171. READ.LOOK.THINK.

Everything you'd expect from a READ.LOOK.THINK. inc. Alan Hollinghurst's new Instagram AND how your donation can directly help black people in the UK access psychotherapy from black practitioners.

Ballerinas Kennedy George, 14, left, and Ava Holloway, 14, pose in front of a monument of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. 📷 Julia Rendleman.

Dear friends,

At the end of this email I will be inviting you to donate to an important cause: Black Minds Matter (UK). Stay tuned for more info below.

READ.

“I once said to Dr. F that if I had been able to see one day of life in my fifties when I first entered his office, I wouldn’t have had to go through so much anguish and peril along the way. He replied that if I hadn’t gone through so much anguish and peril along the way, I wouldn’t have ended up with the life I had.”

"There was no learning in my house. Not even talk of it. Anything you knew you picked up on your own. This included cooking — which meant no cooking. I never had a meal with my parents. My parents had a separate entrance, a different dining and living room. We were never permitted to use the front door of my home. This suited us fine. We hated them; they hated us."

"I reminded myself that I was there only to listen. Just listen. The man was deeply earnest and obviously felt helpless about the uncertainty of his son’s future. But it couldn’t be too dismal if Yale was still an option. Don’t think, I reminded myself. Know what it is to parent. Know what it is to love. Know what it is to be white. Know what it is to expect what white people have always had. Know what it is to resent. Is that unfair? Resentment has no home here. Know what it is to be white. Is that ungenerous? I don’t know. Don’t think." Claudia Rankine wanted to know what white men thought about their privilege. So she asked.

Two novels I've been gripped by: Rodham! Rainbow Milk! Excited to read The Children's Bible. Enjoying Ramble Book on audio.

"Twenty years ago, Bernardine Evaristo visualised winning the Booker Prize. She had been taking upbeat American-style personal development classes, and decided to set herself what seemed like an impossible goal..." A great profile.

"...a game where writers of color, LGBTQ writers, women writers, are told to write as white men in order to succeed, and thus are set up to fail. While white men are allowed to write what they think the stories of these people are, and are told it is their right. This game is over."

Finding solace in diaries written in adversity.

"I was so much like [Conversation with Friends'] Frances, but it was not because I was vain or self-obsessed. It was because I had learned that acutely interpreting external cues and responding to them accordingly is the best way to survive." On Sally Rooney's engagement with trauma.


LOOK.

Portrait of a soldier, 1945, by Robert Smullyan Sloan (1915-2013). In the Fogg Museum, Cambridge MA.
May 30, 2020

Urgent! Alan Hollinghurst is on Instagram: @alanjhollinghurst. | I don't know what I thought Helena Bonham Carter was like but I loved this podcast interview with her. | Jennifer Egan and Susan Choi are having trouble concentrating on their novels too. (Bookable podcast.) | Does anyone remember when Jarvis Cocker used to read stories on his MySpace (lol)? I love his voice. Jarvis Cocker reads Alan Garner. | Nigel Slater's garden bless up!

"The house, which dates from 1620, was immortalised as Alconleigh in Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. Fans of the 1945 novel will be thrilled to learn that the ‘Hons’ cupboard’ remains intact at the top of the backstairs, as hot as ever, its slatted shelving still piled with laundry." Asthall Manor.

“It was so crazy to go from the pandemic thinking of ‘We cannot be near each other’ to ‘I must help this person who is screaming in pain by pouring water into their eyes.’” Amazing Grub Street Diet by artist and protester Stephanie H. Shih. | Someone at the Whitechapel Gallery has done a brilliant job compiling films, documentaries and other resources that amplify marginalised voices and shed light on systemic racism.

Self-portraits by a mother and daughter only seventeen years apart. | My friend Lisa's film Days of the Bagnold Summer is streaming everywhere except Netflix! We saw it in the cinema and Jude cried!


THINK.

Relationship conflict during Covid: “Fight from a place of enlightened self-interest […] not just to get it out of your system. To get it out of your system, call your friends. Vent as much as you want. And then go back to your partner and be strategic about it. Because you don’t just want to get it out of your system. You actually want a change.”

Schools as "brick parent" — how schools, once reopened, can help children heal from the disruption (and in some cases, trauma) of coronavirus. | Coronavirus flourishes in countries run by “illiberal populists.” | "This virus is the opportunity that we were waiting for: the accident that makes possible a much needed reset of the global machine.” Bifo.

“Just try to be decent.” Intensely fascinating exploration of Trump's collaborators and how they justify supporting him. | “Above all, the thrall in which an ideology holds a people is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives.” | My biggest fear isn’t that Trump will win the next election, it's that the election won't be held at all.

Not only is [Ms Abrams] not interested in being coy, she said she had an obligation to do the opposite. “As a young black girl growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if I didn’t speak up for myself, no one else would.” Coyness about being VP is over.

Why simplicity is at the root of most policy failures.


Black Lives Matter.

"You learn to perform harmlessness, not as a way of selling yourself out—though it often feels like that—but as an attempt at heading off a conflict that seems to always be brewing. You learn—or, at least I, a black, cisgender man, learned—that there will be moments, random and unbidden, where to save your life you must convince a stranger that you are in some amorphous way good. And at the same time you learn that it probably will not make a difference."

What is an anti-racist reading list for? | The damage inflicted by white onlookers. | White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not.

"Abolition means not just the closing of prisons but the presence, instead, of vital systems of support that many communities lack. Instead of asking how, in a future without prisons, we will deal with so-called violent people, abolitionists ask how we resolve inequalities and get people the resources they need long before the hypothetical moment when, as [Ruth Wilson] Gilmore puts it, they 'mess up.'" | "Open a local daily paper, and you’ll get a sense of a city under siege. Crime has declined drastically in the last two decades, but newspapers are still doing what they’ve always done: covering crime." Down with the daily crime story.

Racism is a hardy virus that will adapt to the body politic that it’s inGary Younge.

America.

Of course there are protests. The state is failing black people. | A glorious, poetic rage. (This time is different. Here's why.) | "Riots are not only the voice of the unheard, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said; they are the rowdy entry of the oppressed into the political realm. They become a stage of political theatre where joy, revulsion, sadness, anger, and excitement clash wildly in a cathartic dance. They are a festival of the oppressed." | "We have a reliance in this country on asymmetrical displays that allow us to dwell in, and never penetrate beyond, the level of the cultural."

Australia.

432 indigenous Australians have died in police custody since 1991. | We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country. | Black liberation in Australia: the time is here to be on the right side of history. | Australian Bla(c)k Lives Matter allies resource sharing doc. | Indigenous organisations to donate to or otherwise support. I donated to the Aboriginal Legal Service, providing legal services to Indigenous people since 1970. And on the advice of Frances Grant, I also donated to Sisters Inside. "At Sisters Inside, we believe that no one is better than anyone else. People are neither "good" nor "bad" – our environment and life circumstances play a major role in how we behave. Improved opportunities can lead to a major transformation in criminalised women's lives."

UK.

"History is cyclical. We must prepare ourselves for the moment – it might be next week or next month – when white people begin to lose interest, again, in anti-racism." The history of anti-racist organising in the UK. And in Gal-Dem again, a detailed survey of what Black British activism looks like in 2020. (Gal-Dem is committed to telling the stories of women and non-binary people of colour. Join and pay forward a membership for someone who can’t afford one.)

Put Britain's colonial history on the curriculum – then we’ll understand who we really are.

Important.

The mental health effects of racism are well known. As the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said, racism causes profound feelings of pain, harm and humiliation which damages life chances and leads to exclusion and despair. While I'm privileged to not experience racism, I personally know the value of psychotherapy when dealing with grief and pain. What I’m asking you to do today, if you have the means, is to help black people in the UK access psychotherapy from black practitioners. This is the mission of Black Minds Matter.

Since launching less than two weeks ago, they have already fundraised enough to provide 400+ twelve week courses of psychotherapy. They say: “This is a state of emergency for black people’s wellbeing and we need your support.” This is the link to donate to Black Minds Matter: DONATE.

(I absolutely know that many of you will have carefully researched your own donations. But I also know that it can be confusing to work out where best to put your money. So if you’ve been wondering, or you have some more to spare, this is my recommendation.)

If you can donate please do, and when you do, share the link to Black Minds Matter or tag them on Instagram @blackmindsmatter.uk. (They are also on Facebook.) If you share it in stories on IG, send it to me or tag me @dailydoseofjess and I will share it too.

You might wonder what the point is in sharing your donation when everyone you know is on the same page about racism. But everyone is at a different point on their political journey. You could be someone's most radical friend. Post for that person.

X Jess