My emotional relationship with Antifa is basically Ross & Rachel at this point
I am still struggling to understand my place in a racist world. I still believe that police and American citizens who hate are the minority, and that love will heal all wounds [insert out of context clueless white girl MLK quotation here]. I am outraged in the same way that we are outraged when a child is killed by some deranged rando. It’s a protective kind of outrage that can exist, and makes us feel righteous, but doesn’t actually touch us. I think of nearby protests in terms of peaceful and rioter. Antifa isn’t even on my radar.
1988 — Lincoln High Senior Prom
Rachel is still struggling to understand her place in a world where her old nose exists. She’s just been stood up by Chip Matthews and is just devastated. But it’s a comfortable devastated, the kind where she knows there will be about twelve dudes lining up to take his place because she’s Rachel Green, dammit, and even old noses and hermaphrodite rumors can’t keep her down. She only sees popular and not-popular. Ross Gellar isn’t even on her radar.
2014 — Mike Brown
I consider joining my new neighbors in Oakland for the march against police brutality, but quickly decide to take the easier route of watching fearfully from my bedroom window in bunny slippers while binge watching Fringe. I still feel very fearful and icky about the use of violence, even though I’m starting to understand that it is my privilege to think this way and that a new civil war for human rights might be inevitable.
1995 — The Julie/Paolo Conundrum
Rachel finds out that Ross is in love with her. She considers telling him she feels the same way, but decides instead to take the easier route of sleeping with Paolo again. She still feels very fearful and icky about her own feelings for her friend’s brother, even though she knows falling for him is inevitable.
2016 — Make America Trump Again
The election happens and I totally lose my shit and have a strong desire to punch everyone in a red hat. My relationship with violence becomes passionate and complicated. I both hate it and understand it and my big feelings on the subject temporarily turn me into a huge, whining douche-bag.
1996 —The Kiss
Rachel kisses Ross and totally loses her shit, ignoring the red flags of Ross’s constant over-correction and the infamous pro-con list. Their relationship is passionate and complicated, particularly when Rachel goes back to work and Ross turns into a huge, whining douche-bag.
2017 — Milo Yiannopolous and UC Berkeley
I am disgusted when I see reports and the physical aftermath of riots during a peaceful protest of Milo Yiannopolous’s arrival in Berkeley. People I know who were protesting peacefully were knocked down and injured by the Black Bloc anarchists. Local businesses were smashed and destroyed regardless of affiliation. The image of a swarming crowd of black-clad figures trampling over people like the frikkin’ Army of the Dead haunted me (unlike the actual trampling of the Army of the Dead, which filled me with joy). I began to wonder why I wasn’t coming out against these tactics used by people who share my beliefs.
1997 —The Break-Up
Rachel is disgusted when she discovers that Ross slept with Chloe the copy girl. The image of them together, and her hiding in Ross’s apartment while she apologized to him haunted her (much like the Army of the Dead will haunt Middle Earth until their oath is fulfilled). She begins to wonder if he is really the nice guy he says he is, and ends the relationship.
2017 — Charlottesville
I see Antifa on the front lines at Charlottesville, protecting people from actual armed and terrifying Nazis white supremacists. On my journey to listen to and amplify voices from the POC community, I start to wonder if my pacifist attitudes are realistic when faced with legit Nazis. I begin to wonder if I made a mistake.
1997 — The Bald Girl
Rachel sees Ross dating a super attractive — albeit formerly bald — girl. On her journey as a newly single career woman, she starts to wonder if she can realistically say that this isn’t the best guy she’s going to get. She begins to wonder if she made a mistake.
2017 — Berkeley
I’m right back to square Milo as the Black Bloc make headlines yet again by assaulting Trump supporters during an otherwise peaceful protest against hate. Reports of wanton violence completely eclipse what was otherwise a positive event. I try so hard to read all of the news reports, hoping to find that one picture of an anarchist kissing a baby or something, but I literally fall asleep from the effort involved.
1997 — WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!
Rachel is right back to square one when, after a promising kiss, Ross screams “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” In trying to rekindle their relationship, Ross fails to read the entirety of her eighteen page letter (front and back) as he literally falls asleep from the effort involved.
2018 — ??
One day, I hope that I can find a balance in my general feelings about Antifa, where I’m able to condemn certain tactics like violence without condemning the defense of one’s self or others. Where I can proudly say “I’m anti-fascist” without feeling afraid of people likening me to the actions I dislike, and the destruction they cause my awesome city.
Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll take an ill-advised trip to London to stop the wedding of Antifa and Anarchists but then Antifa will accidentally say “democrat” and things will get hellsa awkward. Maybe then we’ll get married while drunk, and Antifa won’t tell me for an uncomfortably long time. Then, of course, Antifa will impregnate me on a pile of invitations to the 2018 Democratic Convention — won’t that be a comical predicament?!
But that moment, when we’ve finally all come to understand ourselves and I find peace with the fact that Antifa and I were INDEED on a break and those black-clad anarchists (/the copy girl) were just a pin drop in our greater relationship? In that moment, maybe I will get off the plane, Antifa. Maybe I’ll just get off that plane.
Here’s to our future!
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