2013: A Quick Look Back
In two days we begin a new year. And so, I thought I’d use my final post of 2013 somewhat snarkily reflect on 2013 and make a few predictions for what might happen in the coming year. Here we go:
“Marriage equality” will happen soon enough, but that really wasn’t the fight to pick. 2013 was clearly the opening act for what seems to be the main event that will be the legalization of same-sex marriage in most places. What got subsumed in the popular narrative of this issue is that marriage is an inherently fraught and conservative institution that often doesn’t benefit those who are most often subject to oppression and discrimination–women, brown and black folks, poor folks, trans* folks. Moreover, the use of healthcare as a primary example of why same-sex marriage is needed does nothing but deflect our attention from the fact that everybody, regardless of marital status, should have access to health care. And frankly, healthcare shouldn’t be something bought and sold on anybody’s marketplace. After all, this is people’s well-being we’re talking about here, right? Anyway, I do not stand in the way of folks and their broom jumping activities. I do, however, think that if this is supposed to be the defining civil rights issue of our time, then folks in the next time should try a little harder.
....Paula Deen, Phil Robertson, et. al. are racists, etc., but that’s precisely why they’re on television. I wrote about this last week, but since the general tendency has been to take Robertson’s revisionist history to task, I think it bears repeating: I submit that the unspoken understanding that these folks are racist is what contributes to their popularity. Seriously. It’s why folks watch, waiting for that racist moment to chastise and punish so they don’t have to deal with their own shit. And the anti-whatever activists stay champing at the bit, waiting for moments like this so that they can up their image via open letters and other history lessons. If the Duck Dynasty crumbles the way Deen’s did, there will be another crew of southerners waiting to take their place in 2014.
No black life is safe. Of course, the story of the year for this site and others was the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. The effects of Trayvon Martin’s murder continue to reverberate in various ways. Perhaps the most resounding refrain, however, is that black life untethered to the prison industrial complex is, still, something regarded as disposable and worthless. One can hope that in the new year the effort is less about appealing for the recognition of black folks as worthy through traditional channels, and more of an endeavor to recognize that a new m.o., one that recognizes the beauty and value of blackness and black people, is in order.
Have a great start to 2014.