Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun
– Clifford Geertz
It may not be my place to deface an extract, such as the one above. The quote talks about culture, aiming toward the idea of the significance we have built whilst tilting our head toward the reality that it is nothing more than a Human spun web. We are so beautiful, so is the vibrant presence of culture and difference. By identifying the bountiful ways of the Human face, it is easy to place some significance on importance, race, building hate and tying one’s own ideas to a scenario near fate. Maybe it was not our place with our darker skin or fuller lips, apparently wider hips and morals which apparently skips the quarters of reason to be placed within a white Society. Where everything right and true must be demonstrated through a white lens, otherwise it simply does not make sense. I have spent a large part of my life catering to the white image whilst something did not feel right. I say that as I lived freely thinking the differences between race were not so commanding. It is only now still in some idea of youth I can point at some truth about our Society. The reality of multicultural Britain is a myth, we are not so represented in the corners that matter, such factors gradually destroy and make your presence in life so meaningless. In this article I want to follow on from my previous post on depression, touching upon my own experience more but really to show how the white face dominates our perceptions.
There was a period my soul was crushed, before I believe I even had one. It is not something I associated with a position placed in the World by a hopeful God, but a disposition so strong it directs the flow of who you are. How disrupted this point of my being was, I forgot happiness and replaced it with rage, mere nuisances became a great pain. I used to be so proud and strong, different. Enthusiastic and energetic opposed to lethargic and paranoid. My own madness made me change, even though I was always somewhat deranged but now I cannot even claim to be sane. The true pain is losing yourself, not being able to choose yourself, how you will act or feel today or in that moment – hoping not to appear so grey, praying on a lucky roll to show how I used to be so colourful on my day. My angel, a great close friend, approached and taught me more about mental health, an idea I kept reserved for the mad people on television, the broken celebrity or the mentally sick my younger self used to encourage being a prick to in public. One man used to scream, rage and entertain violence – even on a young teen. It would seem he was in the wrong as the adult, yet hyper active and vile youth could seem so too but we were seen as never so strong or matured enough to harm him, you would think. Another was teased, you shout his name he goes skitz – charges at the direction of his name shaking in his troubled frame. This behaviour to a homeless man, morals find me if you can. Then I did not know or understand, I did not want to – the idea of mental health can slip and slide into the most extreme case, which at that time was always marked by a white face. I felt widely so unaffected, was never taught or pointed toward an empathetic study of such people. Just warned, you do not want to be seen as insane for once they pop one or two pills into your brain you will never be the same again.
This angel spoke to me about how I was feeling, she knew it all from my younger days to the rapidly changing me. She could see where I was heading and wouldn’t allow me to, so she offered an ultimatum which made me move and by her advice I went to see a Doctor. After a few tests and discussions my Doctor stated I suffered from severe depression. Not much changed, it is just feeling and knowing your brain is playing tricks are two different things, two different battles. A victory on this waging war is never assured, though in knowing more about these conditions I managed to work with myself to this position today. For that, she will forever be great and in my heart she has a permanent place. You should have seen that comatose look on my face, you could probably still see it today. Despondent and lifeless, with a mind forever active, weed intake is indeed subtractive but the lasting feeling is some sort of madness. One not epic enough to be mimicked on the big screen or alluring enough to make the most attractive women lean. It is rarely sadness, more a type of fedupness, an intense feeling of something but nothing building in the chest. A soul-like bullet proof vest, where it keeps out my own normality instead of led. It is why I am constantly on the edge, on the move, in order to prove I can make something of this life that has my body mind and soul caught in a steel web.
What do you do when you know you are depressed? I mean, I could easily go on Tumblr and collect an array of existential quotes, or reblog notes and take in the aesthetic. Tweet a few times trying not to sound so down, watch a TED Talk or two – those inquired understandable views. I just never really found an actual answer to give, one that works immediately at least hence I never really openly talked about my experience. I wrote that previous post in order to host an idea of depression by what we have been nurtured toward. We deal with facts and examples, reverence and drama. I say that because science has a relationship with truth, although it is more so near truth by what we know. I mean even in the respectable field of science the researcher has a value orientated bias, where they seek to show an idea having the results manipulated by their inquiry. Have you noticed that? When a surveyor proposes a survey and the answers aren’t that of a thinking Human being, but rather an answering one who has the questions before them, it shows there is bias in the structure. As we witnessed with these shit surveys on Muslims in the UK questioning whether they support ISIS or not. Noticed it throughout my life, those surveys or articles presented by the media on issues that have gravely affected us – us being the multicultural people of Britain, they are rarely proposed by us, hardly conducted by us, the solution ends up in the hands of the white men in Parliament who barely have use for us other than our votes. They speak with people aligned with their views, never tackled the realities of this land.
How maddening must it be, as a Muslim to turn on the TV to see another news presenter associate your faith with terrorism. They glorify Katie Hopkins as controversial and exciting, whereas an outspoken Muslim can be painted as enticing terrorism. I imagine it to be a worse type of grief, yet growing up during the times of the heights of knife crime I understand. I was never so immersed in the worst of it, but recognised the reasoning and drive toward such crime. Why it was so hard to let everything go, when you are Black, poor, threatened and or caste as hopeless with only your idea of self-respect and pride to show. Or simply sucked in, encouraged toward such a lifestyle – it is the only thing you have known. Even from back then, the feeling of being some sort of outcast or knowing what is before me is not exactly meant for me. The Eurocentric education, the stereotypical nation represented through TV and the perverse media. The lower expectations and displacement as a minority in this “multicultural” Society. So many angles, little representation and as a result I feel we have many people stuck between cultural and traditional methods for life which does not transition wholly into this Society. It can make life so destructive for someone, as with the example of depression and other mental health issues I feel we are letting ourselves die out by disbelief, we’ve not been taught to believe it affects us so much. For me, the reason being is Humanity in such a Society serves the white man before anyone else. Then white women. What follows as we break down the wholesome of Society are people who have been stripped from the idea of Humanity.
Representation is key, you see what life is really like for people – the spread of awareness allows us to grow instead of throw harmful ideas into the mix. My studies concerning depression allowed me to watch these documentaries: Stephen Fry’s The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, Rachel Bruno: My Dad & Me which explains her relationship with her Dad, former Boxing Champion and celebrity figure Frank Bruno. The media is so devilish, they tore that man down. On top of his own afflictions, being a Black man as well, the Hell of being a celebrity with such pressure does not allow us dwell on the fact that he is Black and mentally suffering. So absurd since such brutishness has been associated with us, a propensity to crime, rape, evil in general almost. How can such dark painted beings host the idea of Humanity? I also watched another documentary touching upon experiences of British people who suffered, only to be presented with white faces. We all suffer, yet showing that we all suffer is incredibly important. To leave our homelands, where life may not be set up in such a similar suffering way, and live in another catered to white image – we need to acknowledge that we can be depressed, mentally ill, . Our cultural and traditional methods or answers are not always correct, especially the desire for religion which for many is the ultimate answer. Realise these Societies are not for us, we are secondary and so is our humanity in comparison to them. Our identities do not transition here so smoothly. Hence we must creates institutions that will host ideas that educate and help us out of this secondary status. More of a communal effort. It sounds so fancy, I personally see this practically nearly impossible yet we have not wholeheartedly tried. There is no drive to see a concentrated Black Community, those that may have prospered into a collective that inspires us wholly have been damaged. Time and time again, not just in recent years but in the past. Our presence in this Britain has always been stifled and parts eliminated. How do you expect people to prosper when you poison their community?
This idea of Humanity we have allows morality to be our guide, an understanding of people’s and the dire effects of life. How Raoul Moat can be a troubled man, a paedophile rapist described as a sex offender like Gary Glitter reasonably disturbed or any of those other “controversial” famed men, Saville and such, who are so incapable of being disgusting human beings without an array of excuses or character glorification. Then you hear of a child, a young impressionable person joining ISIS or heading to Syria to fight after they wrap their heads around some realities. Those realities being the murderous intent of European powers to add to the destruction of Syria, the widespread disgracing and intimidation of Muslim people. The horror of being mocked and abused until your views change to be radical. A young mind not knowing what to exactly do to battle this stigma, but wholly held accountable by adults who inspired this pain and stigma. Of course every situation is not the same but using a brain it makes no sense to protect abusive and crazed men like you’re Annalise Keating but not shed an ounce of empathy for your own adopted people, in this Society that is supposedly for all of us. A Black man caught for a crime is an unreasonable thug with no mind. As we saw with Mark Duggan they will take away the possibility of an honourable perception. Manipulating images, presenting one side of the story and digging up ideas to destroy the possibility of sympathy or respect. Grime too, an art form that represents the rage, harsh lifestyle, energy and commanding strength a lot of young Black men experienced growing up in the past couple decades in London. Depicted as a nuisance, inspiring of disgusting ways, violence, anti social behaviour and murder. Ideas plastered on the young Black face.
Or how about areas which are “notorious” because of a minority populace, in recent times and historically uncared for by that, like Brixton, Peckham, Hackney – which are hotspots today since they are gradually suffering by gentrification. The old occupants are being pushed away, alienated and mark a presence unwanted by the economically and image focused directors of these changes. Look at this quote from a somewhat neutral resident:
I have been to Broadway Market several times and I think it can feel a little exclusive. Not because of the prices exactly, but because of the majority of people who go there it all seems to be hipsters and whether you like them or not, it can feel strange to be surrounded by the same person wherever you turn.
I live in a street with a cool cafe and wine shop and when there was a celebration a couple of years ago for the Queen they threw a street party. It was really obvious everybody there knew each other and no regular people where invited. None of the kids in the council flats or their families on my block went. Nobody but the hipsters who run the shops and their friends – it was a bit sad. How could you go along to what looked like a private party in the middle of your street? I was annoyed actually at the time, I thought it was very arrogant of people who had moved into a neighbourhood to do that. If another culture had done that they would be accused of not integrating, and that is exactly what it was.
However, I have only been in Hackney for four years now but all my friends and neighbours say how safe it is now compared to before. I can walk across London Fields late at night and feel safe with lots of cyclists and mild-mannered, drunk hipsters milling around. That’s another thing – they drink so much coffee but still they just sit there staring at their laptops. The cafe in my street is so quiet it is like a really cool, boring library.
The concentration of gentrification itself, has leaned toward the expansiveness and cool vibes of these hipster like movements. Concern regarding the alienated populace is rarely raised in places it matters. White middle class outcasting the working class, the mostly foreign populated working class areas. Our living, health or social issues are never on the radar unless it is to the detriment of Society. We never receive a piece of the cake, we just witness it being baked as we are pushed further away.