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Love Cemetery

I have to say, Love Cemetery was not my favorite book to read– but it was an experience. There were several things I like and several things I disliked. I disagree with the way she brings religion so heavily into what she writes and the way she feels entitled to tell a story about a community she can never be a real part of. The chapter entitled “Shiloh” was especially annoying because it seemed to me she was preaching or forcing a religion that I don’t agree with, and that has nothing to do with what she is doing in Love Cemetery, but the last couple of paragraphs from that chapter signified a turning point– her recognizing that she can do nothing but fill in the footprint she or her ancestors made in these people’s histories.

I actually got rather emotional when she stood up and began talking about her unconscious racism because it is something I work daily at and am still ashamed to say exists. The other day I took a “quiz” on line for my Social Problems class on people’s relationships with people who identify as Homosexual. At the end of the test it told me I had a “moderate automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People”; 25% percent of the population got this same answer. I was so incredibly disappointed. I have grown up in a home that promotes equality toward difference in Sexual Orientation, Race, Ethnicity, Religion… and still I unconsciously revert to a racist, homophobic view point that is so prominent in our society. Those last paragraphs in “Shiloh” was the turning point in Love Cemetery where I felt that what Galland was doing in that community was the right thing to do and that she was finally going to go about doing it the right way.

The quote by Doris that Dr. Evans and Dr. Stockton pulled for our discussion today was one I had noticed in my own reading of the text. It stood out to me not only because of the harsh words spoken but also because of how it made me think and feel. Doris was a black woman, and as we said in class, was a very educated and knowledgeable woman. And yet she needed China Galland in order to free her ancestors from ‘the bonds they are still in’. I can’t imagine how that would make me feel… the idea that the very people who enslaved Ohio Taylor were the only people who could set him free in a society of white supremacy. I will never know how that feels because I am white; Galland will never know how that feels because she is white… but we can acknowledge that fact and understand that we will never truly be a part of that community. But we can do what we can to erase that role our ancestors had in making their lives hell for hundreds of years. I think China does a good job of doing that very thing, and that is admirable.

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