J. Peder Zane, in his Feb. 10 column “The world through Barber’s eyes” on Rev. William Barber’s memoir “The Third Reconstruction,” seemed to be looking for a pat on the back for daring to read a book involving “different people and cultures.” Yet his pejorative tone toward Barber suggested that the book never really stood a chance against Zane’s preconceived ideas.
Strangely, Zane faults Barber for not exploring the ideas of Art Pope or the GOP legislature in his memoir. What a bizarre expectation for a memoir, which by definition is about one’s own personal experiences and views. Are we really to believe that Zane would likewise fault Pope if he wrote a memoir that failed to explore Barber’s ideas?
Zane marginalizes Barber’s memoir with the line, “Barber sees America through the narrow yet true to his experience lens of oppression and struggle.” Ironically, this reveals the narrowness of Zane’s perspective, not Barber’s. Since when is the lens of oppression and struggle narrow, after all? One need only read the rest of the newspaper around Zane’s column to see the magnitude of ongoing oppression and struggle.
The narrowest lens belongs to those too well-insulated from oppression and struggle to see their prevalence.