Nearly four years ago I wrote a letter to my boys. It was the night before Trump’s inauguration and I needed to frame what was about to happen; to wring and wrench some meaning from something that seemed meaningless.

I told them to think of the inauguration as Book 4 in the Harry Potter series. Book 4 is when Cedric Diggory dies. It’s when Voldemort returns and the dark side wins. But the series doesn’t end with Book 4. The fight continues through three more books.

For some reason I remembered that letter last night when I heard about Ruth…


“I have a headache,” I said, reaching for the bottle of ibuprofen in our cupboard.

“Should we take your temp?”

“Maybe later, I need to start dinner.”

“Let’s just take it,” my husband handed me the thermometer. He had read a few days earlier that frequent temperature checks were now commonplace in China and had been taking his on the daily ever since.

“99.5.”

“Is that bad,” our eleven-year-old asked, his eyebrows squeezed together. “Are you sick, Mom?”

I looked my husband. He held my gaze briefly before we both turned to look at him.

“Nah,” I said. “I’m probably…


Part 4

If you are just joining us, we’re going through eight pointers (pun intended) for living a life with breasts. This is the last of four installments. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3, you’ll want to head over there and read those first. We’ll see ya when you get back!

7

A Brief Lesson in Physiology.

(Or, These Things Are WAY More Fun Than You’d Think)

Here are some things that your 6th grade health teacher probably never mentioned. Here are some things your mom or dad likely forgot to include when they were explaining puberty and sex and all that fun stuff. Women’s breasts are suffused with a vast network of nerves and…


Part 3

If you are just joining us, we’re going through eight pointers (pun intended) for living a life with breasts. If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2, you’ll want to read those first. We’ll see ya when you get back!

Moving on…

5

The Cat-Call

Saddle up, girl. This one can be really confusing. A cat-call is something nearly every woman experiences at some point in her life. Before we dive in, here’s how the Oxford English dictionary defines cat-call: “A loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.”


Part 2

If you are just joining us, we’re going through eight pointers (pun intended) for living with breasts. If you haven’t read part 1,
you’ll want to head over there and read that first. We’ll see ya when you get back!

3

When Your Breasts Gotta Code Switch

(Sidebar: This is a linguistic term meaning the alternating of two or more languages, usually within the same conversation. But if you didn’t already know what code switching is, you are probably white, and you’re going to need to do some additional work after you figure out this boob thing. You got it. Keep learning.)

Ok, ladies, this one is…


Part 1

  • aka Jugs, Melons, Knockers, Titties, Hooters, Headlights (No, no, these terms aren’t used by women. These are only for men)

If you are a woman (and if you are, hi! hello! this guide is for you! — Men, you are also welcome here! When I use the term “men” in this guide, you understand that I don’t mean ALL men. I’m sure YOU have never done any of the things described here), you have something in common with almost all women everywhere. That is to say that you have breasts.

Or you will have them someday (I see you, tween…


1985 Los Angeles Times via AP

I’ve been reading James Baldwin lately and I’ve been turning over certain parts of his essay called “On Being White… And Other Lies” in my mind, struck by how apropos it remains all these years later.

Actually pretty much everything he wrote is/was germane both then and now.

On Being White is short — you can read the full piece here — but he packs in a lot to ponder.

No Such Thing as Whiteness

I read Ta-Nahesi Coates‘ book Between the World & Me when it came out a few years ago and he uses the term “people who believe themselves to be white”…


What Now?
AKA ACCEPTANCE

When I mentioned to a white friend that I was working on an essay about white privilege, her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh, that’s GREAT! Are you going to tell us what to do? Nobody ever tells us what to do.” I knew exactly what she meant but I fretted all the way home because I wasn’t sure I had any suitable answers. I think this is where a lot of us get stuck. We get stuck in stage 4, depressed and unsure of our next move.


Awareness Fatigue
AKA DEPRESSION

Ten years after that night in Los Angeles, I began to notice a waning of personal enthusiasm during discussions of race. I had given up on being a WPGI, my anger had started to dull around the edges and I was beginning to wallow. In the intervening years since that email conversation with my friend, Janelle, I had slowly peeled away and peered into some of the deeper recesses of racism, both personal and cultural, and the result was an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

Like all American kids I had been taught in school that the Civil Rights movement had…


Look at Me! Look at Me! I’m a WPGI!
(pronounced “whip-gee” or White Person who Gets It)
AKA BARGAINING

In 2004 I attended an urban youth workers conference in Southern California. One afternoon I found myself standing with a group of friends waiting for a session to start when one of the women in the group made a crack about white people. I was the only white person in the group and I wasn’t sure what to do, how to respond. Should I laugh? Nod knowingly? Pretend I hadn’t heard? I don’t remember exactly what I did but I do remember wanting to show them that I was cool with it. I got it. No big deal.

Nancy Myers Rust

Writing about life & the intersections of culture, race, gender and faith. @NancyRust, http://www.nancyrust.com/

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