The word pioneer betrays a disturbing willingness to repeat the worst mistake of the pioneers of the American West—the mistake of considering an inhabited place uninhabited. To imagine oneself as a pioneer in a place as densely populated as Chicago is either to deny the existence of your neighbors or to cast them as natives who must be displaced. Either way, it is a hostile fantasy.Her reflections are coupled with reflections on those earlier pioneers, as presented by Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose children's books don't duck away from confronting the rampant racism in her childhood environment.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Urban "pioneers" rethought
Utne Reader points to Eula Biss's precise, thoughtful reflections on urban "pioneering" in Chicago's northeasternmost neighborhood, Rogers Park.