I had the misfortune of being raised with an earful of racist and misogynistic rhetoric; and saw early that it was a dogma of inherent elitism, though it will undoubtably take me a lifetime to fully unlearn the deeply imbued cultural aspects the negative consequences that type of “better than” thinking has on the individual within our society.
When I got a little older, into school-age, I began to feel out the hate I had early picked up on,… one, myself included, could see how easy it would be for any one to fall into such poisonous modes of thinking; it is easier to blame the other religion, other country, the other race, the other political party, your partner in a relationship, or just generally the other person as the cause of YOUR problems,….
The real problems, I feel, begin with the “better than” notion, but then, if that mode of thinking becomes engrained in an individual, there are ample opportunities to get pulled into a subculture based around those shared notions; one with its own language, meeting places, art, literature, and community. I could see this developing even in junior high, where the type of music you listened to, if you choose something over anything, determined to some degree, in my region of the world, the social circle you travelled.
It wasn’t until I began to see this “better than” mentality laid out a bit more bare and prideful, in the lyrics of bands like Skrewdriver, that I began to truly be turned off to the entire notion of “better than” thinking, as a whole,… though, it first took me taking in the image of how ugly its symptoms looked at their best; a bunch of people standing around enjoying each other’s company, somewhat, while rallying around a banner of hate? I never even had to go to a show to know it wasn’t for me, as well as cause me to question things which I had been “brought up with”
As I watched a bygone early youth begin to turn into a cult of negative and violent opinion it disgusted me in a deep way, forcing me to rediscover some of my own familial mis-teachings, as well as to analyze my own cultural identity, and possible culpability, causing me almost immediately to make an active effort to shed the chains of oppressive thinking I had been previously plaguing myself with.
Even the act of removing one decayed leaf from in front of the window which I’d allowed to overgrow my eyes caused my mind to become flooded as if a new way of being, not just thinking, was presenting itself; I made this discovery, when I began to look not at how others were impeding the world I wanted to see, but started to look into how the self I would be would act and think in a more ideal world,… As the ice of prejudice, which could only hold any hope for a better world frozen out of reach, melted away, the reality that the logical conclusion of such “better than” thinking was either apartheid or genocide seemed to be the only solution being offered in application of such a mentality began to set in, flying 100 percent in the face of even the most basic conception of what I thought a “better world” would look like.
In order to grow I must acknowledge who I once was, a bigot, as, once, I held feebly onto the straws of shameful inborn entitlement.
Yesterday, Sunday August 5th, saw a man who I will intentionally leave unnamed, who walked into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, opening fire and killing 7 people of a thinking and religion other than his; reports would indicate he traveled in racist music circles; I can only hope out of such tragedy, that others are forced to self reflect and acknowledge the destructive nature of such “better than” modes of thinking, because as angry as we all are that the the human race has not overcome our deeply ingrained apathy to create a condition of mutual aid and support, we must, at some point agree that violence generally begets only more violence, while in certain instances death can bring further understanding, only in finding ways to live together under a the banner and framework of “equal to” will we all be able to create, and live, in lasting peace.