- “I don’t have a job, a home or a car! I don’t have anything and you want me to apologize to you because you don’t have anything either?! Spare me! Why don’t you go cry to Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Tyler Perry, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant or Will Smith!!!”
You can lob epithets like racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist and the like at the infamous White Man and no one will say much. It’s expected. He is The Man after all. He’s not even human. Just an oppressive automaton who is responsible for all the world’s ills and he even has the audacity to not apologize for simply being? How dare he! Good thing there are liberal white men out there. At least they express their tacit guilt. But really, what is inherently wrong about him taking pride in his European heritage? Is it because you view your existence as inauspicious due to this heritage? He exploited and oppressed you and because of this there should be no celebration of European virtues. You supported his whims through your labor. He killed you. He took your land. He deceived you. He raped your women. But what is it about him that makes him behave this way and if he thinks himself superior is he truly superior or do you give him power by thinking of him as inherently evil? What if he is just like you?
What if he feels powerless even though you say he controls “everything?” What if he feels like nothing? Why must you treat him as if he is some comic book-esque supervillian? Why do you laugh in his face when he expresses his frustration? What does this say about you? Are you envious of the access his skin color affords him? Do you see his lack of melanin as a blessing? Do you feel your abundance of melanin is a curse? Do you have to overcompensate in order to battle against a deep-seated inferiority complex? Is your black or brown pride a by-product of the acknowledgement of his existence? Who were you before you found out about him? How did you view yourself then? Probably not as brown or black. Perhaps you were just you.
That’s it! That’s why the white man is evil! He made me acknowledge the fact that I was ‘some thing.’ I’m not ‘some thing,’ I am some ONE!
Hey, I clicked those hyperlinks and I’m lost. Us? Not them? What?
We’re all lost. Come on inside and let’s see if we can build a compass…together.
I THINK, THEREFORE I AM…TOO
- We want the filmmakers to help us discern who is right and who is wrong in this scene, but they refuse and we are left to sort things out for ourselves. We don’t really dig this too much. We are confused because the Edward Norton character is reasonable. His passion is grounded in a sense of self that defies politically correct conventions. Conventions we let rule us and we become aware of just how programmed we are when we attempt to process all of the information.
What if the real ‘strength’ of the majority is that they view themselves as people first and the majority second while minorities view them as the majority first and people second because the minorities view themselves as minorities first and people second in relation to the presence of the majority? Whew! This may be based on the assumption that the majority views them as minorities first and well…that’s it. What if the key to overcoming the deep-seated inferiority complex is to acknowledge your individuality regardless of racial, ethnic, national or religious distinctions? What if one way to do this is to acknowledge the individuality of your perceived adversary regardless of racial, ethnic, national or religious distinctions?
It’s pretty simple. We ask ourselves a series of questions each waking day. These questions are subtle and since we’ve asked them many times our answers come to us almost instantaneously. Yes, almost instantaneously. Here’s how it works…say you’re a black straight Christian male. As you go about your day when presented with challenges (life) you will ask yourself “What is a black straight Christian male supposed to do here?” as opposed to “What am I supposed to do here?” Like I said, these questions are subtle. When a white gay Buddhist female approaches you you don’t stroke your beard while you ponder what to do. You have been conditioned. You know how you are supposed to perceive them. If you were a Mexican gay Buddhist male then…well, just look…
Mexican gay Buddhist male
White gay Buddhist female
Your distinctions become your identity by virtue of a relative comparison to those who are not black straight Christian males. More than likely you will find a kinship with other black straight Christian males because on a fundamental level they are just like you. You may even mimic their behavior (programming). This mimicry maintains the code. Any distinctions within the group of black straight Christian males will be considered negligible because of the fundamental similarity. A tenuous fundamental similarity. Tenuous because each distinction is predicated on a circumstance, either genetic or cultural. Oddly enough, these circumstances are predicated on evolutionary circumstances. Circumstances like migratory patterns and the impetus that inspired our ancestors to “up and leave” in the first place. Probably another set of circumstances. See where this is going?
No. I’ve been following this blog for quite some time…yes, I’m a masochist…and I never know where anything is going. Every last post is a rambling, incoherent mess.
Well, the thing is, the universe is a coherent mess and it’s built upon an infinity of circumstances. Circumstances that quickly render any absolute or so-called fundamental distinction moot the moment it is acknowledged.
- We see a woman and a man, but the truth is both faces are exactly the same. There is a contrast. That’s why we see a woman AND a man. But what is this contrast?
Maybe we NEED to believe another man is inherently evil in order to illuminate our inherent goodness. However, if he were truly evil and we were truly god, sorry meant good we wouldn’t even be able to “see” him. But we literally cannot help seeing because such polarities between ‘this or that’ do not truly exist. We see each other in each other no matter if we like it or not. Ironically, it is our objections that expose this truth. In order for us to hate each another we must first find a link—we have an innate sense that at our core we are all the same, but the surface distinctions are just too much for us to ignore. This dichotomy creates friction between the things that make sense (biological similarities, same drives, fears and desires) and the things that do not (race, nationality, gender, religion, ethnicity). In a way it is forced curiosity via diversity.
The power of the contrast is very strong. It acts as a light of sorts. It is the invisible link, it is not just a word, but a phenomenon in and of itself. Simply put, our differences define us. Black is black because white is white and because of this we are magnetically attracted to those we perceive as different.
- “Narcissus” by Caravaggio
It would seem that it is in our nature to want to be better than someone else, but this may be a defense mechanism driven by our fear of relativity. We all believe we are The Chosen People and when we run into others who have the audacity to claim they are chosen too, well, we can’t have that now, can we? There can only be one chosen group and that is whatever group of which we belong. When we come across other groups we first acknowledge a superficial difference. This leads to a search for intrinsic differences because we must amass a large number of negatives to contrast our positives. They’re THIS, while we’re THAT. Essentially we are trying to create a substantial amount of space between us and them. What’s ironic is the fact that it is their existence that creates our supremacy…or inferiority. It’s all just a matter of perception.
The need to be better than another may be driven by our need to be better than ourselves. Yep, we all suffer from an inferiority complex and it may be driven by our perception of the indefatigable nature of evolution. We want all this constantly changing, but not really changing madness to stop. We want some room to breathe. Some room to figure things out, but we keep on spinnin’ round and round. What if we want off of this damn ride? Oh, that’s right, we can die…but we don’t want to commit suicide. If we do that we concede defeat and existence wins by default. We would be admitting that we cannot handle our worldly lives and by doing so we would be conceding to the fact that we are not the ultimate being. So instead of suicide maybe we’ll just wait for an ultimate judgment. A revelation. Something to happen that proves we were right and they were wrong, then we can leave this blue pearl with the confirmation that we are indeed the chosen people. Hell, instead of waiting, why don’t we just get the ball rolling ourselves? In the end, it’s still suicide, just an incredibly tedious passive aggressive suicide.
LIFE: THE CURSED BLESSING
We may view our planet as the devil’s playground because it seems to be forcing us to kill ourselves. Sound absurd? Well, if it wasn’t for Earth, we wouldn’t be here. Maybe we would still be there. It was so much easier there that’s why we’re all dying to go back.
The universe presents too many challenges. Too many questions. Not enough answers. It seems there will always be more questions than answers and the answers just lead to more questions. But then again if there is an infinite amount of questions then there must be an infinite amount of answers, just not as many answers as there are questions. What!? Yeah, that’s the problem. That’s the curse. We’re always chasing answers and this chase is powered by our queries. We cannot help but be curious. It is a necessary function of evolution, but for some reason we ridicule the curious. Not just by condemning or mocking their eccentric views, but through murder and destruction. To kill those who we think of as different is to kill curiosity. If we allow the peculiar ones to live we may find out that they are a lot like us and this will contradict our exclusive chosen status.
Perhaps our inclination to destroy wonder comes from the myopic idea that if we stop questioning we will receive the ultimate answer to our most frequently asked question which is: “Why am I here?” The existence of others forces us to ask an alternate question: “Why are they here?” By killing or exploiting them we attempt to answer that question…they must be here for us to use. They are inferiors. And when our civilization thrives because of exploitation this provides more confirmation that we are indeed the chosen ones. That is until the exploited group refuses to be exploited. This refusal is another one of those relatively rare answers. The question that inspired it being: “Why am I here while they are there?” The exploitation created a contrast that exposed the humanity of the so-called inferiors. If they were truly inferior they would not have been able to discern a link between themselves and their oppressors. Thing is, I could be an absolute idiot and you…
Be nice!? You are berating yourself through an alter-ego and you’re asking me to be nice? You’re an absolute loon!
Okay, well I could be an absolute loon and you could be the most brilliant person on the face of the Earth and without either of us trying we will subconsciously detect a link between the two of us. To many this is obvious. “You’re human, I’m human.” But why is it so obvious?
Not a single one of us is exempt from the trappings of myopia. It is/was an integral part of our evolutionary conditioning. It is unfair to label one group as the ultimate evildoers because over the course of our relatively short migratory history they monopolized exploitation (we haven’t stopped moving). If one of us is capable, then we all are capable. Perhaps we can learn something from the sacrifices that were made by both the exploited and the exploiter—guilt as well as scars linger and there really isn’t much of a difference between how the two make us feel. You may think the scar is harder to live with, but ask yourself: do you feel guilty about anything? If the answer is yes (it will be), what is this feeling of guilt? Does it haunt you? Does it affect the way you live your life? Do others judge you because of it? How is this different than the ghosts that scars evoke? Yeah, I know, this is kind of like the American History X clip above. We are programmed to empathize with the scarred individual because we fear pain. In order to empathize with the guilty we would need to subvert the fear of pain and embrace our own guilt instead of trying to mask it by judging others…