Well, first of all these sisters were pretty clear that redemption was not going to be found in the typical masculine nostrums of nationalism or armed revolution or even that great favorite of a certain class of writerly brother: transracial intimacy. Por favor! If transracial intimacy was all we needed to be free, then a joint like the Dominican Republic would be the great cradle of freedom—which, I assure you, it is not. Why these sisters struck me as the most dangerous of artists was because in the work of, say, Morrison, or Octavia Butler, we are shown the awful radiant truth of how profoundly constituted we are of our oppressions. Or said differently: how indissolubly our identities are bound to the regimes that imprison us. These sisters not only describe the grim labyrinth of power that we are in as neocolonial subjects, but they also point out that we play both Theseus and the Minotaur in this nightmare drama. Most importantly these sisters offered strategies of hope, spinning the threads that will make escape from this labyrinth possible. It wasn’t an easy thread to seize—this movement towards liberation required the kind of internal bearing witness of our own role in the social hell of our world that most people would rather not engage in. It was a tough praxis, but a potentially earthshaking one too. Because rather than strike at this issue or that issue, this internal bearing of witness raised the possibility of denying our oppressive regimes the true source of their powers—which is, of course, our consent, our participation. This kind of praxis doesn’t attack the head of the beast, which will only grow back; it strikes directly at the beast’s heart, which we nurture and keep safe in our own.

- Junot Diaz (via, THE BEST INTERVIEW EVER - two parts)

This is the greatest interview with Junot Diaz I’ve ever come across and I’m very surprised it hasn’t blown up the internet in the way a lot of lesser race-related dictums do. Reading certain paragraphs made me tear up, not only because Diaz is a real writer’s writer - nuance is his calling - but because he articulates the anguish, the disconnect between being raced and talking about race and what it means for all of us better than probably anyone else I’ve ever read. For humanity. And I say that in the least hyperbolic, most hyperspecific way possible. Diaz genuflects in service of exposing the roots of our collective hurt.

He is important to me, and many others, in ways equally kind and capable white writers can never be. It takes a lifetime of sometimes barely perceptible daily frissons - sometimes so faint as to cultivate an ancillary paranoia - to articulate what it means to live perpetually on the outside of everything. 

I recently lent my copy of Oscar Wao to someone special, hoping it would spark a dialogue and limn my life’s intent, which mirrors Diaz’s to some degree. Fear prevented us from getting too deep, but I was thinking yesterday about how I hope he’s seen this. Because it is too important - to me and to the public discourse - and too hopeful a shift in public thought, to bury.

Hot Water Inc: Press Play? Hit Start

Hot Water Inc: Press Play? Hit Start