(In)Justice. I read this as, “all justice is unjust because the system in which we have justice is flawed. It even perpetuates what we would call ‘injustice’; in fact, justice means nothing now because our society has corrupted the very linguistic notion of ‘justice’.”
But I think that was just me.
I went to the Word of Mouth Story Slam event on Thursday and was met with differing opinions on what this theme meant. I contributed anonymously via ‘my story in a sentence’: “Hither and thither: to revolt learn read become more, but less unbe burn unlearn–Thither and hither.” It was supposed to be a Joycean commentary on how concepts are cyclical and that we take, for example, injustice to incite revolution and learning and helping “progress” society by working through mistakes. To do so we must unlearn all that we’ve been taught, burn all that we’ve loved, and keep on pacing back and forth.
Because what we fight for today might not be what we fight for tomorrow.
All the people that presented were white, arguably heterosexual, of (at least now) upper middle class standing, arguably cisgendered. I’m not trying to say that injustice can’t happen to people of privilege, since that is whom the system was made by and working for, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The emcee framed the event by placing it within the context of MLK day and Black History Month. What came as a result were talks of upcharges on meals, inner greediness, and sharing stories that weren’t their own. At one point people made fun of the prison system, criminals, religious identities, and intersectionality.
The space was unjust for those that were there. The space got unsafe for potential stories and potential learning. The space had so much potential.
Having the event at Work Gallery was the best decision. This was an aesthete’s version of heaven. The band, The Good Plenty, played by the entrance and welcomed you into a space that was filled with white, blank walls and a few pieces of artwork. The light reflected off the white tin ceiling into a spectrum of color. Upon moving to the heart of the space, cheese and crackers and punch and dessert lined the aisle way. My mouth was greeted with red pepper spread and goat cheese. Doubling back to view the entrance, my face saw the beauty of the band playing and the people mingling.
What was beautiful: the sense of community. In one story someone shared that what they needed most in their moment being unjustly treated was love, family, support, and community.
In this terrible world what else can we strive for?
It’s now that I realize that one thing I can do in my life is to strengthen my relationships. I can work harder at being there for my friends, to provide a stronger support network. I can try harder to not hate love and all the trouble and mess it causes. I can seek out new relations that will help fill the void that I feel as a (cough cough) modern subject. So even when the last story was shared, the last cracker eaten, the last note played, the last coat grabbed, I could feel that even if I didn’t enjoy the stories (or their messages) I could still come away with a new goal. I could change myself into someone who loves more. Who is positive more often. Who shares and listens to stories, with open ears, everyday.