it was physical
but we didnt kiss
and we didnt have sex
but we made love
it was sweet
but something was wrong
This is basically a continuation of a discussion that began on a friend’s Facebook post by a white writer about Spike Lee’s rant on gentrification, and this would have been my next comment in response to one of the posters there had it not been this long, so I have moved it here. I am leaving names out out of respect for their privacy:
I hold my ground that gentrification is not consciously racist in and of itself, but let me be clear that this I mean in an individual context if that was not stated before. I never said that institutionalized racism does not exist, and so while I appreciated your explanation of how and that it functions, I can’t be placed in a position of dissent regarding that because I never said it was not a factor. What I am saying is that A: many of the white individuals that began the wave of gentrification are not specifically doing so in a racist manner in and of themselves, while they may of course still simultaneously be at the helm of a bigger, hive minded “institutionalized racism”. But we have to be very microscopic about what that means too. Institutionalized racism may very well mean that “people who have power over institutions and the system prefer whites over blacks doing x y z.” MAYBE. Def, in some cases for sure. I personally reserve the right to disagree with that, because hey, the dude at the top of our institution presently definitely has preferences for blacks to some degree, if at the very least in the realm of who his lover and wife and kids are, and while yes there are enough very much clearly racist people to say there’s hoards of people that cannot stand having a black president, we can also very much deduce that there are many grand factions of the American “institution” that will always have within them, whether or not it was stronger in the past vs. now, a desire to see diversity heralded. So we know that while the institution may have many embedded mechanisms that are racist, that institution is NOT fixed nor racist across the board, and the people of that institution to some degree or the another were at least at one point 51% “not completely racist” enough to deduce that the overall institution is not the same thing as the populus themselves. Ok. Now; centering back on the definition of institutionalized racism itself, what you have laid out is very much identical to what I described, perhaps another way, and YES reverse racism absolutely exists because racism exists from every angle you can look from. Now I’m going to come up with my own definition for it because in this type of debate clearly I’m not supposed to trust anyone else’s definition, especially wikipedia’s or Merriam Webster’s for that matter, because God forbid they were white when they wrote it thus contaminating my ability to believe in the meaning they came up with. So wielding my own God given powers of subjective reasoning, for me, institutionalized can very much mean that it is ingrained in the way an organization ( of any sort, thus denoting that an institution can be some sort of arrangement of people operating under a common set of values dictated by the group as opposed to the individuals themselves) operates, makes decisions, defines values, etc. That makes pretty simple sense and shouldn’t be too far off from any other definition. Institutionalized thus suggests that whatever the trait is, it is pre determined by the overall group and not necessarily defined so much consciously by every single person in that group. So, institutionalized desire to save animals (PETA, other animal rights groups), institutionalized pressure to be anorexic (the fashion industry in regards to its super models) and of course institutionalized racism (America… And…. Whites, usually and understandably the main group people are blaming this on…. And… France…. And…. The black government of Botswana as lead until 2008 by black president Festus Mogae, which wanted the bushmen, also black, GONE FROM THEIR LANDS because they were “Stone Age creatures [continuing] to exist in the age of computers”…. And… Blacks themselves, operating within a centuries old ‘pain body’ as Eckhart Tolle puts it; a pain body that they also SHARE with whites because the whole bloody country is addicted to race issues like crack whether they know it or not, but yes, many, though definitely not all, blacks as well, through our churches and families and friends and social channels are more likely to rally together and point a finger at a white enemy for many of their problems - which may nonetheless of course have originated in historical racism - but also problems of *perspective* that may have originated in their own, well, institutionalized racism. And it’s not their fault but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. There are blacks that collectively find it more comfortable and routine to put the white enemy at the top of the causes of their problems and direct that disdain towards every individual of the white population, when it is simply not true that every white individual is out to get them such as it is simply not true that every black person is out to get or dislike any other type of person. But yes, both of these groups, white and black, have a healthy ability to be “institutionally racist”).
So, we get what institutionalized racism means, but in being objective, we have to also “get” that such racism doesn’t only belong to one group and not others. If a white person is not accepted into a black school because of their skin color, that would also be institutionalized racism, or a black gang or a black film set or a black company or a black church, yada yada. And you know you can find these examples.
So we know it is not only one institution porting this racist capacity, and we know, yes, that white institutions port it too. So what we are really identifying, as I already mentioned I’m not arguing, is that the city and the landlords and developers and the police, must be inherently “white institutions”, right? That most of this country is in that sense a “white institution”, based on the statistics of the color of the people that have and majorly continue to run it, right? So then, yes, we can attribute that these institutions have historically existed as the echo of a very despicably racist cultural meme dating back to slavery and even outside the US for example during the time of the big-bootied-Baartman that was toured throughout Europe as a bit of a circus freak because of dat azz (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Baartman), and even the time of the story of Othello - hell, institutionalized racism or shall we say discrimination has been, please excuse me, was also “natural” even with the JEWS vs. JESUS JEWS before he was martyred, creating Christians.
So the second point you are highlighting, my labeling these waves natural.
It is natural because humans have ALWAYS been discriminatory and racist, and because man is a part of nature too. As is birth, as is death, as is love, as I murder, as is predators eating feasting upping pray. The universe is as destructive as it is creative in this sense, and it is all “natural”.
So while I was not actually describing institutionalized racism as natural, it in fact it is because it is how things WOULD shape up in a country like this. Defeating and recoursing that change would also be natural, because it is a natural and virtuous response to such racism because all of life is in fact “natural”. So that argument goes out the window - it’s all natural. He hit me is natural, so I hit him back is natural. But humans are a different type of natural, in that we are sentient, so ok, fair enough: in that light if we are arguing whether or not it is “a conscious decision”, is that if there is somewhere affordable for someone to live, it is natural that they will consider living there. What’s affordable to that person might not be affordable to someone already there, but capitalism is not always kind, and by it’s nature, capitalism (which is not sentient and does not even have one human body, but whose participants are and do) is going to start charging more money when a neighborhood becomes more desirable. And white people are going to have more money because they always have. But some blacks and Asians and Indians and and Hispanics Muslims are too because they either are rich too or they can hustle hustle get it get it, because the hustle is natural too.
Now, nonetheless, on the whole, YES, the institution in these scenarios is favoring the white race because they most likely have cash, and human eyes black or white have developed the trait of equating whites with cash and blacks without, even if that is fucked up or incorrect in reality. Again, that point was never argued.
But it is as “natural” as many different little air pressures building to cause a storm, because it is built upon eons of all of those little factors both you annnnnnnd I laid out (so again, a common theme we both provided which confuses for me what exactly you’re arguing as we are talking about the same thing), and these things DO NOT begin with one white person waking up and deciding to go kick everybody out of Brooklyn, but it is a part of a wave that is bigger than any individual. So yes, it’s institutional ( which is simultaneously natural because it’s human nature)and as I stated before, the smartest of communities would identify that (as many including Spike are) but this is where we actually might disagree, but you tell me:
At that point of identification, versus SIMPLY complaining about it, something has to be done, and if that something is equal to or greater than *as* *institutionally* *racist* as the original wave itself, then there is no hope for humanity because we have hypocrites at the helm of every ship in the sea. So, as also stated before, the most virtuous agency at that point of identification of the issue is BENEVOLENT UNCONDITIONAL ACTION, and at that, action that strives towards a, no matter how impossible utopia is, utopian goal nonetheless, because the results of a utopian pursuit, however short they fall, will always be more progressive and full of lessons than a pursuit that seeks to maintain the status quo and keep everyone separated, divisive and, well, institutionally racist.
To be clear, this means working on a sociological level to create an environment that protects the livelihood of existing families (which, no, is not being done well at all today) while also not discriminating against people that, in their individual psyches, are just moving to asylum they can, individually, innocently afford, in a coveted emerald city. And mind you, even Spike stated in his subsequent interview with Anderson Cooper that he’s not against people moving wherever they can move, he’s against the eradication of a good culture, as we all should be. But hey, culture WILL always evolve on this, the planet Earth, so the point here is that the trick many white AND black AND otherwise colored peoples are not pulling off is to make sure the roots are never separated from the tree, even as it sheds, even as it blossoms. Hashtag Coexist.
And now for a sweepingly generalized profile of favorite Christmas songs by the signs:
Aries - Jingle Bells: they’re the only ones actually doing all of that stuff
Taurus - 12 Days of Christmas: They love shopping. Especially if you do it, and then give stuff unto them.
Gemini - You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch: But during Christmastime on even years, you’re quite nice.
Cancer/Scorpio - Carol of the Bells: Such a deep, twisted yet somehow magical if not exalted song.
Leo - March of the Wooden Soldiers: but they’ve arranged to have this song played for them when they wake up any morning anyway.
Virgo - This is Halloween (Nightmare Before Christmas): Doesn’t really like stuff out of place, and Christmas is just as non-normal as Halloween to them (a shock which they still haven’t gotten over) so for the sake of organizational simplicity, they lump all winter/fall holidays into “Halloween”, they’ll don’t really care about the details as long as they can label it as “other” for now.
Libra - All I Want for Christmas Is You (Maria Carey): Libra rules partnerships.
Sagittarius - This Song: #1 Xmas Christmas & X-Mas Parody Funny Songs and Parodies – Fuck Xmas (X-Mas Parody Funny Anti Christmas Scrooge Humbug Cunt Santa Calling Remix Country Song Now That’s Redneck Comedy):
They’re just tired of people being sentimental, especially because their birthdays are lodged between two sentimental holidays that are about others.
Capricorn - Scarborough Fair: The Melodrama!
Aquarius - Jupiter Winter: Didn’t anybody tell Sufjan Stevens that Christmas songs aren’t psychedelic?
Pisces - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy: The lucid dream that veils it all.
I don’t know what it is about travel that inspires one to write. Not that one doesn’t already write, but that one is now thinking of the act of writing as on equal footing with visiting Regent’s Park or biking from Shoreditch to the Embankment: with a bit of joy for what is coming up, joy for what you have to either spit or swallow in the coming act, provided you are not exhausted.
Oh whatever. Oh, well, travel always forces you to be newly awake, because all of these little differences you encounter force you to, at the very least, be alert, if not intrigued. Travel to a dark dungeon with foul smells will wake you up just as travel to a rainbow colored field of tulips bathed in clean air will wake you up, as long as you are not completely jaded in/by frequent habitation of either scenario and were not born and formed in these places.
I always am hyper aware of how ugly the outlets in London look to me, or how weird the smells of things are such as the air inside a very cool elevator, or how all the food is packaged so much smaller and doesn’t always list the protein content when I’m leaving the gym trying to look and feel good because its a habit to try and look and feel good.
In this window, of being awake, you also start to notice things that are actually the same everywhere, but you are more aware of them because they are being presented to you in a new frame. Black people stop and ask white people questions on the street in all sorts of cities, but because I’ve always been very interested in the black British accent, when these black British people stopped and asked the white British people about whether or not XO’s hip hop night was open, I was fascinated to be able to hear this exchange between two groups of friends, and even more fascinated with how nonchalant the exchange was, even though its just as nonchalant in New York. But it was fascinating because I was awake mentally and because no matter how far Americans progress through race relations, I was born into the context of American racial distress and have since always been fascinated by the mirror race relation between black and white in other countries that don’t have the history of American slavery. In London, the whole thing was very easy and comfortable from appearances, the only downside being that neither the black kids nor the white ones gave me much attention when I inquired about what kind of club they were questioning (just to buy more observation time - I was really not about to go to a hip hop club due to my stomach issues preventing me to drink and due to the fact I was also very interested in seeing if I could find some hot gay club for the sake of an exotic experience, hence my strolling through the streets in gym attire hoping that would somehow make it irresistible to run up to me and tell me where the best club in town is without me having to do any work. Didn’t work). Either my gym clothes made them think I wasn’t cool enough to really go into detail about the club, my American accent reduced the amount of info I would be given, or them being drunk (or British) just meant there wasn’t much to say. They mumbled something about it being a hip hop club, looked me up and down, and basically said “don’t even bother”.
Being awake makes even this fascinating, though not necessarily positive or negative as an experience.
Watching the sun rise at 5AM over London is like watching an initial sunrise, because it is over London, and not New York.
Meeting a handsome lad earlier whose experience is similar to a condition my brother is managing was also a very awake thing, because not only did I stumble across this kid on You Tube via a fascinating and uplifting video he made during another awake period of my life (when we were first learning about my brother), but I was meeting someone from the internet in a park in London. It meant you could pull people off of the computer if you just bought a plane ticket; or at least, they could invite you into the screen.
We walked and talked at length about the intricacies of how the mind can alter your perception, mood and sense of personal balance. I left with a wealth of insight into mindfulness, excited to later impart this to my brother, who was excited about the new philosophy and how it might assist him in his journey. My brother gave me a chance when I suggested he also remove gluten from his diet, and has stuck with the diet noting he feels it has made a positive impact on the weight of his mental experience. I am beginning to see the fruits of actually sharing all of those wonderful ideas you have, and being persistent with bringing them to life. I’m excited to explore mindfulness with my brother, alongside gluten free glory and just being awake in general, because though being awake by nature forces you to be more focused, it also allows you to develop better and better “spectacles” to wear in your future journeys, that will allow you to see more new things and interpret different cuts of the fabric of the world in different places without being rattled by them, whether these things are unsightly and dark, or pretty and light. For, you know, people live here and people live there, and people live with this and people live with that, and you often can get to thinking your experience is both mundane and simultaneously unique, but the truth is, its all a cut from the same fabric, and a lesson from one place can be understood in another, and an outlet will still give power here or there, you just might need an adapter.
A translation. Translation is a key tool in advancing, and sometimes you need that very different element in order to see how its not quite so different after all, but that the coating is simply a different formula. And then you are speaking a universal tongue. And then you can take one thing and use it as a reference point in a manifesto about another.
I took this trip to get away, but not completely in a punch-drunk-forgot-what-I-did-last-night way, but to get away to a lofty viewpoint, where I can look back down at Earth because I now see London, and France, and New York, and hopefully less than underpants. And from here, I can find some common links that I can’t see from just down there. And the more often I am able to do this, the more differences I see, and thus the more similarities I put together and the more universal I feel.
I also know that I am in some sort of transition where I am being forced to be awake because I’m stepping from one part of my life into another. To travel sometimes is a good interlude, because you have to pack everything up, and in that process you review everything you’ve been holding onto recently, and then when you’re away you keep accessing those things but you also buy new things and you have to sort of squeeze these in or toss out some old things, and then by the time you are coming back to that new chapter, you’ve seen a lot of things about yourself, old and new, and put them in that translator against the rest of the odd things you’ve seen on your trip, and you create your universal self that has framed itself and sifted and sorted these bits of itself before stepping into that next chapter.
Did you find yourself? Well, to be honest, you were never lost. You were just a little unorganized, and you will be again. But that’s important, that you do go through that, because in being forced to pick up the pieces and make note of whats odd or out of place, you’ll be forced to sift and sort again. And yeah, it takes a little bit of energy, because its work, but it won’t always feel like work because it can always be fun: especially if traveling is the translator.
No matter what, when you step across the ocean into that new chapter, you’ll have most likely reviewed something in order to know which foot to put down first. You might not always be able to justify the price of the flight into that transitional ocean, and you might even know if its technically/morally right that you attempted to take that little interlude. But if it feels right, its usually right, and is ultimately good for you and those you care about in the long run.
You’re probably getting a lot lot lot out of your crazy excursions. I just want you to know that.
All the money
you can’t help me
if you ‘re the one that hurt me
i am responsible
for following the tone set forth
and i am responsible
yes for following it
and as well for the echo
but the past is the past
and i’ve made some changes
but new tones discordant
try as i may
are nonetheless discordant
and change can be a mighty process
all the while blood must come
my plan may not be popular
but its the path of least resistance
within the tone set forth
and no one should be harmed
if we’re all on the same page
and most shall gain
for oft what seems like a problem
is simply a misunderstanding
in a myriad of pathways
to where we’re trying to get
my plan may not be popular
but i’ve taken everything into consideration
and this should get us there
they said many things
they kept it artful
but only time will tell
what it really means
even if they already know
you can see the rail winds
up through the valley that seems to rise
such that you’d call it a mountain, the way it seems to reach the sky
we little people can only see so high
and where the rail disappears
into the sunset
you’d bet that’s where you’d get
strapped down on the locomotive yet
ordering coffee or tea, and trying to get some sleep
even though its the middle of the day
while you imagine for what it is your saving and why for not now
but for late
but of course you counter balance
with Libra somewhere in the sky
what if further ahead there’s a bridge
where you die
how can the rails past the sunset
be as here as now where you’ve been set
and yet all these years you’ve been waiting
to see past the sunset
you want to count to speed it up
because you just can’t wait
but alas, the rails dictate
that physics are greater
and especially the physics of time
greater than what you will in your mind
for as soon as you sat down in the chariot
you gave up your footing
and you got in line
they mentioned the rails go far
and the fascination of touching something here that is also there
they kept it artful
the understood it well
and sometimes they looked concerned
and they checked to see how fast things were coming along