Saturday, May 03, 2008

Anger breeds anger.

I'm very, very tired of anger.

For the sake of chronological neatness, let's say the great social revolution in America that freed blacks, women and gays from 'social bondage' occurred in 1968...forty years ago. So here we are now, forty years later, in 2008, and from what I see (granted this is a generalization, but generalizations contain truth; somewhat distilled, but often necessary and convenient for discussion) blacks are angry, women are angry, gays are angry...and I am all too often the both silent and expressed object of their anger.

I am a typical aged white heterosexual male and therefore an oppressor (I'm not really 'white'...I am olive brown, a mixture of Turk and North European. But the angry class, I am white. Oh, well...) So as a white, heterosexual male I get constant attitude...a form of anger, no?...from blacks, women and gays. Rarely do I get the benefit of the doubt. I am racially/gender-ly/sexual-orientedly profiled. Granted, part of the anger toward older males is built into the race...simple Oedipal ageism, youths' typical reaction to older people: "Get out of the way old man; it's our turn now!" But that's only part of the attitude/anger problem.

I don't want to start getting angry back, but...I don't think I personally oppressed anybody.

Granted, I was lucky by birth., I admit. I was born white, male and heterosexual (and American...let's not forget my American stroke of luck) in, granted, a predominately white heterosexual society that was primarily run by white heterosexual men (who didn't just clip coupons, by the way...a lot worked, some worked hard, some in factories and digging ditches, some in WW II).

But since when is luck to be considered a sin? If a woman, black or gay (or for that matter an Asian or African) found a hundred dollar bill, would they give it back? Would they spend hours upon hours trying to find out who lost it, and then spend more hours sorting through rival claimants, to be able to distribute the hundred dollars fairly, buck by buck, or penny by penny to those who have less? I doubt it...a slight shopping spree would probably be more in order. I agree, whoever found a hundred dollars should give the hundred bucks to charity; but do women, blacks and gays give any more to charity than lucky white, heterosexual men?

Luck in life is just too complicated to define and share its glories....much less eradicate from human existence. Besides, I wasn't totally lucky. I was born susceptible to overweight, poor, with acne, who mother and father had a rancorous divorce when I was twelve...but...I don't claim sympathy and understanding, not even from naturally slim black man, silky-skinned beautiful woman or a gay person who was lucky enough to inherit the slim, attractive genes and parents (and maybe even money) that they did.

Besides, I wasn't the white, male, heterosexual male who, in 1968 and prior, perpetrated all the oppression. In fact, the opposite was true. I voted straight liberal (the party of te oppressed, no?) all my life. My son's godfather is African, my son-in-law is Hispanic (another angry-at-white-people group...another generalization, I know....), and when I attended college I never had prejudice toward guys. I was in theater. To tell you the truth, I was so UN-prejudiced I couldn't even tell a gay from a straight...they all had this special way of talking, very cultured and refined; while I spoke pure inner city Jersey. In fact, the opposite is truth: they used to laugh at me.

Look...The past is past. Oppression is not cured by oppression. Anger is not eradicated by anger. Old generalizations about race, sexuality and gender is not solved by new generalizations about race, sexuality and gender...unless we want to accept an immutable truth (which I don't): all human beings oppress. They only salient question in that case becomes: who gives shit and who takes shit? In the world of inescapable oppression, power rules. And if that's the case, let's put on the gloves, and let the best man...or woman, or gay, or straight, or black or

That's not the world I want. But that is the world I seem more and more to be called upon to operate in.

I'm getting angry.


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