By Gabrielle Corsaro
Hi All, Gabi here!
Welcome to my Bridge PHL Blog – Beyond the Pale.
Visitors to our website have likely seen our Library page where we provide links to books we have been reading as inspiration and edification for our work at The Bridge PHL. Genres include American history from the black community’s perspective and experience; biographies of black Americans; social justice and urban studies dealing with racial oppression, white supremacy and white privilege; memoirs of black Americans; memoirs of white Americans dealing with their privilege and position in white supremacy; and plays and novels addressing racial disparity in America. These books reflect the very personal journey I am on to fill in the vast voids that remain in my knowledge of American history, American present, and my understanding of racism in this country. These voids are where black and brown American voices, stories, and achievements should have always been. As an American, and especially as a white American, I feel it is my responsibility to actively seek out the truth of my country instead of languishing in some kind of false nostalgia or myth, to find ways to take action against racism, and to galvanize other white people to do so as well. This blog is a mini-journal of my journey towards this mission through books, articles, blogs, and podcasts.
A few words on my choice of title for this blog. Obviously, I am invoking a double entendre with the word “pale”. We use the phrase “beyond the pale” to describe something that is unacceptable, improper, unforgivable, etc. “Pale” in this context was historically a word for a sharp, pointed piece of wood, such as those used to make a fence. We still use a version of it in the verb “impale”. To be “beyond the pale” was to venture past that which is home, that which is safe, that which is familiar. It is interesting that the term for something beyond our personal experience and comfort would evolve to mean something hateful. Which leads me to the double entendre. “Pale” of course also means lighter in color. White people have overwhelmingly been the gatekeepers of what has been deemed acceptable historically in the US, and that has affected every single part of our country’s culture. It also has kept a lot out – a lot of truth, a lot of history, a lot of stories, a lot of people. The Bridge PHL is committed to dismantling that gate.
Thank you for reading along. I invite you to join us in this work, and I welcome your comments.
Gabrielle Corsaro Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director, The Bridge PHL Theatre Festival
A native of Philadelphia, Gabrielle spent several years studying and working as an actor in New York. It was both wonderful and frustrating on a daily basis. Parenthood brought her back home, and gradually Gabrielle began writing and directing. She founded AngelPirate Productions in 2005 which evolved from a desire to serve the Philadelphia community by developing and producing original performance pieces by local artists which amplify voices historically underheard. In 2015 Gabrielle co-founded The Bridge PHL Theatre Festival with Hannah MacLeod, Meryl Lynn Brown, and Kathy Harmer to foster healing connections between our diverse communities through powerful acts of theatre.