In novel hues

I realized this morning that I find racism boring. Is that weird? Not the horror of it’s tragedies, but the body of commentary in their wake: the artistic depictions, social media reflections, academic analysis. I haven’t heard a perspective or individual experience of racism that has surprised me in a long time.

I find it amusing (encouraging, but amusing) to see wealthy white executives write sober admissions to the world about their newfound recognition of racial privilege. It’s inspiring to see their personal growth, but also akin to watching bears stunned by the fact they are in the forest.

Yes: we’ve been here all along. Did you assume all the world was green?

Conversely, I read beautifully written novels and painful memoirs and collections of caustic poems by today’s black authors, each shimmering with exhausted fury, creaking under accumulated generational dread, and I feel a disquieting monotony. Just as repetition bleeds words of their meaning, flattens them into sound, each story flattens into its primal element: pain.

And while sharp pain can shock us into the present moment and compel us to move, chronic pain fades into the background. We resign ourselves to chronic pain. We accept it. It hobbles us, and we let it.

There is the poisonous banality to something as intrinsic to human nature as bias. Boredom is a kind of desensitization, and we are less likely to act on something we don’t feel.

I wish I wasn’t bored by racism, but I am. There is a lack of revelation to today’s stories. A part of me waits for the artist that finds a way to paint in novel hues.