Before there is a final solution

Starting to make my peace with Toni Morrison after that unfortunate encounter in the ’70s, now best forgotten after her passing (about which, regrettably, I may have said some not nice things).

Picked up a release of her essays which included a portion of her speech on Racism and Fascism, delivered at Howard University in 1995. It’s the passage that famously starts…

“Let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.”

…and builds to this magnificent peroration:

“It changes citizens into taxpayers…it changes neighbors into consumers…it changes parenting into panicking…we find ourselves living not in a nation but in a consortium of industries, and wholly unintelligible to ourselves except for what we see through a screen darkly.”

Okay, I’m with her. Here’s the original video of the speech; she altered it slightly for publication (book below). After I’m done with that, may even have to pick up my copy of Song of Solomon again, which has been frozen in time since 1977 with a bookmark on page 109.

[from C-SPAN]

 

The book is currently widely available in paperback:

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