Tales of Vibrant America

The wondrous benefits of diversity in action:

On April 22, Baltimore resident Richard Fletcher looked out his window and saw two teenage girls fighting — on top of his car. He went outside to ask them to take the fight elsewhere, and was then jumped by approximately 50 “teens” and beaten within an inch of his life. The attackers crushed his eye sockets and broke his nose, as well as several ribs.

61-year-old Fletcher is now out of the hospital but facing medical bills of “$200,000 to 400,000.”

According to the Daily Mail, the teens kicked Fletcher until he fell to the ground and then continued to beat him once he was down. Police have since arrested 17-year-old Antoine Lawson, a 15-year-old girl, and three others in connection with the beating “and are hoping to bring all of the teens, who are believed to be students at Baltimore Community High School, that participated in the beating to justice.”

Teens. The vibrant youth, the hope of tomorrow’s America. Just remember, no matter what happens, diversity is good. And the Zombie Apocalypse is totally about the undead.

Repent, racist white people! Celebrate diversity! Surely nothing like what befell Richard Fletcher will ever happen to anyone who believes with his heart and confesses with his tongue that there is no such thing as race.

Speaking of a true believer, Glenn Reynolds directs us to the attention of a white male who is is burdened by his Original Sin:

I am a white, male poet—a white, male poet who is aware of his privilege and sensitive to inequalities facing women, POC, and LGBTQ individuals in and out of the writing community—but despite this awareness and sensitivity, I am still white and still male. Sometimes I feel like the time to write from my experience has passed, that the need for poems from a white, male perspective just isn’t there anymore, and that the torch has passed to writers of other communities whose voices have too long been silenced or suppressed. I feel terrible about feeling terrible about this, since I also know that for so long, white men made other people feel terrible about who they were. Sometimes I write from other perspectives via persona poems in order to understand and empathize with the so-called “other”; but I fear that this could be construed as yet another example of my privilege—that I am appropriating another person’s experience, violating that person by telling his or her story. It feels like a Catch-22. Write what you know and risk denying voices whose stories are more urgent; write to learn what you don’t know and risk colonizing someone else’s story. I genuinely am troubled by this. I want to listen but I also want to write—yet at times these impulses feel at odds with one another. How can I reconcile the two?

 My advice? Stop appropriating and othering, move to Baltimore, and start experiencing vibrancy in all its diverse fullness. After all, nothing makes a poet’s name like a young and untimely death.