Memoir of a Race Traitor

Memoir of a Race Traitor

Memoir of a Race Traitor

Memoir of a Race Traitor


Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family's history, Mab Segrest explores her experience as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent Far Right movement in North Carolina.


This book is the work of one white woman, who is also a lesbian, thinking race, feeling race, acting against racism, in a sustained way over one bleak decade in her country's history. I write it from the vantage point of Alabama and North Carolina, the American South whose history presented me in my adolescence with a continuing preoccupation about my country and my people. I have written this treatise on the souls of white folks with an urgency that it be exemplary, a template into which white readers can read themselves. Then I have worried that its very particularities will create ruptures in the identification I seek. "No one in my family ever killed a Black person or joined the Ku Klux Klan." So let me phrase the broader question clearly. "What does it mean to be a post-colonial European -- anywhere in the United States, anywhere on the planet?"The problem of the 21st century -- to extend W.E.B. Du Bois' insight -- will also be the color line, and it is time we figure this out.

This book is by a lesbian, who cannot look at race in an uncomplicated way, who has worked to articulate the many interfaces among misogyny, racism and homophobia in a culture ravaged by all three.

This book is by a woman who has never yet gone to bed hungry for lack of food, who has never yet slept outdoors for lack of shelter, who has never yet not worked for lack of a job, who is trying to understand a capitalism that denies many of her fellow humans all three.

I could never have written this book alone. Fortunately, there were many people who helped me bear its burdens and share its. Thanks, then --

To my editor, Loie Hayes, at South End Press, who believed in the book at all the right moments, prodding, cajoling and encouraging me over its many rough spots;

To my father and sister, who generously gave me the freedom of my own memories, even when they conflicted with their own and did not always put family members in the best light;

To Theresa Foley and Marc Miller, who gave me careful editing that helped to untangle the skein of stories -- my narratrve mess of worms;

To friends who kept me accountable to high standards, whose advice (though hard at times to hear) kept me going eight months after the book . . .

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