Intelligent Anti-Racism Should Look Messy
You cannot be truly “anti-racist” — whatever that means — until you are comfortable and honest about your relative hatred for every group, that is including your own. If you cannot see both the inherent and conditioned flaws in the group you were born into, how can you possibly see the beauty and strengths of those you perceive to be other?
Not until you understand your disgust with everyone can you truly love anyone, because you must not know them, and how can one truly love or embrace that which one does not know? And how can one experience no hatred or disgust with that which one truly knows? They cannot. That is why there can be no true “anti-racists” — whatever that means — outside of diverse environments or below the age of 25. The former cannot truly now; the latter cannot truly hate. These psycho-emotional experiences are mutually interdependent, as they exist for ourself within ourself. Deep down, on a level no one else can understand, we love ourself, we cherish ourself, as a result of self-knowing, concurrently filtered through the daily rigors of self-hatred.
We disappoint ourself. We wish we were different in so many different ways. We wish we were better, as we define it; this experience transcends race. It has nothing to do with the details, whether we wish our hair straighter, our curves curvier, skin lighter or darker. This is the human condition — a fixation on imperfection, Buddhism’s “dukkha,” or suffering as a result of focus on that which is lacking. It’s what we all share in common — this obsession over our flaws, but then have the temerity to claim the flaws in others to be the result of victimization. This is naïve denial at best — blatant dishonesty at worst.
Anti-racism — whatever it means — is not an ideation of absolute equality, but a dropping of the fetishization of the other. It is a realization that we too are the “other group,” we too are assholes with voids and a need to melt into one. It is a chaotic mess of criticism and acceptance, anger and understanding, isolation and excitement. It is love. Like a marriage, we can hate and love each other in the span of the same day, even in the same moment, as we do ourself.
“Woke” — whatever that means — is mis-defined, appropriated ironically, by reactionary tempers fueled by the internet when it should be radical open-mindedness fueled by the street level trenches. Along the subway cars, in dark parks where needles are shared, dark alleys where deals are made, on the football gridiron, at hip-hop shows before Biggie died, between the bed sheets of biracial couples, between their screaming, cursing mouths just hours later, and light years away from most cubicles and Zoom meetings: That is where you might still be able to find shreds of anti-racism. But it doesn’t look the way you want it to. It definitely doesn’t look how the muggles’ media portrays it, and its end game best not be notches on the belt of the matrix. That is not woke — that is spiritual death and a fate worse than inequality.
Don’t get it twisted. Most of you have not yet hated enough to understand love on an experiential level. You intellectualize it, you obtusely hypothesize based on memes based on echoes, but you don’t do not. To love you must first integrate, then in isolated moments hate with all your heart. Then recognize their insignificance as isolated moments. Instead you romanticize the current narrative, an image of being right or righteous, and in turn you sleep well like the mindless, the non-neurotic who enjoy the luxury of never waking up.