Labeling. That’s what we do. We label everything and everyone in order to make them easier to understand. And we can pass the branding of material possessions because some people (like my daughter) only want, say, clothes of a certain sort, made by a company that charges three dollars more than another. That is just a sort of snobbery, a passing fad until the next brand name hits the big time.
What I am talking about here is the generalizations that can turn opposition into such an easy thing to ignore. And this is a phenomenon that knows no political or religious view. It is everyone, on every side, as we increasingly sink into manic extremes with no room left for a middle ground.
If the DEMOCRATS stopped OBSTRUCTING then things might actually get done. If the REPUBLICANS weren’t so HEARTLESS then children might feel safe and understand freedom. All this is bullshit. Equivocation to separate realities. It is really, philosophically, no different than all BLACKS steal and smoke crack; all MEXICANS are lazy or brutal rapists; all PRIESTS molest small children; all ASIAN people are smarter but with the smallest cocks; all WHITE people are racists and dream of the restoration of slavery.
Of course those hateful stereotypes are marginally true in some individual instances. Stereotypes are formed because at least one human piece of filth fits into these roles. But the assumption that, as a result of one wicked being, ALL people of that social or ethnic or religious class are the same is just an easy way out of thinking and trying to be human.
When I was a teacher and the students would ask me if I were I racist (I was the white dude in a room with, maybe, one other white kid in there), I would look at them and laugh, then rephrase a line from the great film Full Metal Jacket. I would say: “To me, we are all equally worthless.” And the kids got it. African-Americans would come to acknowledge that the people they hate the most in their own lives are black; white kids hated white people more than anyone else. Same goes for Hispanics, and Asians, and Native Americans and every other labelled group of AMERICANS who decided to loathe one another for superficial reasons. And this is on an individual level. Not reflected in the gutter of bigotry.
I would say: ‘I don’t have any patience for the laziness of racism or sexism. Take some time. Get to know someone. You’ll find a far better reason to hate them.’
And you know what? This may have been the most important lesson I was able to teach. Crouched in the good-natured negativity and jocular manner as all this was, it would first make the children laugh, and then get them to think. Why should I hate someone just because my parents or my friends or my uncle or some celebrity tells me to? None of that stuff really matters. That one black friend or white friend is not just ‘one of the good ones.’ They are a stereotype breaker, a destroyer of past tense thinking. The labels increasingly die as once separate cultures intersect, mate, and end the so-called purity of race. Jews marry Muslims and there is an agreement between faiths. Christians and Atheists. All of this merges and absolutism is drained of its power.
But the nervous response to this, the anxiety of the reactionary sometimes takes over and forms a separatist organization because people find themselves unable to make friends. This is really no different than the thinking of an unpopular kid who decides that they hate the world because no one likes them. And this is the only stereotype worth paying attention to, worth giving a cursory notice.
“We are all equally worthless,” yes. But you can take the exact counterpoint if that is your preferred way of looking at things. “We all have the potential for importance and high value.” This is the world we truly live in. If we can stop blaming other people for our own mistakes, maybe this trend to label an entire group of people will finally die and we will all learn to hate one another on our own merits.