February 20, 2009

Somedays, I give up more than others

So those of us that actively try to change people's minds & ways of thinking--whether it be racism, sexism, glbt issues, ableism, and whatever we're all stuck in the ground with--surely, SURELY we all come to the point where we just say, "Know what? Fuck it."

I have those days a lot. With my so-called battles with racism (I feel like I just need to add "in the South" every time I say that) and Ignorant!whitey I just look and say, "Okay, you aren't getting it and I've explained it on a kindergarten level several times, get out of my sight." I feel awful defeated, which is sad because I've been told that one of my worst traits is I give up too easy. Which...you know what, I really hate repeating myself. It's not that I give up too easy, it's that you try too less to grasp simple damn concepts (this is one of the stages of grieving I think).

So, I just say, fuck it you aren't getting it and I'm not going to make you, just stay ignorant (*sings: "Not payin him any atteeention!"*). Occasionally I delude myself into thinking that moving up north will, somehow, make it all better and I can just relax, and sip my Starbucks coffee and look upon the troubles of the world like a playful toy. A bit like an episode of the Twilight Zone. But obviously that doesn't work now does it.

And then sometimes I think of the poem "If--" by Rudyard "Behold the White Man's Burden" Kipling which is funny to me. I had to memorize If for English III honors and it thus traumatized me for a while because I had a horrible experience with it, but sometimes, I think of a few choice particular stanzas (it is a long poem after all) and it somehow makes everything better:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

And you know, it ends, when I can do all these things I'll be a grown ass Man. Sure it's rather androcentric (I just taught you a new word) but I think it can still apply. I'm not sure why those two stanzas just stick in my memory, on the whole I don't think I even like the poem all that much. But you have to say they're rather true.

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