What I Believe


The one big question is how we, as sentient beings in this universe, as homosapians on this planet should treat each other. That’s the easy one. You should treat everyone the same as you would want to be treated. The corollary is whatever you do is going to come back to you. The Golden Rule and Karma.

What It is I Do. I sell books. The written record of thoughts and feelings and facts. This is the primary way in which humankind communicates. There is history, where we come from and what we have done. There is poetry, taking us beyond facts into our feelings. There are novels, exploring our experiences and sharing our successes and failures. Contrary to popular belief, this is not just product. A independent book store is by it’s nature, a community center and the book seller is an educator. Our job is to help our customers find what they are looking for. All of us are looking for the Truth. Of course, our customers do not always know that. You need to analyze where each customer is, find what they are looking for and figure out how you can help them take the next step.

The Race Question. Barbara Chase-Riboud, at our 16th Annual Celebration of Black Writing, pointed out that humankind began in East Africa. That everyone is part of the African Diaspora and that the question really was, “How long ago your ancestors left Africa.”

The Color Question. She further pointed out that your color depended on where your ancestors ended up and how long they were there for. And that if we would just have more sex, we would all end up the same color, just like we were when we started out. The Censorship Question. Ralph Wiley, at the 15th Annual Celebration of Black Writing, took issue with the Pennsylvania NAACP’s effort to exclude Huckleberry Finn from the list of required reading. The NAACP was objecting to the fact that a character in the book was named Nigger Jim. Ralph pointed out that this character was the only one who had any integrity, praised Mark Twain as one of America’s greatest authors, and showed how Twain was, in fact, exposing the hypocrisy of race in America. He concluded his presentation with, “Nobody ever learned anything by not reading something.”

The Truth. Marita Golden, in response to a question on why Black Women’s writing was finding a market, responded, that black women were probably the most oppressed group and therefore had nothing to lose, and therefore could afford to tell the truth. And the truth resonates. And the truth is universal. Things Fall Apart. A line from a poem by a great Irish Poet named Yeats, to the title of a novel by a great African Novelist named Achebe, to the name of a CD by a Philadelphia rap group named The Roots. The truth flows on.

The Revolution. Like it or not, we are part of the revolution, because the Truth is revolutionary. It does not follow a party line. It does not support any government. It does not maintain the statue quo. The Truth shall set you free. Free people do not blindly obey. They question and search for answers. They strive for a better world.




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