I used to think that I would be more viable and worthy as a person if I were a “Person of Color”. I used to believe the voices of angry people who projected their pain onto my skin. I used to believe I owed them something. I used to believe I was in some way fundamentally different from them, as if I were not as magical or worthy or wild as my fellow humans. I’ve decided to stop believing those voices, to exit the new cult of race-hatred that tells me I have “fragility” if I dissent. Now I know that Whiteness reflects light and color: some people get angry at that, aren’t comfortable with the mirror of my being, can’t handle how many different shades of paint are needed to paint the color of my impossible skin. The truth reflects their insecurities and false narratives back at them. The truth reflects your love and friendship and creaturely kinship as we co-create a future together. Your Browness is enough. My Whiteness is enough.
This little ditty was written for three magical, enlivening, frankly beautiful and soulful philosophy classes I was privileged to be a young student in. Every day I absolutely loved coming to these classes, because they were instructed by Professor Bill Graves at City College of San Francisco in the months around the date on which this post is noted as published, the date when I wrote this. I wish I saved all my notes from these classes. I often remember Mr Graves warmly and I wish I could see him and talk with him again. His bright mind, compassionate disposition, elderly life perspective and hilarious life stories spanning many decades, and soulful reverence of the interior life of the human heart all resonated with me, as if he was one of “my kind” of humans. He even had a curious bit of gentlemanly charm, shall I lightheartedly call it, for an old bloke. Maybe that’s how they formed the philosophical men of his generation. He was a dear mentor to me, one of many I have already been blessed to be guided by. Many good hours were spent talking together in his sunny cubicle about the meaning of life and the world, me crawling my amateur way through symbolic logic while he patiently smiled me along; it began my appreciation for mathematics I’d never known in my schooling heretofore. Mr Graves was one of those people you look back on and know they had a special influence on your intellectual and spiritual life. They don’t make real professors like Bill Graves anymore.
–Gentle J. Pine 7.31.2017
The Logician’s Prayer
To whom it may concern
may I not in perturbation burn
may I wisely use my reason
to return to the occasion
concluding in my weary mind
which by logic I am led to:
That first movement at the cosmos’ start
evident among us and in the heart
of all existence;
There undoubtedly exists a Something
even if a little bit;
Therefore, ex nihilo, nihil fit.
image source: Creative Commons CC0