Progressive Prison Project 

Greenwich, Connecticut

A Conversation About My Recent 
Eugene Jarecki Blog. 

On May 12, 2013, at 4:11 PM, XXX wrote:

Jeff, here is the message I sent you 2 days ago:
Jeff,   I am probably in the minority but I am not crazy about stories that talk about being close to rich, famous, big-housed people, especially ones that use lawyers to fight with each other over property and privilege.  Maybe others feel differently. 

Jareckis (plural of Jurecki) has no apostrophe.  Here is a wiki definition of hoi polloi:

Hoi polloi (Ancient Greek: οἱ πολλοί, hoi polloi, “the many”), a Greek expression meaning “the many” or, in the strictest sense, “the majority”, is used in English to refer to the working class, commoners, the masses or common people in a derogatory sense. Synonyms for hoi polloi which also express the same or similar contempt for such people include “the great unwashed”, “the plebeians” or “plebs”, “the rabble”, “riff-raff”, “the herd”, “the proles” and “peons”.[1]

On May 12, 2013, at 4:19 PM, Jeff Grant wrote:

>It had the most hits of any post I ever had. I don’t know what that says about anything. It had money, drugs, prison, murder, you name it. People like to slow down at car accidents – what can I say?

>Thanks for your input – always appreciated.

On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 5:38 PM, Jeff Grant wrote:

>XXX, I just went for a walk and I’ve been thinking more about your comments and my response.  There’s more here and it could make for a very rich conversation.

>I have a story to tell – it’s basically a recovery memoir wrapped around a prison story.  There’s a before, during & after.  The before is all about white male privilege, but even the during & after have embodied white male privilege too – I am who I am.  I hope that my transformation speaks for itself, and that the similarities of most of my experiences are greater than the differences from those in similar & other social locations such that I am useful to them.  To accomplish this usefulness, my primary objective in writing is to be revealing and authentic.  Or, as Ernest Hemingway so aptly put it – to write one true sentence, and then go from there. 

>I think that the Jarecki piece was revealing and authentic – it told the story of how I teetered at the top of my game, and then fell despite offers of assistance.  Without revealing the story before my fall, I wouldn’t have much of a story would I?

>Sometimes I think we are so uncomfortable with our privilege that we defend against it, deny it and make excuses for it – instead of putting it on the table and owning it.  I don’t think anyone on the margins – or anywhere – really wants us to be anybody than exactly who we are.  In fact, they need us to be who we are if we are to bring about the change we say we are championing.  Sometimes that means working through the discomfort in silence, and sometimes by looking around and seeing what needs to be done.

>This time around, I’m trying to use everything I’ve got to help others – including telling my story.  I have to feel secure enough to put my past and present privilege on the table.  My insecurity about it – and my neglect and abuse of it – is what brought me down.

>Thank you for being such a good friend.  Jeff

On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 9:31 PM, XXX wrote:  

Jeff,  thank you for these thoughts.  They are splendid.  I like them very much.  

On Mon, May 13, 2013 at 3:56 AM, Jeff Grant wrote:

>I’d love to post this email chain – it can be anonymous if you prefer. Let me know. I think it can help people. 

On Mon, May 13, 2013 at 8:51 AM, XXX wrote:

Anonymous is fine. 

Jeff Grant’s book, The Art of Surviving Prison, is awaiting publication. 

Jeff Grant, JD, M Div                                                                                   

Director, Progressive Prison Project                                                           

Associate Minister/Director of Prison Ministries                                               

First Baptist Church of Bridgeport Connecticut      

(203) 339-5887