The (dead) Art of Holding Multiple Truths.

Kahlea Khabir, University of Denver

Complacency is a far more dangerous attitude than outrage” — Naomi Littlebear

No one has ever said death brings out the best in people, most would argue it brings out the worst. For myself death has always been strange- sometimes mythical- sometimes daunting. But today I sit with the murder of a rapper who was on trial for a gruesome domestic violence/rape case committed against his Black girlfriend. I watch as people mourn and I watch as people sit nonchalantly with no remorse. The two sides of the spectrum incapable of seeing one another- the two cannot coexist. The art of holding multiple truths has died- we’ve been watching it die a slow death, where grey’s cannot exist, either you’re on the side of what is right or you’re on the side of what is wrong- even in the midst of nuance.

It’s hard to attempt to hold multiple truths when death is on the other side, when lives are what’s at stake.

It’s extremely difficult to articulate how rapid things are changing around us but there’s no doubt we’re in the thick of a paradigm shift. We can all feel it, we see it as it’s happening but when it boils down to it, capturing the essence of a technologically driven world is easier said than done. Before you can process how you truly feel about something, unbiased, it’s time to fake give a fuck about the next thing. But truth has always been a collective moral compass or at least it was supposed to be.

Throughout undergrad I was urged to hold multiple truths even if I didn’t agree, I was to “try” to see where others were coming from, to hold the fact that there could be a lesson. It became essential that I learned to embrace discourse and sit in dissonance. I’d like to think I mastered the art of holding multiple truths. But in a time where everything is everything, in a country ran by a psycho maniac, when everyone wants to be affirmed for their “truths” in spite of the implications that come with it. I question if we can afford to hold multiple truths right now.

I have never desired to live in a world free from nuance. I am not naive enough to say that everything is black and white, only a fool would believe that. AND sometimes the grey areas and the nuances don’t change the severity of the implications. I have been haunted by the question “can the art be separated from the artist?”. I’ve seen cancellations and revivals of artist like Kanye, XXX, R.Kelly and the list goes on. The cosigning of white supremacy hasn’t stopped the consumption of art, the violence against Black Women at the hands of Black men hasn’t stopped the consumption of art. The raping and pedophilia against Black girls and Women at the hands of Black men hasn’t stopped the consumption of art. When the artist is stripped of their art, they are treated according to social norms. In this reality, the art can be separated from the artist as long as the violence inflicted by the artist was on a Black Woman.

I question if we can afford to hold multiple truths right now. I question if the lives of Black Women can contend with the complacency being displayed right now. I question if we as a society can straddle the fence of micromanaging what is good and what is bad without nuance. I question a lot of the shit going on right now. But what I do know is the stakes are too high to pretend lives aren’t on the other side of who we decide to support and align ourselves with. It’s time to check ourselves and find ways to be better consumers. We owe it to ourselves and to each other.

Sometimes things need to be black and white.