This week on Melanated Mom Talk, I am inspired to think differently about social distancing. Many of us are completely over it and looking forward to going back to “regular” life. But what happens when feeling distanced is already a part of your normal life? Many people in black and brown communities have felt “distanced” or marginalized at work, by politics, and in countless social settings.
For me, I have been essentially a "stay-at-home” mom or as I prefer to say the primary parent for the past three or four plus years. So finding creative spaces while working remotely from home has been my gig. My career quarantine started back in 2014, which is why I created the collective (WELM) as a means to disrupt the narrative for people of color in all media. The common narrative in media being an entertainment industry run by older, non-diverse males in New York or Los Angeles- which leaves little room for entry to anyone "distanced" from those traits.
So this episode pushes past the mind numbing monotony of isolation and steps into the mindset of someone who has been distanced, but remains connected. And not distanced by a global pandemic, but distanced from her norm. And to honor the women who walk in that space daily we welcome the Professor Meredith Gadsby to the conversation.
Professor Gadsby has mastered the art of going inward and exercising the power to claim community where and when she can, especially when there’s not that much space available.
The author of the text Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, and Survival; much of Meredith's work and research is focused on migration and identity. Growing up in New York City as a Bajan kid with memories of listening to Calypso music in the morning and watching Soul Train while dusting furniture as a chore in the afternoon, Meredith’s original normal is of being Caribbean out loud.
But like many academics, Meredith moved out of the east coast into the mid-west after accepting an offer to work towards her tenure track at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio- population 8,000. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies. Professor Gadsby holds the esteemed role of Faculty Liaison to The Toni Morrison Society. She is the Immediate Past President of The Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars all while finding time to mentor the next generation of leaders through The Posse Foundation- Posse 10.
Meredith is the mother to three beautiful and intelligent children. She is a wife, friend to many, and I may say this often, but she is truly one of my favorite people with such a funny sense of humor. Meredith is definitely the girlfriend you want to be sitting next to, just to catch all of her hilarious kiki.