A Word to the Why(s): Privilege and Denial and Hypocrisy, Oh My!

UPDATE 10:45a.m. I had no idea when posting  the below blog entry early this morning that the news would supply me with even more examples of the damage done by religion, read this: Palestinian Teen Abducted and Killed in Revenge Attack [Click Here] 

Why am I a hypocrite?

ACTup-leveledI live a privileged life. There is no question about this. I benefit from the cultural construct of white male privilege. Absolutely. I am part of this culture, many aspects of which I enjoy and embrace, and have not eschewed those privileges, gone anarchist nor off-grid rogue to blow-up the system; so what? That doesn’t disqualify me from pointing out that said privilege is a problem, exists, does do harm.

I am, of late, quite disturbed by the complacency — nay, even the aiding and abetting being offered — of young people and others who are cogs in the wheels of the machine of old boy white male conservative christian privilege. When I was younger, I, too, wanted to blame the generations that came before me and accuse them of complacency and complicity as excuse for my doing nothing, as if being young and not having been alive when the problem began made it — now — not my problem. Well, I call bullshit. That stand is nothing but a diversionary tactic and another insulting, reductive “ism” — called age-ism.

There is much to be done and we are all — to one degree or another — hypocrites to deny that.

Others say it better than I can. For example;

Interestingly, if you look at the LGBT article, though written by a person of color, its photos depict mostly white folks. Just saying.

birth-control-gumball-hobby-lobby-scotus-638x424The influence and prevalence of cultural bias is so perniciously present, one becomes exhausted in simply the effort to stay aware of it. We are inundated, drowning in white male privilege bias and the assumption of its superiority; it has so long been embedded as the ideal, we are so brainwashed from birth, we fail to notice. And too, now that we are noticing with the beginning of real vigor, now that we have begun to object to our place on this plantation, the masters are striking back; and, even more alarmingly and dangerously, the masters have so much power they have terrified and indoctrinated and catechized many of their victim-minions into fighting the masters fight. Witness the recent ruling by SCOTUS denying women basic health care under the guise of “religious freedom” — the new code word for White Heterosexual Male Power & Bigotry:

That we even have to discuss this in 2014 is an illustration of how far we have yet to go as a culture. That a belief in christian mythology should trump anything as basic as health care is freaking unbelievable, but, even more astonishing and implausible — really, honestly, the sort of thing if I wrote in a novel an editor would note “too outlandish” — is that women — albeit religionist women — were celebrating the ruling of the five male conservative christian religionist (in)justices. But, religion — now as throughout time — has ALWAYS been used as a tool to brainwash and control the masses. I quote Christopher Hitchens from God is Not Great; How Religion Poisons Everything [Click Here]:

“One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think—though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one—that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.” [Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great; How Religion Poisons Everything]

And from the same book:

“Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”

Yes. It ought to. Yes. We all ought to. I have been thinking about this a great deal the past few days as I house/pet sit by a lake in a beautiful place I could never afford, in a place I — in some ways — covet, a place I am able to stay because of the benefits of the very culture of privilege to which I object.

read my lipsSo, I am a hypocrite. Which I freely admit. To one or another degree, everyone I know is a hypocrite. Even those of us who have been called fag or kike or cunt or nigger or been degraded and denied and abused and beaten up and down because we are who and what we are, even those of us more subtly abjured and shunned by glass ceilings and quieter, delicate, sneakier biases that offer seductive boons if one just plays along with the status quo — those old boy groups are tricky and sly, when they pretend that you’re going to get to share in the wealth, smoke the expensive cigars, sip the finest vintages, live on the lake, and have as many shelves of books as you want —

— long as you still call them master and don’t demand rights too equal — don’t get too uppity.

Well, I am uppity. And I still want to sit by the lake. And I know I am a hypocrite. And I am still allowed to talk about this and question it. As must we all … it is in the fear of facing our own hypocrisy that we hand over even more power to those who control the privilege and the world; it’s part of their perfidious agenda — to keep all of us in our little enclaves fighting against one another for the tiniest toehold — so that they, that 1 per cent at the top who already have most of the wealth and power — can keep accruing more and more as we busy ourselves killing and slandering one another for the crumbs and morsels that trickle down.

I am hungry. I am uppity. And I won’t shut up, and I will own my hypocrisy.

So, there.

 

 

 

 

A Word to the Why(s) : Ask and you shall receive — attitude.

This is the first in a new series of existential, philosophical ponderings, A WORD TO THE WHY(s).

I met today in real life a person with whom all prior contact had been via social media. In the middle of the conversation, this sort of “getting to know you” festival of background, biographical anecdote, and sound bite philosophizing, I said that long around mid-life crisis number two I had come to the conclusion that working endless hours every week to the exclusion of having a real life was not going to lead to fame, riches, or happiness, and thus, if I was in all likelihood going to end up unknown, poor, and sad no matter the efforts I made to fit in to the capitalist/male privilege culture American Dream, better I should work less and at least read some of the books I wanted to along the way to ending up on the street.

And I’m right. Who is it that determined a full-time job and a mortgage and a nuclear family and all that other stuff we quantify as “success” in this culture really constitute “success”? Why? Why shouldn’t I spend my days reading and writing and philosophizing in Starbucks? What makes that any less valuable a contribution to the world than the years I spent sick worrying over one or another job?

 

I sit. I sip. I read. I thrive.

I sit. I sip. I read. I thrive.

I understand that this view deeply offends or appalls many, and, for the most part, I have winnowed my collection of acquaintances to a small circle of loved ones who don’t judge me for my title, my bank account, or how many hours a week I do the equivalent of ditch digging, but, rather, honor me for who I am.

Those people who also ask “WHY” to everything. It’s time, I think, we all did more “why”-ing, instead of being kept SO BUSY running around trying to color in the lines of pictures that really hold no interest for us at all. Let’s tear up the coloring books and make of our lives our own expressionist works of art.

I am tired of being afraid every damn day that I have — somehow — failed at what I was supposed to be or do or — whatever myriad leftover Catholic guilt thing I feel from one day to the next —

I am, hereby, making a vow: I will see myself as the ideal flawed fabulous creation I am, with an inalienable right to do and be what feels true and right to my soul, without regard to the outlines society or anyone else would LIKE to impose upon me.

I’m Charlie. You can find me at a Starbucks. Or here. Where I am. Growing. And asking, “Why?”