend who was shot by a white man.
The second part takes place in 1975.
And so on until it ends in 2025. Each section is another snapshot of Cleavon’s life and focuses on times of injustice, racial bias, and systemic racism. All these issues are worth writing about and must be addressed in realism as well as genre. But my conflicting feelings focus on the fact that this piece was written by a white person, imagining what the black American experience might be like. While I don’t think any writer should shy away from a topic due to fear, I do think it’s imperative for a writer who is not part of that culture/experience to represent it in a realistic manner. While Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a reputable author who has won a collection of awards, I think she took a risk on this piece. It’s not that she wrote a piece with a black main character, it’s that the subject matter is: what it’s like to be black in evolving (or devolving) the USA.
It’s a slippery slope and doesn’t know if she has the right to take space up that would be otherwise left to those who live this experience rather than imagine it.
Welcome and congratulations from the Seattle Tennis Club. You are now one of us; part of an exclusive, prestigious, and historically great institution. Now, as excited as you are to hit the courts, grab a coffee from the cafe, or stop in at our pro shop, there guidelines of etiquette that are actually more like rules, or laws. If you break a guideline, rule, or law, you will be asked to leave and only return when you can follow the guideline, rule or law you have broken. Like the country itself we operate on a three-strike system, no this isn’t the Seattle Baseball Club you’ve come to on accident, no, we believe in fair, but swift justice. If you are in violation of three guidelines, rules, or laws while a Seattle Tennis Club member, you’ll be asked to leave. If you are asked to leave, before you go a nondisclosure agreement must be signed, there’s no use in exclusivity if everyone knows your secrets. If you break the nondisclosure agreement you may face fines, civil lawsuits, or even jail time.
Prerequisite Guidelines: If you do not meet these simple standards you are no longer eligible for the Seattle Tennis Club.
- Car: You’re car must be a minimum of sixty thousand dollars, Blue Book value. If your care dips below this Blue Book evaluation, you have precisely one month to upgrade. If you do not, or can not upgrade, a strike will be held against you and your membership will be suspended indefinitely. No one will use your name, nor acknowledge your existence in any way. You will no longer be part of the Seattle Tennis Club. Once you have upgraded your membership will be reactivated on a probationary status.
- Probationary Status:
- Speak when spoken to.
- Ball-boy when told.
- Fetch coffees and other refreshments when told.
- Only engage in Tennis matches with others on probation, or if another member specifically asks you.
Your probationary status will last until the community seeks to promote you. Average length of probation: 1.2 years.
- White: Not only must you wear white and collard shirt, but you must be white at all times. At no time can you wear any colored shirts, shorts, or shoes. At no time should you bring any person of a minority, racial, social, or economically inclined. If you do you will have one strike against you and be put on probationary status.
- Age: You must be old. Age isn’t necessarily how long you’ve lived. Instead it’s the way in which you live your life. Be old with these steps:
- Wake no earlier than 6am and go to sleep no later than 10pm.
- Watch no less than 1 hour of Fox News each night. Watch no more than 3 hours of any other programming.
- Never look for alternative news sources. To avoid this avoid using computers, smartphones and other mobile devices completely.
- You must have graying, gray, or white hair.
If any of these guidelines, rules, or laws are violated by yourself or guests you have claimed responsibility for, a strike will be given against you and you will be put on probationary status.