I’ve been trying this new thing where I have conversations with people who generally make me want to gouge my eyes out. The ironic intent is to engage in actually eye opening dialogue, in which a seemingly sexist/racist/likewise moronically inclined individual is able to convince me their backward ass way of thinking isn’t entirely archaic and misguided but rather horribly misunderstood. I’m sure you can tell from my lack of coddling this experiment has not been going well.
In the past few months I’ve wasted a ridiculous amount of energy patiently listening to those with opinions starkly different than my own. For the record, I do not get to pat myself on the back for this. What I’m calling an “experiment” should in reality be basic human decency, but I’m the first to admit I’m kind of a stubborn prick and am more prone to administer a swift “lol fuck you” titty twister and carry on with my day than put up with anyone’s regressive bullshit. And so, with this in mind, I have attempted to stifle my penchant for the profane, tone down my offensively loquacious liberalism, and make space for those who (turns out) take up too much already. I have sat composed as a man who adamantly claimed he was “not a misogynist!!!” yelled himself red in the face about the polarizing effects of feminism without recognizing the polarizing effects of his having spent the past hour ranking random women’s breasts. I have apprehensively nodded as a “please keep going in hopes this isn’t heading where I think it’s heading” gesture while a friend explained why they won’t be bothering to vote in November. I have left what I thought were genuinely curious comments on a high school classmate’s posts about “black on black crime” and white privilege and woken up to a stranger calling me a “special snowflake” — one that should “go back to the nursery, because the adults have some adulting to do.”
Needless to say, none of these interactions have been particularly enriching experiences. They’re also rather tame in terms of backlash compared to what a majority of people have to put up with on a daily basis — those fighting for their right to (forget thriving) merely exist without constant berating for simply being themselves. Those who aren’t fazed by lame insults because their inherent being has been spit out as the dirtiest of slurs their whole life. Plus, I’m fairly certain it’s a scientific fact the frequency at which you use “adult” as an action is directly disproportional to your actual maturity. I know this because I myself subsist strictly on self-deprecating humor and foodstuffs which cost no more than $1.25 in the vending machines at work. Sticks and stones may break my pathetically weak, junk laden bones, but there really aren’t any words you can hurl at me on the internet that’ll make me give a shit about your opinion if it revolves around name calling and an unhealthy love of jerking off with a confederate flag every night.
Perhaps living near Berkeley has made me too much of a hippie. Maybe going to poetry slams and writing workshops has made me ~*overly sensitive*~ to social justice issues, more likely to use words like “triggering” and subsequently trigger those offended by me taking initial offense (go figure). Quite frankly, I’m tired of parsing my language into digestible pieces for those still using origin stories of forbidden fruit as an excuse to be supremacist asswipes. Please, go ahead and use your newest favorite acronym to brand me as unintelligent. I don’t fucking care. If I wanted to have a pointless argument about labels I’d get back together with my ex.
I’m sick of pretending I’m doing some sort of vigilante service by not unfriending ignorant peers when the fact that I even have the option is part of the problem. I’m sick of being shamed into thinking empathy is just the newest bandwagon trend I’m lame for trying to jump on. Being called a social justice warrior doesn’t upset me. The fact that people finally caring about something bigger than themselves is being made out to be a ludicrous concept does.