Monday, December 1, 2014

schism

I grew up really poor.  not like, middle class poor, but single minimum-wage working parent poor.  i know it's pathetic, but i want people to know that.  we're conditioned to have this knee-jerk reaction, thinking of it as an excuse.. but like hell it is.

A few break free, but a lot more don't.  so yeah, I wasn't even one of those few.  I wanted to be more than this, but, even medical issues aside, I didn't have a whole lot working in my favor.  I think sometimes, it's not so much that being poor is the problem, as it is that being poor hamstrings the ability to deal with whatever problems life throws at us.

I had this condition, but, look around me.  It was a mostly black neighborhood, and even there, my white privilege was hard not to notice.  I stumbled with my condition, as they stumbled with theirs.

Accusations like "white knighting" or "social justice warrior" are annoying.  Tribalism is natural, but where we draw these lines between each other varies.  By gender, ethnicity, culture, sub-culture, sexual preferences, financial class, mental health, etc, etc.

To me, it's all the same issue.  It's about being open-minded and tolerant, and understanding that just because people do things differently, doesn't make them wrong.  

People talk about culture a lot these days, as cover for racism.  They'll say that it's not about skin color, it's about culture.  It's about people not living the way I think they should live, so therefore, it makes perfect sense for me to think less of them.  To think I'm superior, because my ways of doing things is superior.  We, are superior.  People like me, and not like them.

It's still simple-minded bullshit.  Culture is largely a product of circumstance.  We make all sorts of excuses for the ways in which we're not perfect, while condemning out of hand patterns of behavior that don't live up to our personally tailored expectations of what life is supposed to be.  These judgements, a product of our own egocentric experiences, and interpretations, willfully oblivious to what other people go through.

It isn't about any schism, in particular, so much as all of it.  If I harp on racism a lot lately, it's because that's where I see the strongest groundswell against what's really this one central issue.  Sure, I could instead focus one something more central to the discrimination that's destroyed my own life, but I'd be rallying around that, all alone.  I've done plenty of that, but it is difficult to even find a foothold, from which to make a stand.

As long as I depend on others, I can't be proud of who I am.  I have to make excuses.  I feel like I have to make a constant show of shame, of rehabilitation, lest I end up homeless.  I have to push myself in ways that make me wish I could just get this awful life over with, because I can't be what I need to be.

I've come to think that trying to embrace who I am has been a failure, because I still don't function in a socially acceptable way, but that measure assumes the lie, that we can and should conform to the egocentric standards of others.

So, I focus my energy on all this, which seems to be about me less personally, but actually isn't.  It's about equality, it's about humanity.  It's about all of us.

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