To Box or Not to Box; That Shouldn’t be the Question

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mahershala-ali-moonlight-oscar-meme_twitterIt’s a new month and as I am having my last day in the office to embark on a travelling lifestyle and a location-independent working life, it’s all about new beginnings. I feel very excited and most ready to say goodbye to office life and be my own corporate pimp and to see fabulous places with fantastic people.

Oscars So Diverse, my Arse

Last Sunday was Oscars time again and seemingly a totally different affair compared to the last edition. Last year the Academy Awards were shrouded in ‘controversy’, as no person of colour was nominated for a golden statue of a naked guy and as a result, several actors and other film-people of colour, like Will Smith and Spike Lee, boycotted the event and the hashtag OscarsSoWhite, or something similar, was trending like mad. At that time I was arguing that perhaps people of colour and other ‘fringe people’, shouldn’t try so hard to get a piece of that overly corrupt pie of convention. Perhaps we should bake a new one with anyone who’d wish to join. It seems this year, the ‘Gods of Hollywood’ wanted to make up for the colourless travesty of last year and throw ‘us fringe people’ a massive bone consisting of no less than four Oscar winners of colour in the most important categories. We should rejoice! Yet, I ain’t celebrating. I haven’t seen any of the award-winning films, so I can’t say anything about that. However, many an Oscar-win is more a political affair, rather than being about pure art, entertainment or crafts(wo)manship. This year, the black folks were allowed a piece of the Oscar pie, just in case you thought Hollywood was racist or otherwise not terribly inclusive. The media made a big song and dance about the wrong ‘Best Picture’ Award being announced. Shock! Horror! In case you didn’t know PriceWaterhouseCoopers is sponsor of the Oscars, the firm issued an apology to gain some extra free publicity. Yes, do call me a cynic.

To Box or Not to Box

So, the question is; should we, folks of colour, really be happy with this Oscar acknowledgement? I am sure the Oscar winners are delighted, as they have joined a very exclusive club. It’s just, if you would like a different, more inclusive, less dog-eat-dog system, should you join the current structure and try to get on top or change it from within, or build a new one from ‘scratch’? Or could one even do both, to have eggs in both baskets?

Convention can be refractory. What the dominant system is offering, whether it is so-called liberal democracy, capitalism masked as corporatism, or creating money out of thin air and charging interest on it, can seem like it’s the only option available; far from ideal, but we have make do with it. We are often encouraged to ‘think outside the box’, but very few advise to get rid of the box all together. As I am in favour of developing a new system rather than attempting to fix a broken one, you could ask me; so, the Rosa Parks, Martin Luther Kings and Mahatma Gandhis of this world did it all wrong? Well, no. Especially these people, with their superior, non-violent approach, got what they wanted; either civil rights or an independent country, by non-complying with the system. And also, whichever decade you pick, the 20th century was a different time. There was much more obedience and trust in one’s superiours. Throughout the decades humanity has learned that this trust is not always justified. Then there is the world wide web and other technologies that have changed the world beyond recognition. Because it was okay and successful then, doesn’t mean we should do it now.

It’s not that I have all the answers and that is not the point. It’s not the point to let authority figures, of whichever kind, tell us what to do, how to think and what to feel about what. It’s about one’s own journey of discovery. So what do I do? I start with escaping the corporate prison and lead the lifestyle that suits me best. All the rest is to follow.

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