2/10/2012

This is a message to anyone who has been told over and over again not only that you don't matter, but also that you don't exist. For all you wonderful gay gentlemen who are asked innocently enough at work "what's your wife like" not because of any particular malicious intend but simply because "gayness" in invisible. And I see you wince and hesitate. Or to that gay young girl who is swapping stories with her new friends at college about their first time and carefully chooses each word. Minding her pronouns, because while she might not feel comfortable telling her friends that her first time was with a girl, she also doesn't want to lie about it. This is for anyone who learned 'world history' in school and learned that where they're from has no history, nothing has ever happened there. Or at least nothing that matters. You may have learned the difference between Athens and Sparta but not between the Mongols and the Huns. For anyone who after 10, 12 years of school cannot name a single African king, or a single civilization in Africa besides Egypt. This is for people who learned US history but cannot name a single Native American tribe, did not hear the story of the little big horn, or the trail of tears. This is for anyone whose history has been erased. This is a message for all the Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Korean and other kids who went to school every day and learned their history, and then went to another school because your parents wanted you to know our history too. Or our culture, or language, or traditions. For all the kids who are asked every day by teachers to "have your mom help you with that" or "have your parents sign this" and burn at the assumption that they live with their parents. To all the invisible people, hello! While it is a privilege to slip under the radar it is also a burden. Take pride in your own story, which may not be there story. Which may not be told in school or in books or movies but go search for it. Learn your own story, learn who you are. When you do not see your face reflected back at you this world can be a cold and lonely place. When your holidays are not recognized, your heroes not lauded, your struggles dismissed, it eats at you. But hold strong! Your story is not my story. Your struggles are not my struggles. But that doesn't mean we can't empathize with each other. That does not mean we are invisible to each other. Whether you went to Hebrew school or Russian school you still went to afterschool. If you're looking for ancestors at Ellis Island or Angel Island, for a connection with the tribes of Africa, America, Or Israel, you're still looking. If you feel ignored or forgotten or erased, find yourself, know yourself, show yourself. This is who I am. I will not apologize. I will not be who you tell me to be. I am not who you want me to be. I do not fit in your tidy box, and besides, if I'm all scrunched up in there like a tapestry in a box who will be able to see how beautiful I am?

AN: this was brought on by a bunch of things. Partly one of my teachers asking the class why we always identify with the victor, why the history we learn in schools is "our history" even when it doesn't apply to us. Part of it was that I am sick of being an invisible minority and then having someone dismiss my complaints because other people are worse off. Part of it was reading Bell Hooks on Marginality and another reading I forget who it was by on the power of anger. And also I think that a lot of people feel alone. Especially probably people on here who reach out to reading and writing as an escape from that lonliness. And all these people need to start seeing each other and recognizing each other.

Anyway I hope this resonates with you. I appreciate any and all feedback even if its flames