Lost in thought, walking to the places I have to go to during no particular day, I feel like I'm in a racial vacuum...
During this moment, I'm completely unaware of myself as a social being--that is, of my labels as a woman, Latina, etc. I'm not really interacting with others, I'm just passing through blurs of people that I pay no attention to as I cross streets and pass buildings. I'm not even conscious of my walking. I'm practically in a dream.
It's a strange thing, that lapse in time that occurs when I'm getting from one place to another. It's not that I'm not appreciative of the day--I notice the green leaves and blue skies I pass along the way. I'm still adhering to the laws of society, but in auto-pilot mode.
I can never consciously experience these racially-vacuous dream lapses, I can only reflect upon them afterward. I wake up from my dream and I'm left with only a few remnants of the event.
I can't assume you go through this moment, but it feels so natural that I wonder if others do go through it. My question is, is this a way of attempting to escape the burden of racialized identity, or is it rather a brief return to a natural state before and beyond social identity? Both and neither?
In short, I think moments like these matter because they show that I cannot be my social self every single second of the day. Race, gender, sexuality, class. They are not a part of the fiber of my being, they are only roles I assume when I interact with others.
In this way, double consciousness can also be the literal state of the term--being conscious of your consciousness. That is, being aware of your awareness as a socialized being intersected by race, class and gender.
...The moment I hear "hi" from a friend who sees me walking by, I suddenly notice the dripping paint of society all over me. I suddenly become aware of my name, place, and time in society. No longer just a body, but now back to Sara, back to Latina in 2008, back to California-born daughter of Argentine immigrants.
- ▼ 2008 (37)