Because I am a well-educated dark and queer person who is in the humanities, I was automatically enrolled in the activist internet, even though I really don’t do anything to participate in it. And I am okay with that. I enjoy reading peoples’ blog posts about how eating quinoa means that you’re killing Bolivian peasants or how the Human Rights Campaign is transphobic. It makes me feel very hip. Nor am I really in disagreement with the things that I read. I believe in structural racism and that we all have privilege and all that stuff.
But there’s also something a bit wearying about it. All the posts seem to hit the same point: America is an -ist society that is operated for the benefit of a wealthy, white upper class. So much time and intellectual energy is spent following this assertion and tying it into every little thing: poor people are being forced out of San Francisco by a rich white upper-class; or the rich white upper class is using its weird food habits to demonize the eating choices of the poor; or the rich white upper class is policing everyone’s body image.
(And many of the posts also have this weirdly unattractive tinge of apologia to them, too, because many activists were also born into the rich white upper class.)
And…sometimes I just want more than that. I don’t even know precisely what I’m saying. But someday I want to click on a link and feel more than outrage. I want to feel the world open up and be revealed. I’m not saying that I want solutions to these problems (I’m actually very uninterested in solutions). What I want is a new way of thinking about the problems. There’s nothing wrong with the old way. It’s just gotten boring to me. And I’m sure it’s gotten boring for other people too. It’s like in advertising. An ad campaign might be great, but, after awhile, everyone’s seen it. You need to introduce a new ad campaign just to keep people interested.