2016 has been indescribable, and I really mean that. Mostly I find myself completely helpless to do anything but daydream… Dreaming to escape a world currently holding a gun to all of our heads…
But the more I dream of escape, the bigger that gun becomes. The island utopia in my mind slowly grows into a looming volcanic threat. Then I remember…
We can’t escape, no matter how much we dream. So instead we have to dream of a better future, and set out to build that future together. I’m scared of the years ahead, as are many of my peers, but we can’t let that rule our lives. Of course oppression and bigotry suck, but we’re not powerless.
Recently I began to re-read Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” which I first read in high school. I won’t go into detail here (yet), but the story is a powerful one. The protagonist is a mid-20th century black man, but his struggle is still widely shared (sadly). Through his experiences, he discovers that his “invisibility” while on the surface seems powerless… beneath that his real power is immense. We the oppressed DO have power over our oppressors, not only because they fear us, but because they can never TRULY SEE us. Ellison introduces the book with two quotations, one from Melville (yuck) and the other from T.S. Elliot.
HARRY: I tell you, it is not me you are looking at,
Not me you are grinning at, not me your confidential looks
Incriminate, but that other person, if person,
You thought I was: let your necrophily
Feed upon that carcase…
T.S. Eliot, Family Reunion