The Struggle For Identity And The Rage It Brings: Just Who The Fuck Do you Think You Are!?!
Identity can be what some would call a “sticky wicket” or some other phrase that you’d only hear at a muscadine wine tasting in Williamsburg. Whether it be ethnic, cultural, sexual, gender, Orc, Mage,-or whoever the hell is responsible for healing you during WoW raids-it can be a powerful thing. They tend to provide people with a sense of community and people that can empathize with their life experience. People with whom a certain degree of trust is innate because they’ve taken a similar journey to yours and therefore may have a sharper insight into you than some of your own family members. It can serve as the tether to the inescapable reminder that our lives are intertwined with each other and that a path cannot be a path if only walked by one person. It has to have been worn by the travels of many in comparable circumstances.
It can also be a pinecone in the proverbial asshole.
Because with an identity comes values. With values comes ideological thresholds. With ideological thresholds comes the risk of it being defiled worse than a Paddington Bear at a Furries convention. This is especially applicable to those within an oppressed demographic. Usually, minorities and those who don’t identify as cisgendered heterosexuals .(but the ballot is definitely open for more, so don’t feel left out just yet.)
Life tends to have a particular knack for treating those within its jurisdiction like a child would treat a urinal cake after his fourth Big Gulp. The issue at hand here is: How do you manage the frequent bouts of anger that arise when you see injustice done against those who look like you? Or those who love like you?
Or, as has been illustrated time and time again with threats/acts of violence against women’s health workers, those who believe as you do.
It is truly a double-edged soapbox when you subscribe to a certain belief or community. As much as it may fortify you and give you solid ground in what may be a time of existential instability, it can also make one vulnerable to bouts of indignation. Such unfocused fury that it inevitably overrides the rational centers of your brain and veers into what some neurologists refer to as the “World Star Hip Hop Cortex”.
It may spur you to regrettable actions such as but not limited to:
-Organizing hateful protests at the funerals of soldiers, celebrities, civil/gender rights events, etc.
-Owning and operating a tow truck, but somehow coming to the conclusion that God has directed you to leave a disabled woman on the side of the road. All for the slight of her being a Bernie Sanders supporter.
-Seeing a Facebook post extolling the (heavily edited) virtues of Donald Trump and still clicking like.
-Defending Hilary Clinton against the blantant sexism directed towards her, but refusing to support Megyn Kelly in the same fashion.You know, considering that they are both subjected to a vile subsect of America that no one deserves to deal with no matter their political leanings.
-Failing to adhere to your county mandated job requirements as a county clerk on the unimpeachable basis of “Fuck them faggots!”.
-Using the phrase “Sheeple.”
-Immediately equating a minority’s racial solidarity as overt antagonism against your own race when there is zero minus zero reasons to do so. There is a fine line between pride in one’s culture and espousing supremacy over everyone else, and that line is called David Duke.
-Being Sarah Palin
All of these things were carried out by otherwise reasonable people whom I’m sure would have a significant aversion to violence if not outright actually wishing harm upon another person. But yet, there is something about the sense of being maligned that gives people the disposition and mindset of Fox News whenever Obama stubbornly insists on continuing to be black. I say this as someone who has fallen victim to this phenomenon more times than my internet history would allow me to forget. I can tell you with exact detail what tenor, pitch, and volume I used while screaming at my phone in a CVS parking lot at 2 am because of what I deemed was a stupid Facebook post. I forgot that no one is ever enlightened through a comment thread argument and that my fervent typing served as nothing but subpar ego masturbation. (No lube. Just typos.)
While I don’t presume to know of any definitive solutions to curbing this rage, I do know that it turns people into their worst selves. (Pro Tip: Most people’s worst self tends to resemble Nancy Grace. If you notice that your hair looks like it belongs to a serial killer who cuts the throats of their victims with Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons, seek professional help. We’re here to support you. There is no “I” in “Beyond”.) Maybe the only real attempt at a solution is to acknowledge when it’s taking hold and to resist, consciously, the urge to succumb to a tizzy. Like personal bias or the music of Nick Jonas. I can wish you luck. I can tell you that virtually everyone else you meet is in one way or another empathetic to what you’re going through. But that wouldn’t mean much when the media somehow deems Kylie Jenner as the originator and proprietor of boxer braids. A hairstyle worn by black women since black women realized they were black women. (Just ask 1/2 of Tyga and it’ll give you some insight. You can’t ask the other half because I’m pretty sure that half is just kangaroo labia and, to my knowledge, kangaroo labia is neither sentient nor possesses to capability of speech.)
Originally published at fukette.com.