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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The liberating potential of AIDS

White discusses how AIDS has played something of a liberating role in his life. It terrified him to learn he had the disease, but he felt confident to know how he was going to die, and knowing that he might die young encouraged him to take risks.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ASHLEY CROWE:
I think, do you feel like there's anything else that you need to clarify, or go back to that we talked about today?
WILLIAM E. WHITE, JR.:
[pause] Oh goodness. Actually other than, the disease, and that was a huge turning point in my life. It actually had some good points, I would have been living with him or anybody else for that matter. I was just too scared. I guess what it did for me was make me think, "Okay, you now know roughly what you're going to die of. And you know there's a possibility that you may die younger that most people you know. So start taking some risks." Now taking risks means things like, moving out of my house, into his, it doesn't mean, oh I don't know, walking across the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, I'm terrified of heights. It means taking emotional risks, and that I think is the most life-altering thing I've ever had. That's about it.