Mid-flight digression on racism (8:15 a.m.)

The next poem from Yoon Yong, you can read the 1st poem here.

 

Mid-flight digression on racism (8:15 a.m.)

…I think it might be racism.
Am I a racist?

Is it racist not to feel
an aesthetic pull to another race?

Can Asians even be racist to white |
middle (age) class | English men

just because they find them | on the whole
“ugly buggers”? as my landlady

in Birmingham often described others.
Can you learn appeal | like digesting dairy

or coping with the aftermath of spicy food?
“Once nature was tabulated | the idea it could took hold

& we wriggled inside reality’s appearance |
with a microscope | becoming

deceptive in the act
— thus the grammar of modernity began…”

14 thoughts on “Mid-flight digression on racism (8:15 a.m.)

    1. I am pleased with the response to this, I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but people seem to appreciate the inversion, which relieves me no end. I wanted Yoon Yong to be complex & insightful, but being pretty much the opposite of her it was very difficult to think how to do it. I am still worried whether I have helicopter landed myself into a lake of thin ice, we’ll see as we go forward.

      1. Well the poems are all written, over 50 in total, which have been through several drafts now, so I don’t think I’ll tamper much more, but just let whatever plays out play out.

  1. I like the way you delved into the question of mutual perception here, Daniel. Perceived beauty/appearance, so in the mind, and quite changeable, although I’ve noticed for some people, it’s stuck, with mental formations that might come from childhood.

    1. Yes, beauty isn’t necessarily rigid, I would argue that despite what advertising & Hollywood would have us believe, there isn’t a standard as such. At least I don’ t think so.
      However, in my case you are correct about childhood formations of beauty, I always found Asian women attractive as a teenager, then I married a Korean & still think Asian women are (dare I say) more beautiful than Western women (slaps his own wrist).
      I am still not really decided on whether personal standards of beauty are correct, as we move further away from the animal in ourselves. Let’s be honest we are such an anomaly to nature that we can perhaps reason this away, but then, how to form relationships without some gauge for determining a match? It’s not an easy question. I think best thing is to not have negative biases, & to accept your preferences as instinctual. Such a hard thing to talk about nowadays. I just don’t want to offend anyone.

      1. I agree, Daniel, and is hard to talk about, especially in public. At dinner with my half-Latino family we let it fly. I think we’re all different and tend to base things on our own experiences, why wouldn’t we? I’ve seen it with “country” too. Some people so strongly attached to their home, it’s a part of them, and others, perhaps a little like me, more in the breeze.

    2. Steve, I feel Daniel raises a question here that bares the soul to the core. I think we do feel a lack of attraction to other races by nature. In America the Civil Rights Movement and the willingness to treat minorities with respect has been a fight well fought. The vitriol the Right unleashes with their unmasked hatred of minorities and other language speaking people has made us lose valuable ground. It’s happening in Britain, too. Intolerance. As well as in India, Myanmar, Israel and the Middle East—there is an endless list of countries where hatred of the other cancels out civil behavior. Humanity has the ability to rise above it, unlike the chimpanzee. I lean toward the idea that hysteria is what has made us incapable of dealing with the feelings of fear of other people. We are reverting to a system of clans and tribes for a sense of security—this is bad.

      TL;DR: Sometimes to overcome ‘racism’ it’s necessary to raise the “other” and their culture above our own. It’s the lack of this attitude that is eroding human kindness. Each one is fooling themselves thinking they are better than every one else.

      1. I mostly agree, Pablo. Everywhere, empathy is disappearing, the greyscale, the complexity of the truth is lost, in every group. My own experience about “lack of attraction” by nature is, however, different. I think it’s often a very fluid and variable thing.

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