“Somewhere someone is thinking of you. Someone is calling you an angel. This person is using celestial colors to paint your image. Someone is making you into a vision so beautiful that it can only live in the mind. Someone is thinking of the way your breath escapes your lips when you are touched. How your eyes close and your jaw tightens with concentration as you give pleasure a home. These thoughts are saving a life somewhere right now. In some airless apartment on a dark, urine stained, whore lined street, someone is calling out to you silently and you are answering without even being there. So crystalline. So pure. Such life saving power when you smile. You will never know how you have cauterized my wounds. So sad that we will never touch. How it hurts me to know that I will never be able to give you everything I have.”—
I often tell a story about a conversation I observed in a feminist theory seminar that I participated in about a decade ago. A white woman was explaining to a black woman how their common experience of oppression under patriarchy bound them together as sisters. All women, she explained, had the same experience as women, she said.
The black woman demurred from quick agreement. “When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror,” she asked the white woman, “what do you see?”
“I see a woman,” responded the white woman hopefully.
“That’s the problem,” responded the black woman. “I see a black woman. To me race is visible, because it is how I am not privileged in society. Because you are privileged by race, race is invisible to you. It is a luxury, a privilege not to have to think about race every second of your life.”
I groaned, embarrassed. And, as the only man in the room, all eyes turned to me. “When I wake up and look in the mirror,” I confessed, “I see a human being. The generic person. As a middle class white man, I have no class, no race and no gender. I’m universally generalizable. I am Everyman.”
Lately, I’ve come to think that it was on that day in 1980 that I became a middle class white man, that these categories actually became operative to me. The privilege of privilege is that the terms of privilege are rendered invisible. It is a luxury not to have to think about race, or class, or gender. Only those marginalized by some category understand how powerful that category is when deployed against them.
“I’ve decided to stop caring about things. If you care, you just get disappointed all the time. If you don’t care, nothing matters, so you’re never upset.
From now on, my rallying cry is, “So What?!”—Calvin (via calvinnhobbes)
We grow, including the intellectual and the spiritual, without being deeply aware of it. In fact, some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is what is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It…
“I tend to think that one’s mind is mediated by two characters: one is a critical one and the other is playful and childish one. And we’re inclined to let the critic have a bit too much sway in that balance. And so quite a lot of the procedures I use are intended to catch him off guard for a little while so that the playful person can come out.”—Brian Eno (via austinkleon)