Truths I’m Not Proud Of.
Alright. You were warned.
1.) I have no patience for poorly-behaved children. I know that parenting is a difficult and often thankless endeavor. I know that parents have it hard across the board. I know that the more kids you have, the harder you probably have it. I know that kids have a tendency to be their own little people and do what they do, and you can’t control them all of the time. Finally, I know that corporal punishment is often an unfortunate outcome of social oppression, and that in recent years parents within communities of color have adopted gentler and more progressive methods of discplining as part of healthy child-rearing. Having said all of that…
Screaming children suck ass. They just do. If you can’t keep your bad-assed kids quiet in public, please consider harsher discipline or better birth control. Yeah, I said it. My mother could quell the beginnings of a public tantrum from us with a look. A look. And I know without a doubt in my prejudiced mind that a whole lot of my Black readers are thinking the exact same thing as I am when I look at that picture. A child, who looks as if he’s old enough to communicate with simple language, screaming at the tops of his little lungs in public. Outside of the camera shot there is no doubt a distressed White parent, pleading with Junior to PLEASE calm down and trying to get the little bastard to shut the hell up. Also outside of the shot: a Black person, shaking their head in disgust at this ridiculous display that would so easily be remedied by the firm application of a belt to a backside. (I know that Black kids cut up in public, too; however, generally speaking, by the time Black children are old enough to speak, we know that that shit is no longer acceptable. Why? Because we become cognizant at a tragically early age that whatever bad thing we do somehow reflects negatively on Black people everywhere. As a result, children of color tend to not cut up in public…until our pre-teens, when we can go out without our parents and when we realize that grown White people are terrified of groups of us.)
2.)Hyper-competitive people annoy me. The guiding force behind hyper-competitiveness is always insecurity and envy. So much historical human strife and pain can be directly linked to envy – which arises from the notion that someone is enjoying something that we are not – that when it shows up in any form it makes me nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking ambition. I’m one of the most openly-ambitious people I know. Even when I am reaching towards a goal with a zero-sum determining outcome (i.e., I win because others do not), the only person in my way – the only one who ever matters to me - is me. This is what some would mistakenly call a healthy approach to sportsmanship. It’s actually the Founding Tenet of Eldest Child Arrogance and Self-Centeredness, which states this: “What came before me was nothing, and what follows me is irrelevant.” I’ve been this way since I was a child, but I have learned as I’ve grown that just because you aren’t competing with others does not mean that others do not see themselves as competing with you. I just can’t help but question the need of anyone to “beat” someone else in order to feel good: about their lives, about what they have, or about themselves. Friends and acquaintances who reveal competitive streaks to me receive on-the-spot amateur psychoanalysis – which they hate.
3.)I do not engage in critical analysis dialogue with everyone. This makes me a Snob. I used to feel bad about that. No more. I have learned that trying to talk to folks who have a vested interest in thinking a certain way is an excercise in futility. Part of my duty as an activist is to educate the willing. As for anyone else…fuck ‘em. I have had to learn this the hard way through the years. Below is an excerpt from a delightfully-satirical piece on coffeeandink called “How to Suppress Discussions of Racism”:
“Pointing out racism just makes it harder for us to achieve a colorblind society. You shouldn’t judge people based on their race.”
“Focusing so much on race just shows that you’re racist yourself.”
“Minorities can be racist too, you know!”
“Even if it’s not the best representation of minority characters, it’s better than having no minority characters at all, isn’t it?”
“You’d rather have boringly flawless and politically correct minority characters?”
“Everyone knows it’s bad to be racist now, so why make people feel defensive and ashamed by pointing incidents out?”
“Maybe it’s racist, but what about reverse racism?” (<— AAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHH!)
You can replace “racism” with any -ism and -obia and see how the above statements are a recipe for crazy-making.
3.) Gingers gross me out. Now, I should mention that my issue here is most emphatically not red hair per se. I LOOOOOOOOVE red hair. I think it’s quite lovely. One of my cousins has been rocking naturally auburn ‘locks for several years now. I adore them, and think that they compliment his golden skin. I also know that gingers encounter harassment to such an extent from childhood on that it is gingerism is now held on par with racism by some. I know that beauty comes in so many shapes, sizes, colors, ages and all the rest of it. I know that growing up in South Florida and seeing peeling, nasty sunburned skin on very pale-skinned classmates is a HUGE contributing factor to my knee-jerk revulsion of gingers – most of whom didn’t even have properly red hair. Finally, I know that when I find myself agreeing with South Park‘s own little Hitler Eric Cartman, I need to take a step back and give myself some immediate and harsh corrective introspection. Having said all that…
4.)I get immediately pissed when I see unattractive White people with attractive people of color. For the most part, my attitude towards interracial dating/relationships is live-and-let-live. I try not to pathologize anybody’s love choices, because desire is complicated, and it would be unfair for me to apply my dating ethics and desirability standards to anybody else – there shouldn’t be too many rules between consenting adults. All of us loves how we love, and all of us want what we want. For example, while I like and interact socially with lots of folks of every color, I choose to date men of color and anti-racist White men exclusively. I also know that looks are not the only factor that anyone should consider when choosing who to love (for me, the winning combo is intelligence/wit and a DEEEEP voice). I have also said before that women and men of color are not entitled to one another romantically (that’s heterosexism), that Black women are under no social obligation to date ONLY Black men, and that there many, MANY ways to love. Having said all that…when you see a reasonably good-looking person of color clinging pathetically to a smug White person with no discernible wealth, charm or personality- and a face like a butt – you know that racism is at least partially to blame. I would include a picture with this section, but frankly, we all see this enough to know what it looks like.