The Breakfast Club
Thing is, I have a little bit of an anger problem. It doesn't come out often but, as anyone close to me will tell you, when I smell blood in the water, a different Tyler is born. I get volatile. I curse frequently. I throw statistics and papers like a baby flinging spaghetti bombs in Olive Garden and I won't let you breathe long enough to so much as mount an argument around them. Why not?
Because I was born and raised in an environment that has allowed me the unique perspective of knowing what fights are worth fighting, and knowing people based off merit. I am a cancer survivor. My father was emotionally and occasionally physically abusive - and not in that copout way you use to get numbers at speed dates. I am bisexual, and I realized it partially because of this website - there's a straight guy on this forum (h i y a a a r o n) who I jokingly called my first love until sometimes I questioned whether I was really joking or not anymore. I was in Ambage for a year and a half, and I made many conservative friends. Their beliefs all made me incredibly uncomfortable. They have made me incredibly angry, make no mistake. You wouldn't know it by talking to me. I have an encyclopedia of pop culture references in my head and I'm the king of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I play Cards Against Humanity with friends on the weekends. I tip waitresses 20%, I can flirt with my eyebrows, I spend ridiculous time on my quiff, Arrested Development is my anti-drug, and I put on my skinny jeans one leg at a time just like anyone else. But make no mistake. I am furious.
People don't want me to be, and I can understand it - I was affectionately given the moniker 'The Oakland Mafia' by a BZP member I highly respect not too long ago, and I'm okay with that. People vanish from their keyboards when I challenge them on a point, and I'm okay with that. I've seen a couple people on this website use the defense that their beliefs are a product of their environment. And that's okay, actually - I'm completely cool with that. Because I am a product of my environment, too, and my environment has made me mad as ######.
I'm mad now. Didn't mean to get mad, but I'm mad now. It all started with this, in Fishers' latest blog entry, My lecture for the night:
For example, before our current president, I would have made any president in a fictional story a white male unless I had a specific reason not to. If making the president a black women would add something tangible to the narrative, be it amusement, intrigue, drama or whatever, then of course I would give him those attributes. Otherwise, my natural preference is to make him standard in ways that audiences would expect. You can consider this a difference in tastes, but I usually build stories from the ground up, changing only one or two things in reality to make it my own universe but then discovering where the story naturally flows from there.
I wouldn't really call it taste, I would just call it bigoted.
Oh please. We were having a polite discussion until now. But perhaps I made myself unclear. In reality I hold no preference as to race, gender, etc. in the presidency. And actually, if I was to make a story in the future, I would probably make a woman president just to spice things up. But if I was to write a fictional story set in our current time (and I added the qualifier, before our current president), then I would have had a white male president. This is NOT because I prefer white males in the presidency, but because fiction that I read and write tends to mirror reality in all things but specific things with a purpose. It's basically a desire to suspend the reader's disbelief about even the smallest details (and I do believe that race or gender is a very small detail in the president considering that it should impact none of his decisions or actions). I did not intend to offend anyone in any way and I will give you the benefit of doubt since I probably did not make myself clear.
Make no mistake, Roablin (and I plan on posting a link to this in the blog entry in question, because if there's one thing I have never done it's talk behind someone's back without the intention to shoot straight and say it aloud) I don't think you meant to offend anyone here. Your comments are innocuous enough; you looked at the status quo and followed suit, and I don't feel a thing against you specifically for it. Honest. I harbor anger, but not grudges. There's an innate difference in my mind; the worst thing I could do is delete you entirely from my memory banks and worldview, which I believe only serves to worsen the matter. So this is nothing against you personally. This is against what you're defending - a culture and environment that shapes negative worldviews in subtle, clever little ways in people who would otherwise totally be able to see what HH, DeeVee, Makaru (and other people who are totally quicker on the draw and smarter than me) fight for regularly, because while you yourself may not intend to cause harm, your beliefs certainly do.
Remember what I said - I'm mad as can be, but I don't want to pummel you. I want to inform you, in frank terms, yeah, but terms that I would use and have used on several close friends before. It's what I would tell anyone.
First off, I know this term is beaten to death, but I think it needs to be said over and over and over, not so it annoys you but because of the simple fact that people don't like to talk about: you can beat a million terms into the sands of time, but it rarely means you can beat down the system itself. What you are defending from your past writings is a patriarchy. The very notion that you used solely white males (presumably straight) males when until 2008 with the election of Barack Obama, we had nothing but cisgendered white men with heterosexual tendencies (with one notable exception; James Buchanan, people, look it up!) does nothing but indulge a status quo that is corrupt and derogatory to the core, and even dangerous; sexual and racial minorities are at greater risk of suicide, homicide, harassment, and incarceration by broken systems and broken social codes, and it is our job as a generation to begin to turn the tide. In 2008, we elected Barack Obama as U.S. President - and honestly, I think it's great that changed your worldview! It was meant to! For a country to, just a century and a half ago, go from human slavery to electing a biracial President is a huge accomplishment, and I'm really glad that it affected you. But that's just a baby step - it's only a start. You have to realize that the unspoken social rules that kept minorities like Barack Obama and strong, intelligent women like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren out of office are still intact and out there today; when we reinforce the stereotypical image of the white man as the leader of the "free world," we're only breathing new life into those codes.
But how does this relate to you, you ask? All you did was write stories, and they were purely for fun's sake, because you love writing. That's totally okay! I've been RPing for four years, and there's nothing on this site I love more (besides the people!) so I totally get where you're coming from. But you know the rough thing about the BZPRPG? I've been in it for four years, and in that time, I've seen:
- Two gay relationships; both of which came about only in the last few months, and both characters were RP'd by the same character
- Two lesbian relationships
- One male-to-female transsexual involved in a relationship; one transsexual in general, actually
And that's still a big problem, because while we just write about it, we write based on our environments and our experiences. And even if nobody ever sees it, the people who write the movies we watch, the shows we DVR, the books we read and rave about - they all were raised in the same constructs, and people do see their works and take inspiration from them. And then they show their kids. And then their kids show their kids. And it all comes back to what I was saying about breathing life into these tired, backwards notions. They're there; they've always been there; most of them were disguised, shown under different names and with different twists, but they're there, and they had impressions on all of us to some extent. That's where the saying "everyone is a little prejudiced" comes from. It's true! We can't help but be a little prejudiced! But it's part of the struggle to grow as people - it's our responsibility to overcome it so we can grow as people.
You also said that race and gender shouldn't have impact on a person's decisions, but that, again, is basic human instinct. If a minority is picked on and abused for years, and then gets into power, why wouldn't they let their past experiences color their decisions and try to improve things? Who wouldn't try to make things better after working years being paid less than her male counterparts just because of her status as a woman; who wouldn't be bitter about being refused the basic human right to plan a wedding ceremony and see it through - something that is a lifelong dream of most people! - while their heterosexual friends are sending them wedding invites every year? How do you expect people to lie down and let themselves be kicked and spat on while never once implementing solutions to fix it? It's absurd! It's absurd and it's hurtful, and it's almost entirely subconscious in the day-to-day lives of most people. And what do
But again, none of this is a slam on you specifically, Roablin - they're things I've wanted to get around to saying for a long time in debates and have never been able to for fear. But I'm not scared anymore. I'm just angry. Angry, and a little hopeful that someone will read this and understand what's being done wrong, and maybe think of ways we can fix it. We have a wealth of possibilities and talents that no other generation has ever had - we could be the first wave of a new beginning in society. If we let ourselves be.
Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go grab some ice cream. Regular cookie dough, unfortunately - out of Americone Dream.
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