Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


The American Dream Through Mirrors and Windows

People in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.

― Marie Rutkoski, The Winner's Curse

A lot of white people--especially men--in the U.S. are angry right now, and I think the article below excellently captures a very essential part of it.
Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

― Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress
Except that quote's not entirely accurate because poor minorities and women have never felt that dynamic to the same extent, if at all, as white men. It's the white males who have the privilege in our culture, and who most identify as "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" pursuing the American Dream. Oluo articulates it wonderfully.

The Anger of the White Male Lie

Somebody really does need to stop telling these white boys that they can be anything, and that they can have everything. Because it is not true, and it was never true, and we’re the ones who have to pay when they find that out. . . .

White male anger is steeped in a lie. It is fighting for what they were never going to have. For the promises that were never going to be fulfilled. White men are the only people allowed to fully believe in the American dream and perhaps that is the cruelest thing to have ever been done to them and the world that has to suffer their anger as they refuse to let go of a fantasy that we were never allowed to imagine ourselves in. . . .

Why were they all supposed to have powerful or rewarding work? Why were they all supposed to have loving and beautiful wives? Why were they all supposed to be exempt from recessions or layoffs or just plain old bad luck?

Why were they supposed to have everything when everybody can see that there has never been enough everything to go around?

Being rejected by girls will be a valid reason as to why a white man drives his car into a group of women. Being laid off will be a valid reason as to why a white man opens fire in an office. Being “frustrated” will be a valid reason as to why a white man leaves bombs on the doorsteps of black families. Being unpopular will be a valid reason as to why a white man shoots up a school. . . .

Maybe instead of telling white men they can be anything and they can have everything, we should start asking why they ever thought that everything was there to be had and why they ever thought they deserved it in the first place.
Of course, I did the very white male thing of quoting only the parts of Oluo's article that mention my category, and not the parts describing how she and those like her feel. I've provided the mirror for myself but not the window into other experiences. Yet I can't reproduce the whole thing, and we're the ones who need to change, so I pulled out the central parts of that message.

And because you can't see through windows if it's dark outside and you have your lights on. We need to be willing to turn off our lights to see into those dark places.


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