I'm from United States of America. If we should even call them that anymore is debatable. It's weird to cringe when bringing it up. I never used to. Not until recently. Despite all of the terrible shit we have done over the years, I've always taken an approach that it was never in my control. My stupidity and naivety let me glide along with an "it's not me!" attitude that's totally unwarranted.
As the years passed, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable there. Constantly unsafe. Regularly shaken by the mere presence of a police officer behind me, even when not doing anything wrong. I don't think that this should be a thing, but it is...and it will be for a long time, at least for me.
As I traveled Indonesia, Donald Trump was just beginning his reign of terrible fucking behavior in the presidential run. I spoke with, hugged, played noise with, embedded myself with the Muslim communities in SE Asia, and asked them what they thought people outside of Indonesia should know. The overwhelming response, was that they are peaceful. It's not what you see on TV. Shortly after I left, that asshole Trump starting saying he was going to build walls to keep people out, saying that we should ban Muslim immigration, and all the other things I don't even think should get the time of the day on this particular website. Shootings continued. American hatred continued. I'd slip up and allow myself to read the comments on articles about any of these things, and immediately regret it.
It's a shitty thing, to have to be nearly embarrassed about where you're from. I moved to China for many reasons. To get out of debt. To have the resources, free time, and lifestyle to tackle the insane amount of footage, sound, and time it will take to finish the next few episodes of this project. It's taking longer than expected, but it will happen, and it will be worth the wait. I'm excited about the things to come. However, being away nearly 8 months, it's interesting to see much the anxiety vanish from my life. I know that I'm privileged, that it's not the same, at all, and that things are very cushy as just another asshole expatriate making 5 times the money a local makes, with free housing to boot. Yet, I'll never discount or forget just how much fear came with a life in the U.S.A. Lowering my head as kids in Indonesia brought up Donald Trump being a realistic option for the President of the fucking United States of America...and this was BEFORE all the Muslim banning talk! What a shit-show.
One could say "Not all North Americans!", and this is surely true. I'm not trying to discount any of the hard working, inspiring things many people are doing there. Those are plentiful. There are really great things about the place. Some amazing innovators, artists. Some of the best music scenes in the world. Some of the brightest minds, curators, and hugest amount of love for craft. Respect to food culture, and people who call out the assholes when they see them. Many who redeem some of the utmost embarrassment we have on display. I'm not saying it's hopeless. I'm just saying it's a fucking mess, and I hope we wake up soon. Surely, I'll return. You see, I have that privilege. Speaking of privilege, this is written by a young-ish, white, male. You can likely take any of these feelings and multiply them by forty thousand if you're anyone else. However, when I do return, I hope I feel less shitty about it all, a lot less anxious, and a lot less scared.
I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I'll stop blabbering.
Here's a video that sums things up nicely for you.
Shanghai based ROUND EYE. Watch it. Share it.