Dear Fellow Progressives, Remember It’s Not About You

The chains of hatred are always present where there is disenfranchisement.  Whether it is perceived or real, there are always seeds of bigotry in places where the people have a long history of subjectification for the use of those in power.  

Despite being oppressed by the same forces, the people in these groups play into the game of oppression by division.  There is homophobia in the inter cities of Los Angeles’s to a point it can only be described as an epidemic.  In the gay community there is frequent misogyny.  The same white men who are used to keep the status quo blame their fellow victims for perceived advantages in their existence within other oppressed groups, when instead they should be blaming the very people manipulating them into doing their bidding.  There are women who blame all men instead of the few who are fucking things up for everyone, and within all of these groups there are negative attitudes towards women and transpeople even within groups of women themselves.

We always like to believe these people are the minorities misrepresenting the majority of the people within their group, who even if they demonstrate ignorance will usually demonstrate tolerance.

I have always considered myself “intolerant of intolerance,” and as such I brought on a sense of self confidence thanks to the fact I would not let racist, sexist, or homophobic actions be tolerated in my presence.  In other words, I felt like I confirmed myself as a good person because of my reactions to external stimuli.

This was a mistake.  Instead of looking within myself, instead of finding the roots and causes of my own sexism, racism, or generally intolerant ideas.  While I have always considered myself a progressive, as you can see from the general tone of this essay, I had confirmed this identity through confirmation of my reaction and the reactions of others of intolerant acts.  Again, this is a mistake.  We cannot make any real progress so long as we don’t channel and navigate the hate and negativity within ourselves.  The reason I sought confirmation from the external in these situations was because I failed to do exactly as I mention above, I had not navigated and answered the questions of my own negative thoughts.

I have had racist, sexist, and even homophobic thoughts in my past.  But I felt as long as I had people around me, seeing me resist intolerance with intolerance, congratulating me on being so adamant, I felt confirmed that I was in-fact the opposite of the person I had just humiliated and established as a good human being.

The error in this is not only seeking my confirmation of my self from the external instead from the internal, but it also prevents any true progress from being made to unite all oppressed peoples against this seemingly invisible enemy that tricks us into division.  It is simple to see that keeping the people divided amongst themselves allows the rich and powerful to go to the bank with minimal interference.  But the falsehood of establishing confirmed identities always prevents any true progress.  

It is all well and good to be vocal about feminism, gay rights, or the new Jim Crow and anti immigration use of our prison system.  It is important to be vocal about inequality, but when you do it for the sake of establishing yourself with the identity of someone who stands against inequality, you are robbing us all of true progress.  To remove the hypocrisy of this we must remove the idea of the self from the equation of inequality.  When you attempt to act against inequality for the sake of the valor you are benefiting from the inequality as the oppressors are.  

Do not do things for the sake of establishing an identity as a rebel or as a tolerant being, just be a tolerant being.  It’s okay to be vocal and stand up to acts of hatred but don’t do so for selfish means, and only do it when it will actually accomplish quenching the hatred.  We cannot begot the hate with our own hatred of hatred itself.  My hatred of hatred did nothing to stop hatred itself but only inflated my own ego of being someone who stands against hatred.  I shouldn’t add the needs of my own identity to a place where the issue is not fixing my identity as a white straight male but the fact that my fellow beings are suffering, being robbed of something that is a privilege to me but instead should be no one’s privilege but the right of every single human being.  I am writing this with the hope that I will hold myself accountable by not holding myself to anything at all.  I will not do things to establish my identity as a white man who stands against hatred.  I will simply stand against hatred and will always welcome a dialogue and perspective from those most effected by these issues with the hopes I can come to an understanding with myself and my own hurtful and hateful thoughts and actions.

This must be the goal of everyone who has this privilege, do not buy into our masters game and use the privilege you do have blame those who have no privilege for the few things your privilege lacks.  Dialogue and an absence of hatred and attempts to abandon prejudice coming into these dialogues is the start, but where we cannot abandon our prejudices we must at least acknowledge them and ask ourselves how do we transcend these conditionings.  That is the beginning, that is where we finally stop seeking confirmation from the external and find our answers internally.  It is only here, when we navigate the negativity from within us can we find answers to the negativity outside of us that effect all of us as a whole, and not just individually.

That is the ultimate goal, that is the ultimate message of these words.  While epidemics of hatred are more inclusive than the acts of hatred themselves plague our society, blinding us to the intersectionality of all our oppression, we cannot forget we perpetuate this oppression when we use the oppression to create our own identity.  We are literally doing exactly that, exactly what the enemy does, we are USING OPPRESSION for our own means.  Do the right thing because it’s the right thing, if you know and are comfortable with who you are you don’t need the confirmation of self that comes from acting progressively.  Just be, channel the negativity within ourselves, answer your own questions before stomping out answers for others, and then and only then can we as a planet of beings make any kind of progress as a whole.

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