People enjoy a lot of satisfaction in making things harder and more complicated than they need to be. If things are complicated but you understand them then you can congratulate yourself on being smart. Most of the congratulation is for thinking you’re smarter than others. Which is stupid, really, since everyone is smarter than someone right down to a single celled organism. Way to corner the market, hoomins!
There are plenty of things that truly are complicated in this world like quantum theory, psychology, anatomy, and the formulation of fast food recipes. But I would like to posit that a lot of things we pretend are complicated are actually breathtakingly simple. In positing this I can already hear a thousand argumentarians sharpening the knives of their acid wit and flexing their muscles throwing the javelins that will pierce my stupidity and win them medals of – I don’t know – a stale bag of Jolly Ranchers?
I think making things complicated assuages our conscience’s shortcomings and our natural emotional responses to things.
To say that problems like racism, sexism, all forms of bigotry, and colonialism are simple isn’t the same as saying they’re easy. Please investigate the nuance of that difference before objecting to it.
Racism is not a complicated issue. People all across the world have developed insidious and harmful hatred of people of other races than themselves. Every race is guilty of this. It’s that simple. But in my own country the worst and most corrosive racism is the systemic racism that has blossomed out of white people settling on a vast piece of land that didn’t belong to them, stealing it, committing genocide against the native (brown) people who lived here already, and then importing predominately African slaves and building a nation on the backs of those slaves and building an infrastructure that disproportionately benefits the needs and wants of white people over those of the free black and brown people “sharing” the country with them. That is a simple outline of what happened and led to the awful racial tensions that started the civil rights movement which is still going on today. The facts are simple. White people want to pollute it by throwing out a million examples meant to excuse their behavior. Meant to support the infrastructure that protects them against having to share opportunity and neighborhoods and schools and resources with their free and contributing black fellow Americans.
There is no defense for racism. None. zip. Zilch. There is no race that is intrinsically superior to any other race. There are no facts that support such fucked up beliefs and I don’t care if you’re black and trying to show that white people are intrinsically inferior or if you’re white and trying to show that black people are intrinsically inferior to white people or Asians trying to show that Mexicans are intrinsically inferior.
It’s all a huge steaming wet pile of fucking BULL SHIT full of maggots and covered in flies. I don’t give a fuck what race you are – there is no defense for racism. It’s that simple.
But in my country the worst offenders by far are white Americans and right now there’s a growing number of black and brown Americans rising up in a refreshed civil rights movement – outraged by disproportionate police violence against their communities, outraged by the insidiously common inequities they experience every fucking day of their lives that white Americans don’t experience.
As a white person it’s hard to listen to sometimes because I have a super pale skin and I come from a family of racist northerners (not my mom or step dad, but the rest of them to some degree) and I find the racism of my forebears shameful. But I’ve been listening a lot in the last couple of years because if change is going to happen, if racism is going to be eradicated, you have to LISTEN. EVERY GODDAMNED ONE OF US HAS TO LISTEN. You have to listen if you’re black because you need to stand up and be counted and shout out and say no to the oppression and unwarranted violence. You have to listen if you’re white because you have to understand what non-white compatriots are experiencing. You have to HEAR THEIR STORIES. And you have to do it with an open heart. Sometimes it hurts because I know that what’s in my heart isn’t this racist cancer I’m hearing about. The stories about white oppression of non-whites is painful because oppression sucks. Oppression more than sucks, it rots beautiful lives.
None of that is complicated. It’s simple.
The same is true of gender issues, religious issues, and class issues.
In so many ways I was born ancient. I’m an old soul. I’m a curmudgeon, a snappish old turtle, a rock that’s weathered the earth in one too many bodies. Yet there’s a part of me that has retained a child-like quality. My friend R has noticed and commented on this a couple of times and she is, I believe, the only person who has ever called attention to my child-like qualities without being destroyed by my laser-gaze of disdain. It’s because I know she has seen a part of me that’s irrepressible but invisible to many. I call it my “spaz”. This relates to what I have been talking about in a fundamental and important way.
If I could speak unfiltered, if I could express myself freely, truly freely, in all company, I would show you all a pretty blinding “inappropriate” level of enthusiasm. It’s peeled free of crust, of careful thought, of concern for gentle respect.
I would see everyone’s color and gender and background and education and origin and nationality and musical tastes and passions and celebrate the fuck out of it all. Fuck pretending race and gender and nationality don’t exist – let’s celebrate all that stuff that makes us intrinsically WHO WE ARE.
I LOVE BROWN SKIN THAT SHOUTS SONNETS TO THE SUN, THAT EXUDES WARMTH AND SPICE. I THINK THE DARKEST OF DARK SKIN IS LUMINESCENT AND IT TRANSFIXES ME WITH ITS DEPTH. I THINK PALE SKIN LIKE LANTERNS IN THE NIGHT, WHETHER LIGHTING PATHS THROUGH TRAILER PARKS OR THROUGH WET DARK FORESTS ARE ENCHANTING. I SEE OLIVE COMPLEXIONS AND IT MAKES ME TASTE THE NECTAR OF DESERT FLOWERS AND ANCIENT RESINS. SALLOW COMPLEXIONS ARE LIT FROM INSIDE WITH COLD PURE SPRING WATER, SHINING WITH MINERALS AND BLUSH WITH PEACH IN CONTRAST.
I would say these things, shout these things the moment they enter my head if I wasn’t afraid of reprisals. If I wasn’t afraid of giving offense by noticing people’s differences.
Maybe it’s childish but I see beauty everywhere and I love so many strangers for what little I know of them. I have a special love for transgender people. To say it sounds asinine. I can’t explain it. I feel protective of people whose bodies don’t match their identity. I don’t always have the proper words to discuss it, I’m not always up on the right and constantly evolving terminology, but I feel love there I can’t explain and don’t know that I should have to. Sometimes you understand something with your soul that your words are always trying to catch up with and never do. It’s not complicated.
Love is only as complicated as you make it.
I don’t always say the right things. I’m a fallible human being always in the process of personal evolution. But my motives are simple and full of a desire to always choose love.
I get angry sometimes and lash out unreasonably against people or institutions. I say regrettable things sometimes. I misunderstand people and have rough interactions. I’m an introvert who isn’t really rooting for the human race as a whole but who geeks out constantly on amazing human individuals. I WANT to be inspired. I WANT to choose love.
Doesn’t mean I’m a fucking imbecile.
But often I meet people and I want to say things like “YOU’RE GAY? THAT’S SO FUCKING AWESOME!” and “YOU HAVE BREASTS AND A PENIS AND A GREAT SINGING VOICE? I FUCKING LOVE THE CRAP OUT OF YOU!” and “YOUR BROWN SKIN IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FUCKING COLOR I’VE EVER SEEN!” and “YOU’RE THE OLDEST WOMAN ON EARTH WHOSE BOOBS ARE HANGING AT YOUR ANKLES AND YOU HAVE THE BEST SMILE I’VE EVER SEEN AND I WANT TO BE YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE SO FUCKING GORGEOUS!”
That’s how simple it is. Not just for me but – PERIOD.