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.

The New Sex by James J. Jackson, Jr.

I am appalled by the attacks on sexuality and the fear of sex our society seems to have despite the blatant expansion of the pornographic industry.  I have heard from several sex educators that there is a trend for many sexual conservatives to talk about how society is losing its “traditional” sexualities and is being replaced by a new more mixed, bizarre, and blatant sense of sexuality.  Is the new societal sense of sex more diverse than it used to be? Yes, Is it more blatant, open, and public than it used to be? Yes, More bizarre?  No, to call someones sense of sexuality bizarre is condescending and hurtful.  To me the only bizarre sexuality is bestiality and pedophilia, and those are sexualities that have no sense of consent in one of the parties.  The only bizarre or wrong sexuality is one where any individual in the sex act has no consent.  This brings me back to my original point.  The idea of this sense of sexuality being bizarre or new.

The sex we see today is not new, it is just finally being treated with the progressive attitude it deserves to finally allow people true sexual expression.  Things like polyamorous sex, gay sex, bi sexual sex, are things that have always existed but because of societal inclinations were repressed.  We are still recovering from the reactionary attitudes of Queen Victoria and Freudian/Jungian Sexuality that dictated the 1950s onward.  These acts of sex, these “bizarre” and fluid sexualities have always existed.  Its only because we now realize that we should no longer be ashamed of our loves and lusts that these forms of “non traditional” sex are becoming more public.

In an earlier blog post I talked about how online pornography has allowed people with previously repressed sexualities to explore and examine different types of sex for themselves.  This goes hand in hand with what I am talking about now.  There are issues with the pornography industry that must be reconciled, such as those who exploit ignorant people in order to use them as performers, the sexism of Revenge Porn, and the issues with body image that many types of pornography perpetuate.  Although I am convinced all human beings enjoy pornography in some way and to some form or degree, I can understand the problems that pornography can raise.

There are your cliche perverts with bad mustaches tricking young girls into “modeling” jobs who are making bad names for people who bring in consenting adults to perform and enjoy themselves.  There are groups of petty men who exploit there girlfriends emotions, tricking them into sending sexy pictures and videos, then immediately sharing these with the world as some petty form of retribution.  To the so called men and women who find it obligatory to humiliate your ex lovers, stop it, you are giving porn a very bad name.

What is more important is the impact porn can have on body image.  Women can feel that their bodies are not of measure with some of these actresses who are either trim and healthy or intensely voluptuous.  Men can feel inadequate compared to several of the male performers that get to have sex with these beautiful women and get paid for it, a double whammy for most men.  The problem here is duel, it is not a matter of favoring one side over the other.  The pornographers of today should be more sensitive to the implications their comfort with sex has on other people, and at the same these people finding their inadequacies through porn should not compare themselves to any one but themselves and they must seek out the porn with body types that do make them feel more comfortable.  Because of the more blatant sense of sexuality we see publicly today, their is more diversity in porn.  There is porn for all sexualities and all body types and the individual must seek them out, at the same time the industry must begin to be more diverse with the body types they bring in mass to the public that they exemplify.

That being said I feel this is where this idea of the new sex being “ bizarre” and “non traditional” is coming from.  Because of the massive availability of all the different types of pornography, all displaying different types of sex acts, people increasingly are coming to terms with the fact this sex has always been there but their desire has been unfulfilled.  We sexually repressed ourselves for too long because of societal implications, and now we are seeing our true sexualities come out because of the widespread public availability of a diverse world of porn and sex.  These sex acts we see and engage in are not new, they are not bizarre, they are inherently human.

Sex is sex, period, sexuality is not a product of society it is a product of our species evolution.  Sex cannot be dictated socially and this is what we are discovering more and more as a society.  The more conservatives attack a woman’s right of choice the more of a backlash there is.  The more government tries to dictate our sex lives the more sexual revolution becomes imminent.  The more laws are passed about gay marriage the more people are expressing their own sexuality more and more, be it gay, straight or something you do not feel can or should be labeled.  If one persons sexuality is attacked then all our sexualities are attacked, if it is “not right” that two men or two woman can love each other, marry each other, AND make love to each other because it is “wrong” we are then ALL forced to conform our own sexualities to what is “right,” or “normal.”  This prevents women and men from embracing their sexual fantasies because of social backlash, which is just not fair.

A woman is not sexually broken because she enjoys multiple partners at once.  A man is not more or less of a man because he loses his virginity later in life.  A person is not a pervert for being attracted to she-males because they like the sex appeal of blurred gender lines.  Gay men or women making love is not an abomination so long as it is consensual.  Sexual conservatives need to get over this fear of the new sex and must begin looking inward to embrace their own sexualities so that they may stop attacking other sexualities simply for being different than their own.

So start listening to Susie Bright and reading Nancy Friday.  Enjoy the instructional pornography of Nina Hartley.  Embrace your turn ons and offs because they are one of the few things that are truly and completely your own.  Be public and fearless about your loves and lusts.  Welcome to the New Sex ladies and gentlemen and every one outside and in between.  Welcome to the sex that is finally your own, and not your society’s.