Everyone’s got that one or more moment in their past they regret. Bad haircuts, bad choice of partners, what the hell where we thinking when we wore that, and awful, awful beliefs about race, gender, politics, you name it.
Julia over at Secular Woman gathered a bunch of stories from members of the problematic beliefs we once held before we gather age and more than a few clues. Here’s mine (typos and all!):
When I was in my late teens to late 20s, I was a triple threat; a Chill Girl, a the Token Non-threatening Black Friend, and a Poor Libertarian.
“Ugh, girls are icky, backstabbing, gossipy little twits who want accept me in their little club anyway. And if they’re feminists? Please, buncha whiny girls who don’t have anything else to complain about. We got the fucking vote, right? You can own land and not have to get married to get laid. If they’d just have sex like guys do, they’d be fine, right? Aren’t we supposed to all sex-positive? That means fucking like the men! Don’t be such a prude! I once read about some big name feminist named Dwakin, Dwo… whatever, who claimed that call heterosex is rape! Can you believe that shit? I’d never be a feminist. I’m one of the boys! Bitch! Cocksucker! Cunt! Hah, hah rape jokes are so funny!”
“Man, black people are lazy whiners, I’d never be one of them! I’m an Oreo, get it? All of my white friends act blacker than me! I don’t “do” black––unless it’s for a joke. If you need someone to turn up the AAVE and act like an Angry Black Girl, I’m your girl! Mm-hmm, sho’nuf. Slavery was, like, 300 years ago, we got the vote, and they need to get over it. If I knew I got to college under Affirmative Action, I’d drop out. I’d be offended; how dare they treat me like some number in a quota? I got here all on my own, and fuck them other folk. Oh, oh! I know this really funny joke: Why is aspirin white?”
“Yeah, I could qualify for food stamps, health care, maybe even some section 8 for a place to stay because I make minimum wage and I’ve got a chronic illness, but I’m not going to do that. Nope. I’m not some leech sucking the government teat. I grew up on government cheese and projects and all that, and I’ll never stoop to that level again. I’ve got my pride. None of my friends are on that mess. That’s just offensive that you would even suggest it! Leeches are the worst. Just you wait until the Libertarians gain more power. Everybody won’t pay a dime in taxes and we’ll shrink the government, and if you can afford to live, too bad!”
Yup, I existed in this world with those thoughts in my mind. Quick, class, point out one example of nonsense in those words. Extra points if you can find them all!
I did all of this nonsense, mostly to fit in, mostly due to the need to belong. I spent most of my childhood being rejected, so when I was a young adult, well, I lashed out. Fine, if I’m not Black enough, fuck you, I’ll be the biggest bestest Oreo in the whole wide world! I sucked at being a “girl”, fuck you, I’ll hate my own gender and all of the trappings involved! I’ll show you!
What changed? Well, I grew up, and in growing up, I realized that no matter how ‘white’ I behaved, I was still Black, and society still treated me as such – especially when it was time to ‘perform’ a stereotype. No matter how much I behaved like “one of the guys”, I was still perceived and treated as a woman (especially when my “friends” were horny). I was assaulted, insulted, offended, and smiled my way through it. Who wants to be the fun-killer in the group, right?
Then, I had enough. I wasn’t having fun anymore. So..I started being the fun-killer. I lost friends, gained new ones, traveled with other friend who were going through that same changes. And now, I’m more me than I’ve ever been. And it feels great. And looking back, I can’t help but smile a little through the cringing.