A Dream Is An Olympic Torch

‘I’m a tipping point writer, and you’re a push them over the cliff writer.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean I write from the viewpoint that we are almost over the edge, but we are tottering and might be able to pull back, and you are trying to push people over.’

‘Wow, you really think that?’

‘I read that bleak racial power-play piece that you wrote. What was that designed to do other than tip someone over the edge? What did it do other than glory in the failure of the project of equality?’

‘Christ, I sound like a right shit-head.’

‘Your words.’

‘Yeah, my words – not my actions.’

‘Oh, right. Yes, a world-renowned author dropping the n-bomb and painting a picture of disgusting behavior carried out by African Americans – that has no consequences, right?’

‘Sure it does.’

‘Sure as shit it does. Look at these guys who write these uplifting paeans to the black race, and then there is a concomitant rise in positive action from within that community. Think that’s a coincidence? Think the daily diet of bullshit painting white saviours and sage white men riding into save their black brothers did nothing to help keep the jackboot’s heel on their neck?’

‘Johnson, you’re basically calling me a Nazi.’

‘Is that what I am doing? And what do you really thinking you’re doing, Ben? Tapping into some abstract strain of poor white rage? Unleash it, and what is it going to do? Translate into a few seig heils? A few good old boys reading Mein Kampf? Are you really that naive? Dip your toe in the fucking water, my friend, and tell me if it still seems so cool. OK for you I suppose, because it ain’t your blood in the water riling up the sharks.’

‘You must fucking hate me. That’s nice to know. Nice to find out now before we sit down together on that panel what you think.’

‘Christ, man, fuck the panel – we’re more than just Ben Travers and Doug Johnson, we’re men. Look what David Arnover is trying to do with that huge fucking thing he’s been writing. His ambition is to change the world – and he knows he can do it. We can too.’

‘OK, OK, I get it. Give me a break – we’ve got ten minutes until we go on.’

Doug Johnson shook his head and looked down at his book – A Dream Is An Olympic Torch, and wondered if he was doing enough.

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