dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #740

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Sat Nov 8 00:54:29 EST 2003


> Otter Perry:
>
> It had a huge impact, with lots of African-Americans taking much
> more interest in their ancestry.  One of the most striking realizations
> for _me_ was that my chances of being related to somebody in
> Detroit [other than my immediate family, of course, all immigrants
> from the East Coast of the USA or, in the case of my sister's
> in-laws, from Scotland] were much higher if that person was
> black than if that person was white.  Most of the white population
> is of Middle and Eastern European derivation, and of recent arrival.
> My family is from Germany and the British Isles and the most
> recent wave of immigration was in the mid 1800s.  Older bits
> of my family have been here longer, and, like most African-Americans,
> I'm descended from slave owners.  [_Some_ of them were slave owners.]

Some of my Hoggard ancestors were planters in Antigua, so it's likely 
that I have black or 'mulatto' relatives over there, but nothing is 
known for certain.

> In fact, there's a black branch of my family of which I am aware,
> thanks originally to the activities of a great-great uncle who was an
> overseer.  I know this because one of my mother's cousins got
> interested and ended up calling everybody of the family name in
> Wilmington, DE.  [The name is Clash.  Not common.  Believed to be
> an alias adopted by an ancestor who had reason not to keep his own.
> He was a Welshman.]  She got almost 100% hits and all were African-
> American.

Clash is *not* a common name - any connection to Kevin Clash, the 
African-American puppeteer who does Elmo for 'Sesame Street'?

> Kyra: This article from my other mailing list is interesting and 
> relevant -
> about a black man who got a genetic test and discovered that he had, in
> fact, no ancestors of African descent:
>
> http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16917

How entrancingly weird.

> deborah:
>
> It's the "them" that makes me uncomfortable, actually.  We're saying
> nothing deragotory at all, but I don't like discussing racial issues in
> for so long in the absence of much diversity (of race -- we have huge
> diversity of experience!) of the conversation.

It does make one feel one could be heading in the wrong direction for a 
long way without anything to check one.

> Charlie (to deborah's 'Po3' story): That's interesting - and reminds 
> me a bit of what DWJ herself said about
> 'Witch Week' and how prejudice against witches in that book might be
> recognized by a child reader as resembling prejudices (such as racism) 
> they
> came across in their own lives.

When I read 'Witch Week' I find the *tone* and terms of the prejudice 
against witches similar to that against homosexuals, including the 
'enlightened' medical view of homosexuality from about the middle of 
the 20th century - the way Miss Hodge says she's been brought up to 
feel sorry for witches, and the phrase 'someone in 6B has a very sick 
mind.'
The whole logical muddle over whether it's something you're born to, 
something you can 'catch' or be influenced into, a mental illness or a 
deliberate, immoral choice seems very similar.

> Well as my puffin edition has illustrations throughout, it's rather 
> obvious!
>
> Rowena

That was what tipped me the wink as well! You could see right on the 
cover that there were black children in the story.

> (Air Loom Gang)
>
> Hey, I feel a steampunk trilogy coming on...
>
> Charlie

Hurry before Alan Moore works it into 'League of Extraordinary 
Gentlemen'!
Errr... if he's still doing that series. I just realised I don't know. 
(hangs head in shame)

> Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika : I would say that there are a 
> number of kid's books since 1949 that involve
> both bad and good non-wiccan witches. :) _Little Witch_ for instance, 
> or
> the witches and wizards in John Bellair's books.
>
> Now, even the bad witches in most of these cases aren't in league with
> Satan... but they are, recognizeable, the witches of our childhood, 
> and of
> the idea of witch-- people who can by some means or another manipulate
> reality, and often wear black, etc. etc.
>
> Then there are the occasional appearances of evil witches from other
> cultures, such as Navajo 'skinchanger' witches.

I have just remembered some rather nice witches in Eva Ibbotson's book 
'The Haunting of Hiram C. Hopgood' - they are first encountered running 
a bake sale and generally being good W.I. types. The witches in another 
of hers, 'Which Witch?' are more... *cartoony* witches, but in 'Hiram' 
I remember being delighted by the thought of real live witches blending 
in as nice old dears.

> A question for the NZeders - All Blacks?  The team?  Where does the 
> name
> come from, what does it mean?
>
> Alison

It simply refers to the fact that their uniforms are all black. It was 
never a race-based name - although there was a time when the All Blacks 
didn't tour overseas with Maori players, which made a lot of people 
ashamed and angry. An interesting play called 'Go Black!' has been 
written about a New Zealand rugby fan watching a match in segregated 
South Africa. At one time in the 80s practically the whole country was 
rioting about whether it was honourable to play with the South African 
Springboks given that they didn't allow black players. I mean serious, 
civil disobedience, police breaking heads rioting. In New Zealand, 
rugby is politics.
Most New Zealand national sports teams have names that are plays on 
'All Black,' too - Black Caps for cricket, Black Ferns for women's 
rugby (also playing off the women's netball team, Silver Ferns), All 
Whites for soccer (that one raises some eyebrows), and my favourite, 
Tall Blacks for basketball.

> I seem to be doing this lots, lately, but I think i've reached a point
> of discomfort with this thread and its length, and i'd like us to drop
> it, except as it pertains to dwj or literature.  I've contributed to 
> it,
> I know.  But the list guidelines I sent out recently did say "no
> politics except as  they are on-topic", and this thread has become very
> political, and not on-topic.  So anyone who wants to pick up on
> discussions that have begun about Wilkin's Tooth/Witch's Business,
> Heathens in Spellcoats, Power of Three, or anything similar, go to 
> town.
> Otherwise, let's lay this one.  And my apologies for contributing to
> something and then shutting it off; I know that's rude.
>
> - -deborah

Doesn't worry me. (lets the subject gracefully drop and flutter to the 
floor) Although I will let my remarks up to this point in the digest 
stand.

@}->-->---
E you later,
Déesse
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

http://www.airandangels.com/
Air and Angels Anime Shrines


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