I have been called a cynic, though I think of myself as an idealist. This paradox is where I live, and I don’t claim to know everything, except what I know.
Or, do I?
Before the most recent international attacks, I had spotty certainty on several ideas. OF COURSE not all Muslims are terrorists. Do I poke fun at this small-minded notion? Yes, as a matter of fact, I do – my upcoming feature film points out stereotypes and assumptions in the most politically-incorrect fashion I could manufacture.
Of course, even I fall victim:
I was recently admonished and called ignorant by a friend of mine because I asked why he hashtagged #skinhead in some of his posts.
IGNORANT?!? I was a Criminology & Sociology major!!! We studied culture, subculture, counter-culture and everything in between. I learned that “gypped” was a racial slur against Gypsies – some of whom use trickery to bilk money and goods. When I worked at a big box retailer, we had folks who scored stolen merchandise with some of the same methods! Stereotype reinforced!
But, the extent of skinheads’ culture never came up – only the types featured in “American History X” – racist, violent, and despicable pieces of garbage. Consequently, one of the reasons I abhor the shaved head/beard look is because of this movie. I associate the look with evil thugs – much like winter skull caps. Plus, I think they’re ugly.
So, admittedly, I make such quick associations. I’ve also seen other stereotypes reinforced as I’ve worked or interacted with different “categories” of people. But, I try really hard to catch myself when my mind drifts to “THEM” thoughts. Luckily, I’m often alone, so I don’t spill my ugliness & leave it to spread epidemically.
I also stay away from ‘news’ and current events (to the extent that my Facebook newsfeed permits). I HATE the news. It is NEVER the real story. N-E-V-E-R. It is always spun, always sensationalized, scandalized, and targeted to sell the papers/magazines/Neilsen polls. And, it’s all a scare tactic, or sick trash designed to make you feel superior and “Other” than your fellow humans.
AND WE ALL GET SUCKED IN.
Well, fuck that noise.
Do I think FB protests/support/bullying/preaching/love/hate do ANYTHING to change the world? Nope. But they sure as hell conjure up some damned powerful mob mentality.
MY view is RIGHT!!!! If you don’t agree you’re UNAMERICAN, UNCHRISTIAN, INHUMAN!!!
Well, call out any names you’d like, because I don’t fucking care what you think. I appreciate that I live in such a privileged country, and live in comfort that the majority of the world’s population can only dream of. I appreciate that I have clean water, abundant food, warmth, shelter, and hot showers. But, I will not blindly identify myself under “patriotism”, “nationalism”, or “Americanism”.
Why? Because I don’t agree with everything that my fellow Americans, government, PTB or “Other” say & do. I will not pledge allegiance to any entity that has the power to oppress, suppress, lie, cheat, and steal simply because they can. And if you think the President actually runs this country, and deserves the brunt of your ire or adoration, the real men pulling the strings are sufficiently ghosted.
The truth is we will NEVER know everything. So, building up hate, shaming those who are as adamant in their beliefs as you are in yours, or just being downright douchy is a waste of your time and energy.
You want to make a difference?
BE THE DIFFERENCE.
Stop yourself when you’re making blanket associations. Don’t share inciting posts just to get people on your bandwagon.
Stop yourself before you speak or post bile, calling out your fellow humans for being (or not being) X, Y, or Z. Stop spreading hate, disdain, and a ‘fuck you’ attitude when people don’t agree with you.
You don’t have to agree with everything out there. Hell, you don’t have to agree with one word of this post. But if you want a world where people are cool with each other – YOU have to be one of the participants! Disagree respectfully. Have a valid REASON for negative responses – not just ‘THEM’-isms.
Take others’ words with a grain of salt & don’t be so quick to share the vitriol. Be a person. No – be a DECENT person. THAT’s what changes society for the better. NOT token profile pictures. NOT “if only”-isms. And, CERTAINLY NOT jumping on the hate bandwagons.
We COULD have a really awesome & cooperative society of ‘humankind’ someday. But, only if we break out of this cycle of bullshit and ineffectual armchair activism.
I know I have no tolerance for politics, or focus for activism, but I try to follow my own advice. BE DECENT & nip my own bullshit thoughts in the bud. They’re not doing anyone any good. Seriously, just cut the crap.
Share hope, be kind, and reinforce the positive. NOT through rose-colored glasses, or all-enveloping Pollyanna propaganda. Small kindnesses and recognition, personalized appreciations, helping hands, and moments of joy have incredible power to reinforce positivity. BE light to someone’s darkness & help spread the love. And you know what – beyond the fact that it feels great, it’s free and available at any time.
So, what are you waiting for?