The last poem was prompted by an intense period of ridiculous things happening. These kinds of experiences are occurring more and more frequently when I am reasonably certain I pose virtually zero threat to most people. It’s a bit of a mind-bender in isolation, but looking at the state of the entire world, Australia can run backwards faster than you can. Check our climate policy score if you aren’t convinced.
At this stage, I would posit the state of race/class relations in Australia is significantly more disharmonious than your everyday person would have you believe. I am not going to back it up though. Here’s one of the ridiculous things that’s been in play for the past 1-2 months.
Workers near my place, long hours, too loud. I approach one worker to find out how long it is going on for and what we can do about it. She wouldn’t answer me so I called the company responsible and they made a plan. Response. 4 weeks of harassment from the workers so far. More details in the link.
I reached out a little to see if there were any local community members who could help with ideas (for keeping sane and not escalating the situation into something even more unmanageable). Here is how that is going: https://www.reddit.com/r/melbourne/comments/e8wknn/what_rights_do_contractors_conducting_civil_works/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x – good people exist.
I always feel as though I have failed somehow when I find myself in a racially charged situation. My mind gets stuck on — this shouldn’t be happening now, there is no reason for it and all my energy is put to work on not letting each incident escalate to the emotional stage.
Yet in so many interactions I have had this year (bar a few amazing friends that I rarely or never see in person) I have been required to swallow hundreds of negative racial images often left unaddressed through a sort of courtesy or expediency.
We’ve got some violent youth gangs and even though there are many races represented in these gangs, the African kids are in a distinctive number and therefore sole perpetrators and responsible for everything wrong in this country. I feel like every second person I talk to wants to orate on the topic and share their deeply illogical opinion with me – I call it African bashing.
I can’t listen to it. I wonder why they want to discuss it with me? In other ways these are not very stupid people — or perhaps they are. Inevitably my response is to leave, or break off communications with this or that excuse and for most of the last couple of years I have been very isolated as a result.
My impression is that the occurrence of racially charged situations is more frequent in my life than when I wrote Go Home, You Black Bitch back in 2012 and more on a par with, say 1979 than what I hoped for in 2019, perhaps because many of the incidents have quite a negative effect on my day-to-day living.
For a bit there I didn’t even want to try to take another breath I was so disheartened.
So it was my secrets I was trying to uncover, the secrets I have in response to the prehistoric racist ideals I am constantly being fed… secrets starting to turn ugly in the dark, and I wrote Private Neutral Secret to be there for me the next time I struggle with it and forget that I am colonised to the hilt and so is everyone around me. To recall that I reinforce it when I am not aware, and most important to me – there is nothing I need to do to overcome racism.
Doesn’t mean I won’t, but right now it is beyond me and survival is not, so we look there, at how we are going to traverse this period.
ps: now you all know why I keep disappearing regularly 😉