It's been a while since my last post mostly because I'm not sure what to blog about these days. So much of my life is caught up in being a new mother, and there are so many brilliant mommy blogs out there, I'm not sure my little tidbits are necessary to the conversation. So, for now, I'll keep my mommy-musings minimal although they may warrant a blog post every so often.
I loved the conversation which followed and I decided to finish the book because I had been enjoying it, until that paragraph. I hoped at some point the narrator might revisit his misguided thoughts, but as I suspected, that paragraph, that racist paragraph, just sat there, and I chalked it up to character development. I mean, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a white, middle class kid from Florida would exhibit racism. So I read, and I enjoyed this kid's quest for the Great Perhaps and how he seeks to escape the labyrinth of suffering. But after finishing the book, when I look back at that one paragraph, I think the author was revealing his racism.
I also wasn't sure why it bothered me so much. Why did this paragraph make me want to abandon a book I'd been previously enjoying? I've forgiven poorly written paragraphs, misogynistic paragraphs, wasted paragraphs that should have just been deleted, so why did this racist graph bug me so much? Well, I think, in part, because it is an extremely familiar form of racism, the kind I encountered too often growing up in Bend. Someone I really liked, a friend, a classmate, would say something racist and I'd have to decide how to handle it. Should I call them on their racist comment or say nothing and remember, oh, so-and-so is racist and begin to silently hate them? I usually called people on things which didn't garner many popularity points, but now, twenty years after leaving Bend and a couple of weeks after my high school reunion, I've forgiven and forgotten racist comments my former classmates might have made (although I've been known to hide racist "friends" on Facebook). And as for John Green, I'll be writing him to ask why he chose to include this paragraph in Looking for Alaska.
"Unfortunately for the Culver Creek Nothings, we
weren't playing the deaf-and-blind school. We were playing some
Christian school from downtown Birmingham, a team stocked with huge,
gargantuan apemen with thick beards and a strong distaste for turning
the other cheek" (48).
But mostly, I'm celebrating the return of my brain.