Many years ago, I dated Tupac.
While this statement is untrue, it belies the fact of the power that comes with being recognized, having attention and what is required to keep attention.
Much of my early to mid twenties was spent whipping up what I then believed was a serious balls out revolution.
I would lead the world by making Tupac fall in love with me or finding someone who looked close enough so that when I described him to friends he would be the reference point (then bust out into a chorus of Round and Round or Keep Your Head Up). While this seems utterly ridiculous 20 some odd years later, we all get seduced into those that have power, attention and influence because we are taught we have none of our own.
In our celebrity obsessed culture you better either be famous or desperately sitting around whipping up a way to become famous.
Sometimes I wish I could be 20-23 again so that I could tell the younger version of me to just hold tight that it was about to get worse (celebrity culture ) so don’t get so worked up by it.
While I have very few regrets, I do wonder if the time spent trying to be loved or envied by certain people or everyone was the best use of my time.
Like an effective community organizer , my time would have been more wisely spent exercising and understanding the sense of my own power.
Self determination and its very closely related relative, self love are often influenced by sources that are not designed by folk who have our best interest at heart. Instead, racism and white supremacy cajole us into thinking that if we are famous or are dating someone who looks like someone famous that our pitiful lives might have some meaning.
What does it say as a culture that many of us can tell you which famous person is in love this week and with whom but are unable to locate Mexico on a map ?
My obsession with Tupac was solely based on what society at that time told me I needed to desire.
If individuals are ever unclear as to what is important or what needs attention, the larger and more disturbing culture will point it out. Wise’s White Like Me, highlights not only the privileges gained via white skin but points out the ways that these goodies are consumed even without consent or knowledge.
White skin in this culture provides a number of opportunities and handouts that can be exploited for no other reason than whiteness.
Many times there are people that we love and care for who benefit from the aforementioned institutionalized racism. This becomes difficult to navigate when racism, entitlement and oppression rears its head.