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Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux: We Need To Boringly Homogenise Rather Than Spectacularly Separate”

Zeal & Ardor mainman Manuel Gagneux offers that the change the world needs is just to come together as one

People have taken to the streets, they have exposed themselves to violence and risked their freedom. No-one has done this because they wanted to. No-one has done this because they see any joy in it. They simply did it because they have nothing left.

In the days since George Floyd’s death, black people in America have lost their trust in peaceful protest. This conclusion came through countless acts of similar violence, all of which were protested in a peaceful manner, but none of which instigated change.

The ironic thing is that the change we want is not the one happening. The change we desperately need is a wholly unspectacular one. One without heroes and martyrs, but one of norm. When you think about it nothing is quite as boring as equality; nothing as bland as sameness. But that’s what we want! All we ask is to share this boredom with you.

It’s very tempting to draw a line in the sand and declare one side the good guys and the others the racists, but (at least to me) the fact of the matter is not if someone’s racist or not – I sometimes see racism in myself – it’s whether or not that person is willing to change. Right now there is such a huge stigma attached to that term that anybody who identifies with an aspect of it would rather hide it than address it. And that’s where the anger and radicalisation happens. So I’d like to take that stigma away right now and declare it a disease or condition we all suffer from to a certain degree. One we would like to change because that’s how this works.

If I were to berate you and say you’re wrong for a half an hour, that would hardly make you consider changing sides, would it? We need to agree on something for a healthy discourse to occur; even if that thing is simply that we aren’t happy.

This, in the end, is a group effort – we all need to take a look at ourselves and reconsider our values and actions. It kinda sucks. We need to boringly homogenise rather than spectacularly separate.

If you’re anything like me, the notion of being in angry agreement with like-minded people is something that instills hope in you. Something that gives you a warm feeling in your chest. The disappointment comes in the realisation that the change needed is nothing like this. It’s standing up to someone making an inappropriate remark. It’s thinking of one’s own actions in an unfavourable way. It’s questioning things once believed to be right.

There’s no cool chant for these things, no hashtag you can share; it’s just you, your thoughts, and your actions. No fanfare, no likes. Just you. 

The reason I’m saying this is because I like being lauded. I like people to recognise and commend me for doing something good. It’s just that the thing we demand doesn’t merit any of these things.

We ask of you to do this with all the spectacle of tying your shoelace. There needn’t be a rally, there’s no occasion to celebrate. There hopefully just will be a Tuesday. 

Let us be boring together.

Wondering how you can make a difference?

• Donate to George Floyd’s memorial fund.
Fight for Breonna Taylor, a first responder who was killed in her bed by police searching for drugs that were never found.
Help the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot while jogging.
• Donate to the community bail funds of protestors.
• Head over to Movement For Black Lives.
Connect with leaders building grassroots campaigns.
• And check out these anti-racism resources.

Posted on June 23rd 2020, 2:28p.m.
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