My first year of graduate school a friend told me I reminded her of Pacey on Dawson’s Creek. She told me I was a ‘pretty boy’ and asked me rhetorically, “shouldn’t you be working in finance?”
I told her she sounded like my father. She apologized.
The choice, to do the work that seeks equality and equitable lives for the marginalized as a white, cisgendered, privileged male is not an easy one. It provokes incidents of the most uncomfortable of situations. I have felt like I was put in a blender. While in school I have been the beacon for numerous incidences like the aforementioned pretty boy story, and that mirror of thoughtful, tolerant friends created the reflection of the reality of psychological violence. Her projection into me, felt like the beginning of the unconscious examination of what marginalized groups are forced to experience every day. It is the nature of facing the unconscious. Within that, it is a history and a knowledge. It is the formulation of a web of conditioning that must be unwoven in order to comprehend.
The construct of a white, cis, male has conditioned me, us to define value based on the wealth I/we create. This idea of the maintenance and the extension of one’s legacy formation lies deeper than the surface. It is the desire to know what happens when and after we die. To maintain relevance in the face of the anxiety of death. And though I would argue immortality from a metaphysical standpoint; these clunky meat-wagons we currently exist in are not immortal.
In consideration of privilege, there is nothing more depressing than a group of white hippies singing about the horrors of capitalism in a third world country. The sense of entitlement here is very sad. Dropping out of the fight for equality is, in its very nature, privilege.
Maybe the socio-political climate of the United States reflects the greater interplay of interpersonally motivated forces. On one side, the maintenance of a the construct of unequal racial dynamics and power (that supports the legacy of one kind of people) and the other to admit its existence and work at making it better for all people. One maintains the momentum of the constructed reality, and one slows it down to reexamine and redevelop it.
There are people who think supporters of Bernie Sanders are individuals who don’t work hard enough to get what they want. This is an isolated way of thinking that doesn’t examine the complexities of another person’s understanding and way of thinking/being. They do not consider that oppressive environments can cause psychologically damaging situations for those who have worked the hardest to get where they are, in the face of constant oppression.
Maybe those who support Bernie reflect an ethos of internal knowledge and understanding. It looks at both ourselves and the other person. This can be considered a shared experience of all human beings, yet it is one that is not reflected or valued in the culture at large.
Maybe those people who support Trump support him because they have spent their time looking outward, externalizing their fear and hate rather than the concentration of internal work that is the real challenge. Maybe those people who reflect that externalization wish to unconsciously maintain the power dynamics of society for the benefit of few.. those with accumulated wealth and those who were born into maintained out of the fear of loss.
Meanwhile the other side concentrates on the slow emergence in the tireless fight of internal turmoil, which can be brought to the forefront of the nature of reality.
Maybe not so ironically, Bernie Sanders mainly speaks about the backdrop of American politics (what goes on behind the scenes and how it has manifested into a machine for the wealthy…an internally motivated process of American politics) while Donald Trump shoots from the hip and just kind of, goes with whatever works. He maintains that momenteum though the fear and anger of the unconscious process that started this country in the first place. The Dream of a New World! It maintains the momentum of an unconscious externalization. The idea that something must be better ‘over there’, rather than an appreciation for what already is here. It enables those conditions and perpetuates a state of fear for those on the verge of economic marginalization and a loss of legacy (an externalization of the fears as the result of those processes).
The truth of the matter is, the legacy of the old American Dream is over. There is no hope for the way things were.
When white men realize, and see, that their power in society is the result of blind complicity, the very fabric of themselves will be ripped in half. They are born into it. And, through that awareness, they have the power to overcome the racial, economic and ethnic indifference that has been espoused throughout society. It won’t be pretty or perfect. It will be real.
Keep thinking. Stay woke. Break dissonance.