Friday, July 25, 2008

Veneer

It's very easy, if you're white and middle-class like me, to assume that we live in a more tolerant world than the one of, say, 30 years ago. That prejudices once taken for granted are now equally taken for granted as unacceptable. And yet if you stop and listen, it's amazing how quickly you'll hear casual, unthinking prejudice raise its voice in the most adamantly liberal quarters. I count myself lucky to have friends who face this at first-hand, because it gives me a second-hand view, which is better than ignorance. Whether it's the funny voices of those funny foreign people with their funny foreign names and extra melanin, or the utter lack of awareness of the issues involved in day-to-day getting about if you're disabled, or the assumptions people make about people whose chromosomes developed rather differently to most of us, or those who fuck their own sex, don't assume that because we don't have advertising like the picture above (memorably featured in the film of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World) we're necessarily better than we once were. Just not quite as gob-smackingly awful, all of the time.

Other people have fought battles to bring us even the tiny step forward we've come, and one such man was Julius Eastman, whose remarkable music I've been listening to and will write about soon.

I'm just as bad as anyone else, of course, it's just that I have people in the immediate vicinity who keep me aware of the awful thoughts that lurk within. Everyone's a little bit racist, after all.

Cue music...


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