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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > Jan/Feb 2018 > Pushing the needle

Pushing the needle

Lee Maracle and M. NourbeSe Philip address issues of colonial violence and systemic racism in new volumes of essays

TO READ LEE MARACLE’S My Conversations with Canadians and M. NourbeSe Philip’s Blank back-to-back is to confront the very real possibility that Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief in a moral universe whose long arc bends toward justice is at best wishful thinking and at worst misleading. Barack Obama loved King’s saying so much, he d id t he next best t hing to chiselling it on a tablet: he had it woven into an Oval Office rug. Maracle and Philip, by contrast, offer essays that puncture the myth of progress through time and suggest that the more things change, the more they stay rotten. Maracle comes at this notion from an Indigenous world view, while Philip privileges blackness as a gateway to seeing and testing this country’s race relations.

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