Not So Silent Night

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All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!

Not so silent night

by Mary Neighbour

The lovely story of “Silent Night” is that the world changed—was saved—by the birth of Christ during a silent and holy night. Millions have been soothed and reassured by the carol’s peaceful, hopeful message and harmonies.

But isn’t it interesting that in order for the song to have effect, voices must be raised—silence must be disturbed?

I’m an advocate of disturbing the peace, especially when so many endure misery and suffer hatred. In my blog I try to stir up conversations that speak to controversy and aim for informed, respectful dialog. Right now in America, millions live under the threat of violence, carry the burden of prejudice, and grapple with ways to make life better for all of us, but especially for the children.

If we look at the Black Friday protests in Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, Cincinnati, and other places, can we listen and learn? Can we constructively contribute? Many who speak for Black Lives Matter and those who are aligned with them are angry, but who can be surprised by that? This civil rights movement is addressing a legacy of slavery in America that has never been fully dealt with.

From our Constitution through all of our societal institutions of justice, law enforcement, education, housing, finance, health, and government, America as a nation has not been honest about its history of promulgating notions of European-descended people’s superiority. America as a nation has not been honest about its history of promulgating notions of African-descended people’s inferiority.

And America as a nation will never right its wrongs unless individuals come together to speak up, speak out, and speak right on about these deep fissures in our society and culture.

Instead of “sleep in heavenly peace,” let’s speak in heavenly peace. What will you say to to help others find that peace?

51GxcTjE5tL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Mary Neighbour is the author of Speak Right On: Conjuring the Slave Narrative of Dred Scott, a work of historical fiction that explores the story of Dred Scott and the history of slavery that has changed our cultural landscape. ABA Booklist described it as “nuances of slavery that provoke human emotions from nobility and loyalty to greed and selfishness,” and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said about it: “It’s a fine piece of fiction . . . reminiscent of Toni Morrison.”

Neighbour heard the voice of Dred Scott through the few quotes we have from him. She developed his character from researching the slave narratives and folklore of nineteenth-century America and of Africa. Through her book, Mary hopes to stimulate conversations about race and politics in our lives today. Please visit her blog and join the conversation.

And here’s a Giftmas offer for you, holiday reader:

This blog is part of a blog tour and raffle prizes, thanks to Rhonda Parrish’s blog site. Check out the complete list of prizes here http://bit.ly/1jkpUfa and enter to win!

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