MLK Day 01/15/18

When we divide this country along color lines, we may conclude this holiday means more to those of us with African ancestry. Ironically, as a result of the wage gap (See graphs C and D below), one may conclude an unproportionate number of workers with African ancestry may be clocking in today as a result of their daily job duties remaining vital to day-to-day function.

Although my position at my place of employment is vital to continued function of the organization, I have today off. My job can wait one day for my attention. And yes, I am what society considers “White”. That is to say, I have mostly European ancestors. Recently, I chose to go into work on a holiday. A friend/co-worker told me in jest that I was too “White” to be there on that day. If I gave credence to this notion that the colors of our skin defined us as people, I may find the idea that my friends who happened to have darker skin work more today than my friends who happened to have lighter skin objectionable solely because I considered these friends to be profoundly different. But, if this thing we call “race” does not define a person, we cannot draw lines along “race” here.

It has been said I, a “White” male, could not possibly understand what it is like to be a “Black” person in this society. I once heard a friend of African decent tell a friend of European decent that any claim a “White” person made about experiencing discrimination was unfounded. His claim seemed to state no “White” person could possibly know what it is to experience discrimination. One could conclude, as a “White” male, I don’t experience the same kinds of discrimination my “Black” brothers and all of my sisters experience regularly. But this doesn’t mean I don’t know what it is to be discriminated against and even targeted by police as a result of demographic information.

We all have powers of empathy. We tend to empathize most with people with whom we identify. With this knowledge, we may see how claiming a person of European decent could not understand the discrimination a person of African decent faces works as a self-fulfilling prophecy. To say we are so different works to put greater division between us. Perhaps it is my liberal upbringing, but I rejoice in the fact we have come as far as we have and weep at the thought of how far we have to go. I can’t say this holiday means as much to me as it does to you, because I’ve never been you. But, for the same reason, you can’t make any contrary claim.

Any inequality as a result of a bias system is unjust. I do not revel in the fact that our current system is unbalanced, even as I benefit from it. Still, I can’t help but feel that continuing to draw lines between “races”, perpetuates a system of inequality. My point here, if I have a point, is that while it is important to recognize the division, the injustice, we cannot let this division divide us further. This division is arbitrary and only works to oppress us, ALL of us. It is only when we come together that the powers that be will be no longer. When we stop allowing ourselves to be divided, we may see the real problem, the real cause for starvation and homelessness, the real cause for those of us without to continue to go without, greed. I’ve said it before; The best cage is one the prisoners cannot see. And today the bars of this cage look an awful lot like skin color.

 

(https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2017/september/disappointing-facts-about-black-white-wage-gap/)

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Answer to Eternal Sunshine Circular Timeline Theory

It has been theorized that the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is meant to represent a circular timeline. That is to say that Joel and Clementine maintain a perpetual system of falling in and out of love before having their memories of each other erased. As eloquent as this theory may seem, I like to think it is not accurate.

I like to think, even as Joel and Clem accept their relationship will not work, their experience of finding each other again and gaining understanding of their previous relationship together would inspire them to do things differently. Perhaps their understanding of their incompatibility causes them to give more care to the relationship this next time around. For me, the saddest moment in this film is when Clem says to Patrick no one she has dated has ever given her a piece of jewelry she liked. In this one utterance, she reveals how her relationship with Joel was different, was special. It makes sense to me their first time around would work as a cautionary tale for their second attempt. Going into this second effort, they already have a great tool at their disposal they didn’t their first try; they have their Lacuna tapes. They have a road map of major issues they may hope to encounter and may plan ahead. Of course it’s quite possible they would’ve listened to their tapes and realized their willingness to jump in head-first a second time was hasty. At the same time, how much better would all of my failed relationships been if we could’ve gone into them with complete honesty? Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but those scenes of Joel and Clem’s happy relationship falling apart seem as though they could’ve gone very differently if they only knew more about each other’s needs. If Joel could’ve given Clementine a little more space and if Clem could’ve been a little more considerate of Joel’s feelings, their relationship could’ve felt much more like the Light and Day – Polyphonic Spree music video. The scene most emblematic of this disconnect is Joel’s final dream scene. He and Clem are at the beach house:
Joel: I walked out, I walked out the door!
Clementine: Why?
Joel: I don’t know. I felt like a scared little kid, I was like… it was above my head, I don’t know.
Clementine: You were scared?
Joel: Yeah. I thought you knew that about me…
It is true no relationship I’ve experienced feels anything like that first, getting-to-know-you stage of romantic love after a certain amount of time. I’ve often described this stage as sex and elation. But when that fades, I’d like to think, if we care enough about each other, something stronger may grow out of it.