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  • Writer's picturemollysecours

Open Letter to President Obama: I Promise I Ain't Mad At You. You will always be #1

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

First of all Congratulations on your new book, A Promised Land ! It couldn’t come at a better time in our country and I can’t wait to spend an entire weekend during the holidays reading your words.

You see your words have always had a calming effect on me...and well millions of us. In fact, I still take out the personal letter you wrote me when you left office nearly four years ago--and it has held me steadfast ever since. So thank you for that.

While I’m glad the nation is clamoring to buy your book, I must admit that I’d wished it came out a few weeks later. You see I just pre-released White Privilege Pop Quiz: Reflecting on Whiteness, a plain spoken book with 13 chapters with 13 simple questions most White people have never asked themselves.

Anyway, it’s without a fancy publisher or promotion team but it was #1 two weeks in a row on the Best Seller List at one the countries most beloved independent book Stores owned by author, Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes Parnassus Books in Nashville. Well it was until Promised Land was released!

But the #1 isn't a brag about me or the book. It's an acknowledgement that people (and yes, White people) do care. That we want to be better and do more.

Many have asked why I wrote it back in 2012 but never published it. After Trayvon Martin was murdered, I started musing on all the things White folks don't think about. And since I'm a filmmaker (not a scholar or an educator), the book is a reflection in plain terms what every day Whiteness means and how we don't see it. How we talk about Black poverty but not about White wealth--as if there is no correlation. How the words Black on Black crime roll off our tongues without acknowledging that White on White crime is far more common.

Anyway, I'm hoping it encourages people to dig deeper and think more clearly and critically. And because back in 2012 it seemed people weren't ready for the conversation or interested in publishing, I stuck it on a shelf and started working on a film. And then, George Floyd happened and it became clear. It is time.

But President Obama, please know I ain’t mad at you for bumping my little book to

#2. I am honored to see my name written anywhere near yours.

And although it's the holidays and you and Michelle are probably busy, Wednesday December 2nd 6 PM CST is the official release via Parnassus Books Facebook Live with Nashville Public Television's La Tonya Turner and myself. And I was thinking maybe you could tell Joe and Kamala they are welcome too!

I don't mean to be mushy but I do love and appreciate you and Michelle and the hopeful breadcrumbs you have scattered throughout this nation reminding us that a promise is only as good as the one that we keep--to ourselves and everyone around us.

Molly Secours is a Nashville based filmmaker/writer, sky gazing kayaker who believes in making friends with the uncomfortable.

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