Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Emulsification of Humankind"

This poem came out of the June 6, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from . It also fills the "Interracial or Interspecies Love" square in my 2-1-17 card (Romantic) for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem was the linkback perk for the July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It belongs to the Torn World project.


"The Emulsification of Humankind"


The Empire had always believed
in unification, but the flavor
changed over time.

They went from invasion
to gentler forms of assimilation.

That reduced the overall level
of violence, but it didn't solve
the underlying problems.

The Empire learned that,
without a strong incentive,
most people just didn't
want to mix much.

It was bad enough when
they added one new nation,
but it was worse when the place
they assimilated already had
two or more groups who
didn't like each other.

They tried propaganda.
Sometimes it worked, but
other times, it backfired.

It was especially frustrating
when the bigots managed
to get their hands on
a funnier cartoonist.

They tried legislation.
Sometimes it worked, but
other times it just bogged own
the already-busy court system with
petty crimes and complications
of more serious offenses.

It was Tanareilu
who hit upon the solution.
She had studied chemistry before
drifting into the social sciences.

"What we need is an emulsifier,"
she said. "You know how oil and
water don't mix? But you can make
a great salad dressing if you
just add honey to it."

"Like what?" said Arnaar,
her current study partner.
"Everything the Empire
has tried has failed."

"That may be because we
did it too openly," Tanareilu said.
"What if we didn't say anything?
What if we just silently approved
more licenses for mixed-gender bars,
for interracial marriages, for travel when
the group includes diverse members?"

"Give benefits to the people who are
already doing what the Empire wants,
while leaving up the barriers against
those who aren't," Arnaar said,
tapping a finger on his chin.
"I think it's worth a try."

It didn't fix everything, but it did
raise the number of safe opportunities
to mingle, and that helped a lot.

* * *

Notes:

Oil and vinegar is a common base for salad dressing. Honey is one of the ways to emulsify it.  Enjoy a recipe for Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette Dressing.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, torn world, weblit, writing
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