(Left: though this is specifically AAUW, it's representative of the other groups I'm in. Sitting next to one another in someone's living room after a potluck dinner!)
Stevens and I made several visits to different parts of Illinois Beach State Park and also to one of the forest preserves this past week. Here are just some of the many photos I took.
This was the first time I'd taken the Dead River loop (red on the map). I went south that way and came north on the Dunes loop (yellow).
I waded in the lake today. I have water shoes to protect my feet from the stones. I had a nice chat about local history with a man who was taking his dog to the beach. The man said that paths like the one on the upper right photo are the remnants of streets from the days when there were houses along the lakefront. (In those days the lake was about 1000 feet farther out than it is today, due to severe erosion.)
"The goal of this work [is] not to resolve all of the problems of a millenia-old phenomenon but to cast a light into its history, its consequences and its presence in our everyday lives." (p. 380)
I learned a lot from Wilkerson's descriptive history of caste vs. class, with comparisons of racism in the U.S. to the Nazi persecution of Jews (and other groups they deemed inferior) and to the centuries-old Indian caste system. I am the audience to whom she's pitching: a member of the "dominant" ethnic/racial group (the story of the three white American women self-identifying by family origin was familiar). "The injustice!" is a natural reaction to the stories, both historical (beatings, lynchings) and contemporary (Wilkerson's own lived experience during her reporting career).
Wilkerson's description ends with the beginning of the prescription: "All of us can sharpen our powers of discernment to see past the external and to value the character of a person rather than demean those who are already marginalized or worship those born to false pedestals." (p. 380) "WE had nothing to do with having been born into privilege or under stigma. We have everything to do with what we do with our God-given talents and how we treat others in our species from this day forward....We are responsible for what good or ill we do to people alive with us today." (p. 387)
I, for one, hope I can be more discerning, patient, empathetic, and kind.