On the heels of this report, and almost as a challenge to it, The Oxford American boldly releases a special issue devoted to the “Past, Present, and Future” of Race in what may be among the first white-run, mainstream publications to be written by a vast majority (in this case, 88%) of writers of color.
But in truth there is freedom and whether that truth can be found in commentary, fiction, personal history, art, or poetry, the contributors in this issue—ZZ Packer, Arthur Rickydoc Flowers, Juan Williams, Julian Bond, Sarah M. Broom, Jerald Walker, Randa Jarrar, Solon Timothy Woodward, Lolis Eric Elie, Rita Dove, and many, many others—all provide meaningful and honest insights.”
Here’s the beginning of the story:
i·bex n: a type of wild mountain goat with large curved horns. Ibex are found in the Alps, the Pyranees, the Himalayas, Ethiopia, Central Asia, South Siberia, Transjordan, and Nubia.
All I’ve ever wanted is to feel whole.
When I was a kid, I once surgically sawed my Barbie in half, like a magician. Then, I cut photographs of myself in two and pasted the top half of my body to the bottom torso and legs of my doll. I brought my new self to bed, and said, “One day, you will have legs, and you will be a real human girl, you will be whole.” Then I went to sleep and dreamt I was half me and half doll, and woke up shrieking. Daddy came to my room and soothed me with a compress and with words: “When you are older I will help you get a human lower half. You will be beautiful then, and you will have no more nightmares, and nothing to fear.”
My name is Zelwa. I am half woman—the upper half— and half Transjordanian Ibex, but I have never been East of the Atlantic.
Want to read more? Go here or to your local bookstore and purchase the issue. It’s only $5.95. Enjoy!