The Address Book

I had never though about the political and social meaning of addresses even though I once lived on a rural route and could never get things delivered to my house that didn’t have a street number. Of course, this was pre-Amazon, so it didn’t really matter, and my failure to think about addresses didn’t matter much.

Now, as Deirdre Mask points out, addresses do matter a lot. Not having one makes it all but impossible for you to receive government services, let alone having Amazon deliver things to you. As Mask points out, addressing practices reflect the racial, economic, ethnic, and other biases in a given society. Of course, Mask could not have known that her book would come out at precisely that moment when we are rethinking public spaces through the protests over street names, monuments honoring civil war generals, and the like. All that does is make the book all the more compelling. Add to that the fact that Mask is a remarkable story teller. A book everyone should read and think about.