Earlier, in what I look back on as a very harsh but fair review of the second to last Star Wars movie, I touched on the fact that trying too hard not to be racist or sexist, they were racist and sexist. In this post, I’ll give my thoughts on why and how that happens.
Recently, I triggered some overly invested poster on a meme site. He was posting recycled memes supporting Trump that used language I’d seen before on CH and a few other “white” nationalist sites. This kid had such a high sense of entitlement to be agreed with, that any disagreement at all meant he was being “attacked”, and anyone who had a problem with anything he posted was a “troll”. Way too oversensitive for the internet. Bonus, he would rally his supporters to harass and actually troll others on their memes.
After drawing some fire for pointing out his not so thinly veiled racism on one of his memes, I knew I was dealing with a nutbar, so I backed away slowly and went about my business. That would have been it, but then other users started to complain about it, and he started making excuses for why he should be praised for being the site’s King ass hole.
I tried to defend the peace, but then started to realize that maybe his content and way of doing things was welcome. Maybe those of us who went there to have fun and make actual jokes were the intruders, and the trombies were who the site was there for. It’s not that big a stretch. Both Clinton and Trump supporters were reportedly paid to circulate propaganda online. The people getting paid are recycling and reposting what they’re told to, which is why they all seem the same.
The person who’s decided that I am Satan on Earth this time, says he gets his ideas from Infowars (though he claimed before that he comes up with his own material), “white” nationalist lite…the new breed of cultural imperialists who don’t hate Africans quite enough to want us dead, just under their heel. This is so much better, right? Anyway, he doesn’t think he is racist because he says he’s dated “black” women and voted for Obama. I’m not sure he’s consciously racist either, just unconsciously, which is normal for everyone. He is quite gullible though. He did not take my informing him of where he recycles his opinions and rhetoric from recycles their opinions and rhetoric from very well at all.
So cognitive dissonance ensued, and well, we all know how that goes…
At some point he’ll realize why “white” nationalists who’ve come out and said they are this, are supporting him and cheering him on.
There are many people who aren’t conscious of their racism. One could blame it all on miseducation or misinformation…but I think there is more to it. I think a good bit of it comes from people trying too hard.
All humans suck to some degree, and most humans suck really really hard one way or another. Very few humans don’t suck in some critical way, and even those at least suck a bit. I’d like to think that I’m a wonderful person, but almost everyone thinks this about themselves. What keeps my feet on the ground is the understanding that I must suck a bit, so this is something to watch myself about. Being what some would term a witch, I understand that my words have power and my deeds have more. My action or inaction, and what I say to whom will have consequences. Being respectful to the Orisha/force of Nature called Eshu, I understand that everything will balance eventually, whether I like it or not. Any person, any so-called prophet who says otherwise is arrogant and simply wrong. Whatever the prime force of this universe is may be able to twist and shape Nature, but never in the history of mankind, mammals, or living beings have they ever done so on behalf of mankind. It is for us to align with Nature, not the other way around.
Being that the Nature of humans is to suck at least a little, ideals should be kept in perspective. Since xenophobia is natural, and a survival adaptation, it is going to be there. The question is who is someone’s “us”, and who is their “them”.
Trying to force one’s self to accept someone into “us” who one can’t love, can’t respect, and can’t value partly because one can’t relate to them, creates this problem. One will circumcise babies because they view children as property even though they claim to love their children. One will teach slaves the Bible and make their ancestral faiths sinful because they view them as non persons who are only useful if obedient, while claiming to be saving their souls. Someone can believe that they are doing good when they are doing harm because they lack the humility to understand that they don’t understand. They are trying to stretch their empathy beyond its limits…and it will never stretch because it takes humility to stretch. It takes admitting to one’s self that one can’t possibly relate to another without listening to them and opening their mind and heart to understanding.
Since people suck, and the people who think they’re the best people suck the most, fat chance of that ever happening. So in such cases, unable to relate to that level of cruelty, I close my heart and become more cruel…not more hostile or more abrasive, just more cruel. I understand that these kinds of people are never going to give a shit about me or my people, who may suck, but they are mine.
For better or worse, I understand the limits of my empathy.