Monday, January 06, 2014

Jettisoning Dreams

It was the standard package; end of the world and you and a handful of randoms are trying to outrun the symptoms of that ending. In this case the continuing rising water. A train exploding. Too many of you in a small car trying to motor up a steep hill. 

(There is always some exhibit, some animal enclosure, that pauses the apocalypse. This time you found a dinosaur pen, and stood watching the dinosaurs, forgetting the rising water and the marauders entirely as those giants stomped about before you. The cage was far too small. They simply paced.)

Codeine to nix the pain and let you sleep sketched the details of this dream with more clarity than is usual, and you remember a flag. Made by your group of survivors to signify that not all was lost, you were a new nation and would rebuild civilisation. You, as a species, were undefeated. 

The flag was the Australian flag, but rendered red, white and black. This, it was explained, was to show that regardless of skin colour — black/white — we all bleed red, we are all the same. 

A nice gesture, you thought, except that it simplifies the idea of race to being only that of skin colour, which is insulting, and then presents that concept as a binary. Black or white, with black standing in for brown, yellow and red, so in fact being all colours not white, and white. 

After that you leave the group, and after stealing dolls, fighting rabbits and walking alone in the bush, you wake up. 

I read about, listen to and occasionally even engage in the discourse on racism in western societies regularly, and have done so for years. I'm all for replacing the current structures that govern our thinking. 

And yet, despite this, when unconscious and building a nation for the ground up, that flag is what my brain produced. What I created. Even as I analyzed and dismantled it. Nice try. But no. 

This is how deep racism runs. 

In me. And definitely in you. 

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