‘I can take care of myself’ — Honey by Reckon, 3/2/2022

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Hey y’all,

It’s been a really heavy week and I hope you’re taking care of yourselves. While it’s important to pay attention to current events and speak up when needed, it’s important to set boundaries for yourself. Set up time limits on the apps you consume your news. Know when your brain needs to rest. You don’t have to read it all.

This week we’re talking about Imani Perry’s new book “South to America.” We’re also talking about the mess that is Texas right now and the fact that more adults in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+ than ever before. Roll Tide. We’re also hearing from one of my favorite Honey Voices columnists Mandy Shunnarah on what being “taken care of” looks like in her marriage. This is our last relationship essay before four whole weeks of body talk. 

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In this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview, John talked to Imani Perry, author and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, about her new book “South to America” and the “changing same” of the American South. Dr. Perry is a Birmingham native, but spent most of her life in Chicago and around the Northeast. Her book takes her perspective as both an insider and outsider of the South to frame her previously held assumptions about the region we know and love.

Here’s a snippet from Perry’s conversation  I thought y’all might find interesting on how the South creates hierarchies of what’s right and wrong in order to maintain power:

Perry: “And the conservatism around sex and sexuality, I think is really interesting and one of the things that is a theme in the book, because I want to be clear there that so much of the conservatism is not about eliminating people and practice, it’s about creating hierarchies. Of what’s respectable and what’s not. And that’s old, right? Whether it’s along the lines of race or sexuality or gender. And so to understand how at the same time as there’s a lot of conservatism around gender and gender expression, there’s also some of the most robust queer culture in the South that you could find. And that does cross the lines of race.

And this is the other thing that I think is really important is because Southerners are poorer and more vulnerable than people in other parts of the country, there’s also the reality that there’s a reason that there’s distrust. There’s not an expectation that politicians will do much for you. And my formulation is sort of like there’s a reason people believe in prayer more than politicians.”

Click here to listen to the whole episode. 

Honey Voices: I can take care of myself

Each week the Honey newsletter includes a column from women and LGBTQ folks in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. We’re always looking for more stories from you. Click here to learn more about how to get published.

By Mandy Shunnarah 

It’s a Sunday afternoon and over the top of my laptop screen, I watch my husband vacuum and sweep the floors, change air filters, dig cat toys out from under the couch, and do the dishes. Earlier that day he cooked breakfast and lunch, even making biscuits from scratch.

I’ve been working all weekend on a copywriting project. I’m a full-time writer and I have the best job in the world, even when it requires me to be glued to my computer for an entire weekend to meet a deadline.

It’s not that I can’t clean or don’t know how. I was raised by a single mother a few miles outside Birmingham, and she never missed a chance to lecture me on taking care of myself.

“Don’t depend on no man to take care of you. You could have the best man in the world and he could go out and get killed in a car accident or he could walk out on you like your daddy walked out on us. What then?” she’d ask. “Where would you be? You have to learn to take care of yourself because there’s no guarantee a man will be around to do it for you.”

My mother made sure I knew how to mow the grass, check my oil, check my tires and fill them, and manage my own money. She taught me what we might now call “life hacks,” like how to hide emergency cash in your car in case your purse got stolen and how to get businesses to honor multiple coupons even when the fine print said they wouldn’t. She taught me which store brands tasted good and which weren’t worth fooling with.

I carry these lessons with me. Partly thanks to her, I’m a capable, thrifty, self-sufficient person.

This is why I hardly recognized her one day about a year after I started dating the man who would become my husband.

“What do you mean you bought y’all’s dinner?”

Click here to read the rest.

The Junk Drawer

The ACLU sues to block Texas from investigating parents of trans youth (NPR)

A record number of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ. Gen Z is driving the increase (The Washington Post)

For the first time in four years, the Chicks are back on the road—but one big state (and a bigger part of the band’s history) is absent from the list of tour dates (Texas Monthly)


The University of Alabama’s first Black student, Autherine Lucy Foster, died on Wednesday, just days after she was in Tuscaloosa to cut the ribbon on a newly named building on campus in her honor.

She originally was to share the name of the building alongside a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, but outcry among students and faculty caused the board to reverse course and remove the other name. The whole turn of events was a lesson in honoring our heroes while they’re still living and continuing to name racism when it plays out right in front of you.

That’s all I’ve got for today.


The Reckon Report.
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