Podzilla 1985

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Being a White Person is Difficult

I know, you probably saw the article title and already decided not to read this because it sounds like another one of those "whoah is me" whiny white guy posts about a country slipping through his fingers and turning him into the bad guy.

Well, looks can be deceiving. This is not that. This is just some inner dialogue between the very confused facets of my personality that I've decided to air publicly because I make poor life decisions, in case the Playstation VR I bought yesterday didn't give that away.

Let me run you through my usual mornings - I get to work in the morning, make sure my store hasn't fallen apart or burned down, and while it's slow I check my usual websites for what I might have missed overnight.

I'm a journalist, but I'm also just kind of an information sponge when it comes to the world. I read the local news, the world news, paranormal news, video game news, celebrity news, and sometimes I listen to Huey Lewis and the News.

Although, to be honest, it's just the songs he did for the Back to the Future series. I never did forgive him for the whole Ghostbusters lawsuit fiasco. That song is a national treasure and he had no right to accurately claim copyright infringement.

Back on topic - so when I'm checking my sites, I come across more and more articles that are critical of white people in general. Just today, while reading over Kotaku (my poor substitute for the now dead Joystiq), I came across the following sponsored cluster of articles.

Without reading the articles I already passed judgement on the content based on the headlines, kind of like you probably did when you saw this one.

I learned two things from the pile of headlines - white women are the worst, and white people are bad people.

It's not a new concept. The fall of the white monolith has been a long time coming, and I can't say I'm shedding too many tears over it. I grew up white and poor, and all of the opportunities and privilege I was told I would get for my skin color seemed to miss me somehow. I fought and scrapped for everything I ever got, and I assumed that placed me outside of the box when it comes to the ignorance and arrogance that while people are criticized for.

Not only did I assume the term "white privilege" didn't apply to me, I actively rebelled against it. I
fought against the term and tried to discredit it. White privilege can't be a blanket statement, can it? If one person doesn't receive the same opportunities as another, then you can't label the entire race with such an offensive term.

And believe me, I took offense to it. In my anarchist brain, I took the term to mean that the world assumed I got where I am today simply because I am white. To me, it meant that everything I've ever earned was actually given to me simply because I was born to the right skin color.

I absolutely hated that. I have worked harder than most people I know, white or otherwise, for the smallest of opportunities because I've always felt like the odds were stacked against me. When someone tells me to my face that I had it easy, I want to break their jaw and yell the kind of obscenities I usually save for Huey Lewis, when I think about how he almost robbed this country of one of it's greatest movie themes of ALL TIME.

I campaigned against white privilege because I wanted my accomplishments to be recognized as a product of my hard work and creativity. This started a sort of spiral into what could be considered the very beginnings of an alt-right mentality.

I'd heard their rhetoric before. They believe white people are a target for this country now, and that we're somehow losing our identity to this progressive nation that has accepted homosexuality and is trying to welcome diversity like never before.

I was confused. I was starting to believe that white people were being targeted. Everywhere I looked, it seemed like white people were the root of all problems. We're oppressive, we're insensitive, we're exploitative, and much worse.

I'm not blind. I've seen the negative impact white people have had on history. We stole land from the Native Americans, we enslaved African Americans, we've sexually assaulted the men and women under us. We've generally been some bad hombres, as some stupid little man said once.

But that's THOSE white people. That's not me, right? I never stole anything from anyone. I've never sexually assaulted anyone, and I sure as hell don't appreciate being lumped in with a group of true evil.

But there were also things I completely disagreed with when it came to the so called alt-right. I don't believe homosexuality is a sin, and I am an known activist for gay rights. I don't believe white people are superior to other races in any shape or form. I love the progression of this country away from Bible thumping hypocrites to a free thinking society that embraces humanity as a whole, not just the kind we like.

It was during this time period of my life when I founded Podzilla 1985, and through conversations with the people on the show, I began to understand a little bit more about how I was wrong. I learned that white privilege doesn't mean I didn't work hard to get where I am. I learned that "all lives matter" is just a way of overshadowing the importance of black lives, because the Black Lives Matter movement is not sending out the message that other lives aren't important. And, I learned that things I found to be okay when I was younger was never okay, and I was just too blind and insensitive to realize it.

Rape jokes aren't funny. Racist jokes, regardless of who they're against, aren't funny. It's not that progression is trying to make the country too PC, it's just trying to make the country think up some better material and stop trivializing these atrocities.

In the simplest terms - I grew up. And I'm still growing today, as every day I learn a little bit more.

I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was the good guy. And in a lot of ways, that's the biggest fallacy of white people like me. You're not evil, and no one said you're evil. But when you fight harder to defend yourself and fail to realize what other people are suffering for, you become part of the problem. This isn't about you, believe it or not. This isn't about me. This is about a country looking for a new identity, because the one we've been using isn't working anymore.

I know you feel kind of lost in this world because sometimes you feel like the bad guy, but I'm here to tell you that you're not. Right now, you're not anything. But you can be something, you can be so much more than our ancestors ever were, by reading and trying understand what this new movement is trying to accomplish.

It is difficult being a white person, because your instinct is to rebel against news articles that say we should be better people. After all, you're not a bad person, right? How dare they insult you when they don't even know you.

But, trust me, that isn't the point. There are more important things happening than your damaged pride right now. This country needs to change, and if you think the critics don't have a point then just remember who we elected president. Remember how close Roy Moore, a verified bigot and alleged pedophile, came to winning Alabama.

And look, I get it. You're thinking "but I didn't vote for Donald Trump." You're celebrating Alabama because Doug Jones won.

But remember - a lot of people did vote for Donald Trump and he was elected. Roy Moore lost Alabama by such a close margin that he refuses to concede.

We cannot be a part of the problem any longer through our dismissal of what's happening around us. It's time to put our pride aside, and to embrace change. The fight will be uncomfortable, you will face some hard truths, and there will be times when you will feel like the world's enemy.

Just remember that however you feel, someone who doesn't look like you has had it worse and still has it worse today. That's the problem.

I choose not to be a part of the problem.
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