I'm Afraid Of Americans
More and more lately, I’ve been reading news reports about people being aggressive towards others, whether it’s throwing bottles and slurs at NBA players, screaming at strangers in supermarkets and parking lots, road rage incidents... The media, of course, treats this like it’s some huge mystery. “Why Are People Becoming So Mean?” You’d think that they hadn’t lived in this country for the last four… or forty…. years.
Most of the people doing all this bad behavior are the very same people who have the most privilege but are convinced they have the least. They think the entire world owes them (often because they’re white and they’re used to it that way). Whenever literally anything doesn’t go their way, no matter how minor it is, their fragile minds cannot handle it.
If a minority gets aid because they grew up with violence, poverty and bigotry, white people want to know where their aid is. If gay people organize a parade to celebrate their right to be happy and loved, straight (white) people want to know where their parade is. The privileged always think they deserve not even just most, but basically all. If anyone else has enough to be happy, it must mean that they aren’t getting their fair share.
It’s bitterly telling that horror movies don’t work as well anymore because the horrors we have to live with every day are way more dangerous and terrifying than any supernatural entity could ever hope to be.
Whenever I watch a zombie movie now, all I can think about is how we’re kind of already living in that same apocalypse, carefully trying to eek out happy lives surrounded by hordes of mindless, unfeeling hateful creatures who just want to devour and destroy everything that isn’t them. How is The Walking Dead scarier than real world zombies who have no physical limitations, who can get guns basically anytime they want, and have a government that constantly encourages their hate and violence?
How is any slasher film scarier to a black person than just having to get in their car to go someplace, knowing that just getting pulled over means there’s a reasonable chance of jail or even death? If you want to get right down to it, cops basically ARE serial killers for minorities, they kill and they kill but THEY can do it without any fear of getting caught because being a cop is a license to kill recklessly and without accountability. It's knowing that even when "good cops" exist, they're too afraid of retribution to do anything about it, and of the few that still report corruption, they're basically always made an example of as a warning to anyone else who might develop a conscience.
If you're black and someone's breaking into your house in the middle of the night, what do you do? Call the cops who will show up and assume that whatever the threat is, it's obviously the black person, regardless of any other cues whatsoever?
And of course it's not just blacks getting treated poorly, it's Asians because of COVID, it's Muslims because they're always painted as terrorists (instead of white people who commit terrorist acts multiple times a month). It's Mexicans because they dare to try to seek a better life and are punished even IF they beat long odds to succeed. It's everyone who isn't white.
With all the utter bullshit that blacks and minorities deal with, all the constant pressure and microaggressions they cope with on a daily basis that builds and builds and builds, yet it’s WHITE PEOPLE who are doing all the shooting? White people are the ones who think THEY need retribution? WHAT? And then when white people go on their weekly shooting sprees, they get fast food and police sympathy. White mass murderers get coverage like “it must be considered what awful childhood trauma that sent this poor white man on his murderous rampage”.
As long as you're lucky enough to be born white, you can kill a bunch of people and still be at less physical risk of harm from cops than black people who are just minding their business. If you're black, any mistake you ever make, no matter how small, can be lethal.
But where the hell is that benefit of the doubt for anyone who isn’t white? Where's the benefit of the doubt when a terrified black person is doing everything to comply with an angry cop who is just trying to think of the best way to kill them and make it look good?
Yeah, it doesn’t exist.
It never has.
Look, I'm obviously not black, and I realize that speaking for them, even sympathetically, is risky and usually ill-advised. But I want people to know that I'm utterly fed up with racist violent cops, rich hypocritical politicians and white apathy/stupidity/supremacy.
Being white is like having a built in security system in your life, it’s a layer of automatic protection that most white people don’t even recognize exists, because they don’t have to live for even one day in the skin of someone else. Minorities cope with trauma on a daily basis as a matter of necessity and survival. White dudes shoot a place up because they had to wait a few minutes too long in line or no one will have sex with them or someone dared ask them politely to please put on a mask so other people don't get sick and die.
Hell, you can be a stunningly inept, laughably stupid rapist and be elected president if you're white. You don't need a plan, you don't even need a clue, you just have to tell other stupid angry white people that they're superior and that everyone one is to blame for anything bad that ever happens to them. Stupidity loves being told how brilliant it is.
I can hear some white person say “so I guess you're ashamed of being white? Why do you hate white people so much? You're the bigot!”
No, I’m not ashamed of being white, and I don’t automatically hate any group of people for their skin color, because I can think for myself, actually care about provable things like facts and evidence. I actually possess the ability to care about others who aren't clones of myself without having to know them personally or like all the things they might like. I don't need to exert aggressive control of other people's lives to make up for how poorly I manage my own.
I am however, extremely disappointed that I have to share a skin color with so many intensely detestable people who are so proudly ignorant and patently ungrateful for having so much and caring so little. I don’t hate people based on how they were born or who they wish to love. But I can't stop myself from hating those who choose to hurt other people who only want to live their lives in peace and freedom. I hate them for being selfish bastards who will never get enough to satisfy them, no matter how much they eagerly take away from people who already don’t have enough. I will never stop hating a government that hasn't been "for the people, by the people" in decades or more, if it ever truly was.
But....I am grateful for the safety bonus that being white entails, even though I realize I never had to earn it, even though I am still a gay man in a country where there is still plenty of hatred for people who just want to love whomever they want in whatever way they want.
So no, PEOPLE are not getting meaner or worse. The people who always had selfish hate in their hearts are just doing what their former president told them to do. Go forth, and exert your white superiority, show people who’s boss. Don’t ever let anyone, regardless of how much more they know about a situation than you could ever dream, tell you what to do and furthermore, assume that whenever anyone attempts to communicate with you that they're trying to tell you what to do. Make sure you tell everyone else what to do, though. Since you're white, you obviously know best. Treat everyone you don’t know as if they are the enemy. Delight in the pain of others, assume that their loss must always be your gain. Ignore facts, decades of research and scientific evidence and let your emotional immaturity tell you what is right and wrong.
When you turn on the TV to see cops mowing down black people day after day with impunity, how the media encourage fear of minorities, how they downplay the white threat and act like the malicious insanity of right wing politicians must be considered in some grotesque parody of “fairness”, why wouldn’t you figure that if you’re white you probably have a way better chance of being able to be an abusive asshole and get away with it than anyone else, by far?
Why wouldn’t you assume you can gather up your angry white buddies and their guns, head down to the Capitol and tear some shit up, maim some cops, threaten government officials with weapons and behave like terrorists and then kick back a few days later with a six pack, watch the highlights of your rampage on TV and laugh your ass off when the ABSOLUTE COWARDS that were previously shaking in terror for their lives decide that nah, those people are all good. Come on, they weren’t hurting anyone, they were just being concerned patriots! It's over and done, we should just move on and get back to aggressively screwing over the poor, sick and underprivileged who are already hurting and return to giving breaks and bonuses to rich people like we were elected and paid (and paid, and paid) to do?
If I sound much angrier than usual, it’s because I am. I lived with this much anger for most of four years. I lost so much faith in cops, in government, in people, in this country. And I’m realizing it’s faith that I should never have probably had to lose. As many have said, this stuff was always out there, but now people are pointing the camera at it (and getting beaten and arrested for their trouble). I didn't realize how bad things were, but however bad they were, they got worse under a leader whose only skill was in emboldening the worst of society to be their miserable selves more frequently and openly.
How do you even beginning to mentally come to terms with the fact that almost half the country wanted to re-elect the worst, probably dumbest president of all time? You can't tell yourself it's a few bad apples ruining it for everyone. You can't even blame it all on how embarrassingly stupid and ineffective the Democrats are. There's a critical core problem here in the hearts and minds of many Americans that just getting better candidates is not magically going to erase.
I used to rant on Twitter all the time about all this, but funny thing about constantly expressing all that righteous anger - it never helped me or anyone else. It wasn’t cathartic. Constantly reading and sharing tweets about the hypocrisy of politicians or corrupt cops never for one second made me feel even a tiny bit better. Dunking my head in the toxic hellish misery of news and social media outrage day after day only made me feel sicker, weaker, sadder, worse in almost every way. I had to stop. I had to find something to feel happy about, something to find hope in.
I know some people see that and think, oh look, look how fake that ally was. He cared for ten minutes and now it’s back to all fursuits and funny memes. Typical white dude.
If anyone wants to think I’m a fraud because I can’t see the benefit in raging on social media anymore, knock yourself out. It still hurts to see that nothing has really changed in any meaningful way in spite of almost a year of protests and promises, black people are still dying, protestors are still being brutalized, cops still have more power than we can ever hope to take away, politicians are still making promises and not keeping them. There’s more to feel bad about than anyone could ever want, and yet I’m not going to waste what is left of my life focusing on horrors that I have a very limited ability to affect. I will do what I can and I will hope for the best, but I would be a fool not to realize where I can do the most good and put most of my efforts into that. Helping where I can help.
It’s so easy to be skeptical of everyone now. Some might even say smart, but it feels bad to me to have to initially assume that everyone is a threat, might be lying to me, and is only out for themselves until they prove otherwise. I realize that sometimes you don’t have a choice; if you want to survive you have to do whatever gives you protection when nothing and no one else is going to. But you don’t have to be naive to be hopeful. You do have to recognize what your mindset is, be aware of how you perceive things and what you’re focusing on.
There is infinite beauty in the world, and probably also infinite tragedy. The best we can do is aid and prevent as much tragedy as possible while celebrating and promoting the beauty. No one said it would be easy, but the most important things often aren’t.
If the world is a messed up place, then at least we can at keep our part of it in order.