Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Excerpt from The Shut Mouth Society

Dealing with sensitive social issues in a novel can be difficult. Racism is a theme that runs through The Shut Mouth Society.


He had been fuming ever since Baldwin quit talking. He had enjoyed the last half hour of civility and hated to ruin it. Making a decision, he said, “Professor, I should tell you that I get angry when someone throws the racist accusation around.”

“Oh.” She hesitated. “There’s a dictionary definition of racist, and Lincoln fits within that strict definition. His own words indict him, but I didn’t mean it to be as derogatory as you might think. Remember, I said a man must be judged in his time, and nearly everyone was racist back then.” When Evarts didn’t comment she asked, “You have some scar tissue?”

“As any cop, especially one that grew up and works in a rich white enclave.”

“Doesn’t your friendship with Abraham Douglass grant you absolution?” 

“It means nothing to those who use the epithet politically, and it means everything to real racists.”

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