Chapter 1: The Wake
1 Some definitions, phrases, and quotations (like, for example, the definitions of
wake) will repeat throughout the text of In the Wake and will be marked by ital-
ics. I imagine these italicized repetitions as a reminder, a refrain, and more.
2 I share this with a friend and he responds with the following: “I tripped over the
word ‘opportunity,’ [in my narrative] because of its ubiquity in the narratives of
Dutch Caribbeans. I’ve been thinking a lot about the work that ‘opportunity’
does both in Dutch Caribbean narratives of migration, and the Dutch govern-
ment’s pledge to ‘create opportunities for all.’ My parents moved to the Nether-
lands ‘for opportunity,’ and they also experienced ‘constant and overt racism,
isolation.’ My father was kept in the same job with no prospect of promotion
for years on end; ironically, in the Dutch Caribbean the Netherlands has been
imagined as the ‘land of opportunity’ (and I won’t be getting into how that
imagination has been shaped by colonialism). The Netherlands has become
fixed as an orientation point.” Personal email cited with the permission of the
author, Egbert Alejandro Martina.
3 A while ago when I was searching for something else in the archives of the
Philadelphia Inquirer I found two of the many op-eds that my mother wrote
and that were published in the paper after she read about, saw, or otherwise
witnessed racism. I include the text of the letters here.
Letters to the Editor: Deep-seated Bias
December 20, 1986
If anyone has seriously been entertaining doubts that deep-seated preju-
dice is alive and thriving in the United States, he has only to read the
Dec. 9 front page article in The Inquirer concerning the 14-year-old girl
who was a rape victim to disabuse himself of this naive notion.