You’d think that someone who started out her interest in military-GI issues advocating for women in the military, working hand in hand with the likes of Linda Grant de Pauw, Rep. Patricia Schroeder and Captain Barb, who therefore knew about women in every war fought by the U.S, would have women as characters easily laced throughout the history I’m writing.
You’d think that a dyke who loved being able to give Walt Whitman’s boyfriend voice in my Civil War chapter would be on the alert for the gays described by Allen Berube, who dissented in their very presence in World War II — and not have to had thown at me the compelling example of Guadalcanal vet Paul Moore, a running buddy of William Sloane Coffin. (Below is a clip of his daughter Honor, who wrote a book about his double life.)
And you might even think that a girl who is obsessed with Bayard Rustin and led her earlier chapters with dissenters of color —William Apess, Lewis Douglass, W.E.B. duBois— wouldn’t draft a chapter with a nearly all-white cast, with the exception of Medgar Evers. That a girl who squinted at and photocopied stuff from A. Philip Randolph’s Committee Against Jim Crow in the Armed Services would have naturally devoted a few lines to the NAACP’s 1942 “Conscientious Objectors Against Jim Crow.” That she’d at least have included 73-yr-old du Bois sighing that ‘ We fight for democracy not only for white folk but for yellow, brown, and black…We fight not in joy but in sorrow with no feeling of uplift.”
Nope: as currently drafted my World War II chapter, like the war itself, features an all-male, nearly all-white cast. I slapped myself upside the head last night when I realized it. Better now than later, when Cynthia Enloe and Linda Bird Francke would do it more publicly on reading the final product.
To use the kind of language we used in the 1980s: I know I’m twisted by white privilege, but when did the frigging patriarchy decide to colonize my thinking?