Sunday

continued, thank you for your comments,

sunday sunday sunday, time to think and continue the conversation below -

first, thanks to people for conversing through comments.

if the dilemma i tried to express in the a vs. b format wasn't quite clear, here's a simpler breakdown (though i didn't really want to say it in these explicit terms) -

can white people talk about the oppression of black people?

there are a lot of variations of this question that all boil down to cultural appropriation and the intention one has when purporting to express something that is not organic to their background (that clear?); here another case that's less heated but similarly about culture -

on friday i went to see dylan murray at revival - great show, kid is talented, unsigned but bout to blow. check him out, he's a good kid, been going back and forth to JA for years, teaches english down there and keeps a recoding studio. respect.

i used to watch him sing at open mic night at irie on monday and i remember the first time i heard him i was awestruck because this lil' white bwoy has a voice on him like bob marley is his illegitimate father and when he broke into a track that went like this, "high grade weed a bun' inna de place, plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace" I wondered to myself, 'how many jamaica stamps does a canadian require in order to write a song as authentic as this?' I turned to infamous dj carl allen with this question and asked, "how many times dis bwoy gone a yard?" him say, "nuff," me say, "him sound good bwoy," him say, "trust."

it is important to note the difference in these two examples, but funnily enough i knew that my friend offended by invincible would similarly be offended by dylan as they both presumed to relay an experience that she does not agree is theirs to tell.

now i must add that my mother (whom i respect to no end and is not by any means "militant") was quick to state that she completely understands my friend's sentiment. she sighed and aired her personal worries in immigrating to vancouver in '86; now her child has grown up to close too "white" people and as such would be broken to accept this type of reasonable reasoning.

this is true, i have been relatively sheltered/blessed and i have never been explicitly/personally oppressed by white individuals in my short life in any way that has significantly broken my spirit or impeded my self-development (though my black skin has been trying in my fair share of situations) - that statement does not negate the fact that we all live in a world of white privilege - this truth cannot be denied by most reasonable people, black, white, yellow, purple, red...

here's how i feel - my experience has been that experience is not tied to race. furthermore race is often tricky; these days you can be born in tokyo and raised in luxembourg by kenyan parents and who knows where your allegiance would lie. even more worrisome is that skin and physical traits do not definitively belie one's origins, sometimes they deceive in fact. case in point: i appear "black" but i am half nigerian and half trinidadian (further caveat - indo trinidadian, east indian or south asian by was of the west indies; note that indo trinidadians are outright racist against blacks - interesting experience for me, e.g. my aunts love me dearly but ply me with bleaching cream) ... as such i don't think i could/would write a poem with reference to apartheid... hmmm, maybe that's the point.

either way in this complicated reality i feel that we cannot condemn each other by silencing each other. we can't lord words over each other. we ought to try to understand the full context of our words and use them with the most respectful intention and strive to communicate the part of every experience that is human - when this doesn't work (inevitable), be prepared for an earful.

oh lawd, my friend is gonna read this and tell me i'm a flower wavin, bleary eyed hippie on about, "give peace a chance" but seriously, i mean, c'mon man, give it a chance.

4 comments:

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