This is not a pejorative statement. I like science fiction. I write science fiction. But it is a truth that I think is unabstracted from the skin you inhabit, thus sometimes difficult to see unless you've had certain kinds of out of body experiences. Not the type of experience that comes from crystals or chanting, but the kind that comes from trauma, near death, narcotics, or a mind that refuses to shut down after the third day without sleep. Then, you are a satellite collecting data.
The American dream is science fiction because it looks forward to a place carved out of time and space and dense with the illusion of permanence. The American Dream is walled by a blinding white event horizon. But if you somehow make it inside the Dream, you are bound only by the strength of your desires, your own gravity, and you have the power to reshape yourself. Rearrange your being into something upon which histories of the old country bead and roll off into black and white photos and Polaroids of family members whose names you've been told but never committed to memory. This, like most things, is not good or bad, it just is; initially existing beyond judgement in the same way as an asteroid hurtling through space.
If you should be so lucky as to make it into the dream without tearing yourself to bits, you will find that community is certainly an option. It is not something required for survival, but if you've crossed over, social bonds are guided by only two principals: level up to your final form and be as white as possible. White is flexible as the mitten in the snow as all sundry of fauna squeeze in. British, French, Russian, Italian, Catholic, Protestant. You become milk in color, in language, in tastes, in accepted history, in hegemony. I said before that you must have an out of body experience to see my point, that the American Dream is white dependent...unless you're not white. Then it is painfully obvious.
So let's switch gears here. That was a lot of words, some of which were pretty. But my point was rather simple; it is harder for some than others to be American and benefit from it's promise. A simple idea, yet often under-analyzed. I was at panel discussion on Utopian concepts in science fiction this past weekend and one of the panelists held his name card up next to his face and declared, "This is white, I am not white, there is no such thing as race." This argument is an academic parachute and there are fewer of them than there are passengers on the crashing jet.
Whatever your ethnic background, if it comes in a caucasian package, you get to blend in to the mainstreamed American culture that was made with you in mind, and at the same time be more of yourself than you could otherwise. Your stories are the ones told, your language that is legitimized and declared "Good English" (by people who know fuck-all about language), your history that gets first person perspective. There is a very different narrative for those who come in a different package, and really it is all about the narrative, which, for many of them, often crosses genre boundaries, mixing sci-fi, fantasy, and quite a lot of horror.
I try to keep these posts short. To be continued.
If you're still reading, even if you don't agree, that means you're still listening. Feel free to comment, but don't be a dick.
Not my real name, but it does roll right off the tongue, doesn't it?