So the other day, I was talking to a friend when, apropos of nothing, she put one hand on her hip, pointed at me, and said “If I was Kim Kardashian, I wouldn't have named my baby “North”, because, like, “North West” is a stupid name.”
To which I didn't but should have responded, “Actually, you completely would have named your baby North, because if you were Kim Kardashian, you would actually BE KIM KARDASHIAN, with the same experiences, the same voice, and the same perspective on the world and your place in it. What you are describing is not you being Kim Kardashian, but rather some Freaky Friday shit where you are wearing Kim Kardashian's single decision like a meat puppet cut from the flesh of her actual life.”
This is something that I'm actually kind of serious about. Especially the meat-puppet bit, and the “some Freaky Friday shit” line, which took me like a solid five minutes to work in. But also the bit where I become incensed when anyone tries to say, for example, and this is purely hypothetical, and in no way meant to be indicative that I am talking about current events, that if they were Trayvon Martin, then they would not have been wearing a hoodie.
Or that if they were George Zimmerman, then they would have stopped following Trayvon Martin when they were told to by the 911 dispatcher.
No. If you were in Trayvon Martin's position that night, you might not have been wearing a hoodie. You might therefore have not been followed by George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman might also have chosen not to follow you because you were WHITE. Or because you wouldn't have been there at all, since your name is JACOB and you live in ATLANTA. YOU ARE NOT TRAYVON MARTIN. YOU ARE NOT GEORGE ZIMMERMAN. You never were.
(I'm tempted to throw a YOU WEREN'T THERE, MAN, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE” in at this point, but I feel like doing so would break the intensity of what I'm saying. So I won't do that.)
If I were the sun, I wouldn't say any words to anybody, because I would be an enormous ball of hydrogen. I'd mostly just make explody noises.
If I were black, then I would, I am certain, have had different experiences that would have sent my life, and therefore my perspective, in very different directions than it has gone. It is unreasonable for me to say that if I were any black person who has done or not done anything that I find problematic or worthy of criticism, then I would have done anything different than the actual person did or didn't, and I would probably therefore not have found my actions or inactions problematic in the slightest.
If I were a woman, I don't know what kind of lover I would be, or how receptive I would be to the sexual advances of the men who are apparently hitting on me. I don't know if I'd be gay, straight, bi, queer, other, luscious, lusty, lascivious, a lady on the streets but a freak in the sheets, I don't know if my hips would lie or not, and the mental calculations required to remove some essence that is called “I” and track it full-detailed and impeccable through every experience this new, female “I” would have are way, way too complex for me to follow through.
So far as I can tell, they're also way, way too complex for most of the people who claim to be doing it. I have a hunch that they're taking the meat-puppet shortcut. “If I were a girl, I'd be flattered when people cat-called me.” NO. STOP IT. YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOU WOULD OR NOT. I don't know if I would or not. My guess is that I wouldn't be flattered, but my certainty is that I have never seen or heard anyone cat-call a meat-puppet, except once, and that was a really freaky Friday night that I doubt will ever happen again.
If I were a meat-puppet? I probably wouldn't name my child North West. I don't think meat-puppets have children.