Legitimize Me

ImageIn light of the buzz following surrounding the whole Orson Scott Card homophobia business (in which a few people have chimed said more than I could–one, taking a bow from a work I’m sure he wanted to be a part of, but couldn’t due to the attention being taken away from the work…and for the record, I had wished he stepped down to make a statement about equality, not artistic integrity* [there were resulting effects]; the other questioning the disappearance the empathetic author of Ender’s Game), it seems like it’s time to have a talk. 
 
Not about that issue, as there are others who have already said it better than I could have. But about the issue raised by Ta-Nehisi Coates concerning the frisking of Forest Whitaker in a New York deli. It’s connected. Hold on. The breakdown is this: “the employee stopped Whitaker, accused him of shoplifting and then promptly frisked him.”
 
Most notable, however, is the thing that struck my husband Jon the most–that the author remarks on the fact that black people were not supposed to be a part of the American story. 
 
I told Jon I understand. There are people, “good people,” who have an ideal in their head (in the case of Scott Card–an ideal of marriage), and “the other” isn’t in the painting–not other nationalities; not other sexualities; not other religious views (as we are not true, legitimized Americans [sometimes not legitimized people] in not fitting the ideal). 
 
This hodge podge of society, an intricate and worthy patchwork, is not what they pictured, what they wanted when they imagined their ideal community and life. But hey, we have that in common. 
 
In fact, those very same “good people” have that dissonance of their ideals and reality in common with the folks who don’t fit their picture perfect ideals: this isn’t what we wanted either. Certainly not what we pictured. A place where we’re never quite welcome despite whatever way we might belong, despite the the growing odds in our favor. A place where the other is always trying to write themselves into legitimacy (particularly  if you ask Minor Re/Visions author Morris Young**). No. This isn’t what we wanted, either. 
 
Funny how that works out. 
 
*Not that artistic integrity isn’t important. It certainly is. In the face of making a statement such as that, though? Ehh…
 
**Great read. 
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