The other day I came across a blog post by a letterpress printer praising the achievements of “Women of Color” and “Women” for their contributions to printing history.
The blog set me to thinking, so I jotted a note to the printer who wrote the initial blog. Perhaps you will agree with me–perhaps not, but here goes:
Dear (no need to identify the author):
I wonder how you would react if I posted a blog honoring the “white men” who have made outstanding contributions to printing history. It’s long past time to be attributing remarkable achievements based on race or gender. In my opinion, it’s neither race nor gender that account for ability or character or achievement. The lack of accomplishment of people reflects neither on their gender nor race–but also neither gender nor race account for accomplishments.
I have no problem with you spotlighting women who have contributed to printing history, but can’t you get past indicating their contributions were based on their gender and focus, instead, on their courage, and endurance, and determination?
We are infected with characterizing people by defining them into tribes, and in the process set one tribe after the throat of another, imagining that we will create a better, more just world in doing so. Actually, by doing this we create ghettos and conflict.
So, hail to Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Elizabeth Yeats, not because they were women but because they contributed to printing history. Doesn’t that make more sense?
Until next time . . .