Brown Boy

ig: @snapshotsteve


Where do I fit in the conversation? I’m not White, unfortunately. I don’t identify with Black people. I’m straight (enough). I’m healthy, college educated, young, incredibly handsome. I’m not Mexican. I’m versed in Standard American English. I don’t claim a persecuted religion or culture. I’m Steve the fucking gringo, first generation Ecuadorian-American who can’t speak Spanish to save his life.

This puts me in an interesting position. I don’t look the part of the Privileged White Male, but I share more in common with this archetype than any of the others. My voice is a White one. Somewhere before my creation I traded White Guilt for the occasional racial gaze. Go me.

My position in the conversation becomes even more interesting because of my deep connection to the freedom of speech. I fancy myself a writer, a free-thinker, and a competent communicator. I don’t believe in silencing speech, with very few exceptions (child pornography, for example). I don’t believe in silencing people, or removing them from my life because of what they believe to be their truth. My generation has a knack for this mass censorship of ideas that are contrary to what they believe is “right” or “forward thinking.” It’s all very boring. I believe that people can learn from anyone. The racist you’ve dismissed might be a mathematical genius working on more efficient, cleaner methods of producing energy. That homophobic Mormon might run a soup kitchen for the less fortunate. Etc. Etc. And that Social Justice Warrior with the apologetic White Tears might touch little boys on the weekends. Who knows, who cares. The point is that if you’re looking for truth, look for it. That racist really bothers you? Open dialogue with him. Keep your mind open and learn from him. Maybe he can learn from you too. Whatever you get from that interaction will be far more meaningful than dehumanizing him. Also work on yourself, what the fuck makes you so great?

My generation loves censorship as much as it does labels. “I’m a SJW cis male feminist.” Or “I’m a Brown Boy.” Labels are so inaccurate, so limiting, so boring. Do I really need to know you’re a feminist? It’s 2017. What does it even mean to be a Brown Boy? Who’s mans is this? We label because it’s efficient. Why take the time and effort to get to know somebody if you could just make a generalization based on appearance and turn the other way? And why bother putting the effort into being interesting if you could just write HARDCORE LIBERAL on your forehead and wait until you find a matching forehead to speak to? I have a good idea that labeling is a product of evolution. People labeled dangerous animals and plants to know which ones to avoid. Now people are using that same instinct on people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. It’s all very silly. Everything is silly. Nothing matters, the world is dark dark dark.

Know the pieces. Play the game.