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Habeas Corpus

The white man did not write about women because he was a man. The white man did not write about black men, because he was a white man. The white man did not write about Latino men because he was a white man, though he also would not have done so had he been black or Asian-American. The white man did not write about Asian-American men, because he was a white man, though he also would not have done so had he been black or Latino. The white man did not write about black women, because he was a man and because he was white, though had he been a black man, a Latino man or woman, or an Asian-American man or woman he still would not have written about black women. The white man did not write about Latino women, because he was white and because he was a man and believed neither Latino men, black men or women, or Asian-American men or women should write about Latino women. The white man did not write about Asian-American women for all of the foregoing reasons but also because he felt he had a particularly weak grasp of the topic.

The white man did not write about Native Americans not because he was ashamed, though he was very ashamed, but because he too was a child of genocide and knew no two genocides are comparable. He did not write about being a child of genocide because he was not present at the genocide he considered himself a child of, nor did he write about the horror of genocides, because horror is horror and he was a white man. He did not write about the horrors inflicted by the white man because they were conspicuous already.

The white man did not write about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, sex-positive, or asexual individuals, whether men, women, transgendered men, transgendered women, transsexual men, transsexual women, or genderqueer because he was not himself a member of any of these communities and could not make to be so in prose without being a much more subtle and accomplished writer than he was.

The white man did not write about Jews, not because he was not Jewish, because he was, or because Jews were considered to be white, as they only had been for about thirty years, but because he was not a practicing Jew. The white man did not write about non-practicing Jews, not because he was not a non-practicing Jew, because he was, but because he had lately begun attending a local Episcopalian church and so no longer felt he was representative of the non-practicing Jew. The white man did not write about churchgoers, because he attended church irregularly. The white man did not write about Episcopalians, because he was not an Episcopalian.

The white man did not write about white men because no one wanted to hear stories about white men, having already heard them many times before. While the white man did have idiosyncratic beliefs, he did not write about these because however idiosyncratic they were, it still seemed likely that no one wanted to hear stories by and about white men, idiosyncratic or otherwise, qua white men, unless it was to denigrate white men, which he eschewed doing because it seemed disingenuous and pandering.

The white man did not write about the Polish, not because he didn’t have Polish ancestry, because he did, but because he did not understand the Polish experience the way Poles currently living in Poland did. He did not write about ex-pats because he was not an ex-pat, and also because Ernest Hemingway had covered it. The white man did not write about having difficulty understanding the Polish experience because no one wanted to hear stories about white men. The white man did not write about no one wanting to hear stories about white men, not because no one wanted to read stories about want, because many people did, but because even a story about no one wanting to hear stories about white men was a story about a white man written by a white man, and it would be better for a story about no one wanting to hear stories about white men to be written by a black man or woman, and the white man was not black or a woman, or by a Latino man or woman, and the white man was not Latino or a woman, or by an Asian-American man or woman, and the white man was not Asian-American or a woman.

While the white man was Jewish, the now presumptive whiteness of Jews meant no one, for instance black, Latino, or Asian-American readers, would want to read stories about a Jew, which he only partially was anyway, and certainly not in the view of any practicing Jew, meaning that practicing Jews would likewise be disinterested. Practicing Jews generally did not read stories about non-practicing Jews, for obvious reasons, or non-Jews generally, for less obvious ones. The white man had always felt Jews were angrier toward non-Jews than they let on, which he could have written about when he was still a practicing Jew who felt angrier toward non-Jews than he let on, but which he could not now write about as a non-practicing Jew, even though as a non-Jew he still felt anger toward other non-Jews whether they were practicing another religion or not.

The white man did not write about being hairy, or near-sighted, or depressed, or flat-footed, or slope-shouldered, or cup-earred, or crooked-nosed, or heavy; and he did not write about having a herniated disc, chronic styes, a cowlick, upper-arm neuropathy, GERD, a hiatal hernia, male-pattern baldness, light-sensitivity, or a severe vitamin D deficiency; and he did not write about his vertigo, lower-back pain, skin tags, uni-brow, too-long eyelashes, insomnia, false tooth, or patchy beard because all these things had been inscribed within or upon a white male body, and no one wanted to read about white men.

The white man did not write about writing because that was played out.

The white man did not write about his butt-hurt over not knowing what to write about, or who for, or as who, or as for what, or what else, because seriously now.

The white man tried to write a story about “the,” it being a word to which no particular group he was or was not a member of had already laid claim to, but writing about “the” ended up being only a clever way to write about being a white man, and though he was a white man he was not “the” white man, which meant that he had no authority to write about “the” white man because he was only an “a” and not a “the” and certainly not the “the.” The white man had always felt like an “a” rather than a “the” anyway, and while the white man did not want to write as a white man he did want to write as a white man if the alternative was writing as the white man, a concept he felt he had only the barest grasp of or affiliation with anyway. The white man tried to write a story about trying but it quickly became a story about writing, which he did not write because writing about writing was played out, and particularly writing about writing written by white men, of which he was one but not, again, “the” archetypal example, which was probably Ernest Hemingway.

Because the white man could not write about writing, or trying to write, or definite or indefinite articles, or black men or women, or Latino men or women, or Asian-American men or women, or practicing Jews whether men or women, or Episcopalians whether men or women or black or Latino or Asian-American, or non-practicing Jews of any stripe who had not seriously entertained becoming Episcopalians, the white man decided not to write anything at all.

And that was for the best, as in my view white men have had their say for more than a thousand years now.

As a black female and an atheist, I think I know this better than anyone but Hemingway.

No, I’m just kidding.

I’m white.

And agnostic.








Posted 05/19/15
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