NOTE: I wrote this piece as a stream of conscious that merges elements of poetry with that of a personal recollection of how I see the world. This is far from an academic piece but I find value within artistic tellings of how events shape our perspective. This poem by Pages Matam and Clint Smith does an amazing job describing the toxic nature of the White Savior Complex. There are so many more works of art about this subject so please don’t let this be your only experience with that of social justice through art!
I stand in solidarity with you today because of the atrocities committed against world kind. I stand as a testament to those who are not able to speak in hopes that one day, their voices will be heard. I stand here not only because I desire justice but also because I, like many of those in this room, am grieving.
I am grieving over the disservice of basic human rights to all people. I am troubled by the ignorance that plagues our society. I am driven by all that is righteous and true and I am confident in our ability to create change. But first, we must realize where these feelings are rooted.
Grief is not a simple process. Grief eats at us in a variety of unique ways- some quick and vicious while others, others slowly become consumed by the Leviathan that grows within our tainted hearts and claims the lives of many who underestimate its power. My goal here is not to preach to the crowds, who may or may not listen, but to educate, encourage, and enlist you all into breaking free from the chains of our own naivety.
This piece is dedicated to all those whose privilege will never exist as I stand here upon my own.
Agony, misery, remorse, distress,
Vexation, persecution, affliction,
woe, pain, regret, lamentation,
grief, sorrow, gloom, dejection,
grief, despair, rue, torture, trial and tribulation,
grief, madness, anguish, uncertainty, hurt,
grief, destruction, isolation, desolation, alienation, abomination, aggravation,
grief, grief, grief!
Grief is… natural.
Grief starts with
Shock, disbelief, confusion.
refusal, rejecting, renouncing
Who, what, where, when, why,
Would have, should have, could have, might have.
Did it? Is it?
That can’t be.
To this day, it still astounds me that humanity still does not have the common decency of community. Yes, there is merit within the term “ignorance is bliss” but the fundamental function of denial is disturbing. This self defense mechanism is an abhorrent testament to our own humanity’s ignorance. I am bewildered at how the denial of genocide still prevails within society despite the numerous historical accounts of these atrocities. Holocaust? Many will claim it didn’t happen. Rwanda? Thing of the past. Bosnia. Ring a bell? Exactly. Congo. Imperialism at its finest. But let’s not forget China with the Mongols and Russia with Ukraine. China? Yep them too. Armenia, Cambodia, and Nigeria to add a few more. And let’s not forget America’s finest. Upwards of an estimated 100 MILLION native people’s wiped out from their own lands. ALL because of the belief surrounding “Manifest Destiny”. Nothing says irony quite like wanting “immigration reform” when we’re the original illegal aliens.
I am angry
I am irate
I am resentful
I am furious
I am indignant
I am fire
I am red
I am revolution
Burning, brimming, towering, devouring,
As Justice and Atrocity represents both Victory and Defeat.
Progress meets regress
As we Struggle with the Integrity of Authority and Belief
But really, WHAT THE FUCK. I am livid that we live in an era where so much injustice prevails. Riddle me this: Let’s talk about the fact that my “queerness” somehow creates “conflict” all because some two millennia year old book says so? Which, might I add, may or may not be true? Regardless of our broken translation and poor interpretations of this book, isn’t religion supposed to be preaching the ideals of “love thy neighbor” anyway? Not only this, what the hell does it matter anyway? What am I supposed to do, say I’m sorry for being affectionate towards another person who just happens to have the same 23rd chromosome as me? No! Fuck you. Bit I digress, because there is an even more pertinent aspect to our unfortunate demise. Our lack of analysis and attention span is a worrisome attribute that results in an atrophied state of mind.
We’re called Generation “Why” for a reason; always questioning, demanding, and pushing for more. But with this, we have slowly devolved into selfless and impatient people. When was the last time you have spent more than 24 hours without any form of technology? I sure as hell haven’t. I am so in love with the idea of A/C and indoor plumbing that I will still preach the values of “Environmental Justice” while sitting on my ass for God knows how long watching Netflix and enjoying the wonders of 3 minute Easy Mac. To top it all off, our attention span lasts no more than a couple months when it comes to world issues. Alas, I’m a victim to these misdeeds. A little introspection is necessary in order to understand our shortcomings further. The Arab Spring, Hong Kong, Fukushima, pretty much the entirety of South America and Africa- all of which have been shoved under the rug because America runs on palliative, profit, and procreation. In layman’s terms: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. All of these events that once struck passionate anger into our hearts are now distant memories that are cast into the abyss of irrelevance. Yet, there are a few events that are so deeply branded into my being that I still find myself angry. Angry that three perfectly respectable, honest, innocent Muslim students were murdered because of another man’s hatred and ignorance. Not only this, but these martyrs received minimal news coverage from mainstream media yet somehow we managed to spend over THREE FUCKING MONTHS on a missing plane in the middle of an ocean. And don’t get me started on the nuances of “protest” versus “riot” because GOD FORBID a white “boy” who shoots up a church gets properly labeled as a terrorist but a group of black “hoodlums” fighting for their basic human rights are painted as criminals without any second thoughts. And you know what’s funny? The real kicker to this giant mess? The fact that white people have the balls to claim that “third world countries” are “barbaric” when my white ancestors had the audacity to put a price on the invaluable essence of another human being. Buzzword: SLAVERY. But hey, according to the Republican’s platform, critiquing the “legitimacy” of America is “none of my business”.
Ignorance, insensitivity, disregard, bewilderment.
Can we? Do we?
Justify, vilify, crucify,
Regret, remorse, relapse
Who am I to judge others by their transgressions or injustices? Who are we to berate those who have sinned when we have sinned just as much? But what, what can remedy this scourge that ravages humanity? I am helpless to change the masses for I am mere man. How can I make it better? Should I raise hell in order to demand change or do I appease those who are against the goodness of mankind because I might get hurt myself, only to let it perpetuate in a cruel fashion. Violence, after all, leads to more violence.
In essence, I am burdened with one thing: Guilt
Is it something that was my fault?
Did I not do something that was enough?
Am I the one in the wrong?
Depression slowly creeps in as it suffocates my soul into a hardened cocoon of woe.
Yet, in my anger, I still weep in frustration for the maltreatment of the innocent and virtuous. I am forlorn for the lives that are given to the cause that they will never see succeed. Ferguson, Baltimore, New York- just to name a few. And this is only within our borders within the so-called “Land of the Free”. From the Bering Strait to the Red Sea and down to the wide expanses of the deserts that cover all the continents, I am distraught because of each unique loss. I am bitter that human kind lives in this eternal cesspool of despair and hatred that is fueled by the fire of a superiority complex that will never be fulfilled. A burning that will not rest until it has consumed every ounce of power, only to fizzle out on itself; leaving tiny embers that remind us of the pain we have suffered. Mostly, I am sad for the lost chance for those who will never understand the beauty of compassion, empathy, and equity.
I am a hypocrite to condemn those when I have committed atrocities myself. My whiteness is a testament to my privilege and inherent wrongdoings, just as my complacency with my own gender identity and bias perpetuates a violence that is only felt because of my inability to act. When my presence and existence as a man alone causes discomfort and uneasiness. It is a shame that society influences women to automatically associate their unfamiliarity with me as being dangerous. I don’t blame them. Men can be pretty awful and history reinforces this fact every day. It is both a blessing and a curse this identity I posses. The benefits of being Male. White. Cis. Abled… Queer. My queer identity makes me an outcast but also liberates me from the restraints of social norms. I cherish the adversity I have overcome because of who I am today but am still reminded that despite my own acceptance, my self-expression and condolences to others are overshadowed every time I hear the words “Hey faggot!” When all I can do is nothing and nothing results in even more anguish. This vicious cycle repeats itself again and again until everything is obsolete in its worth.
And yet, there is faith. To, embrace the merits of those who try to see and preserve the delicate web that we weave in our efforts to rebuild the bridges that are burned. A forest can only thrive after its destroyed by a fire after all. I embrace the challenges as they come and smile in the face of adversity for I am not alone in this struggle.
There is beauty in surrender.
Ignorance is bliss but
knowledge is power.
I am hopeful for a better future.
I am grateful for the progress we have made.
I am ecstatic for the time I have with the ones I know and love.
I am ready for change.