Thursday, April 19, 2007

Once I Wanted to Be the Greatest

A troubling awareness has descended upon my adult life. I have become the annoying voice of reason that I despised in my teens.

Here's the situation. My eleven-year-old nephew has presented a picture of himself, via a social community on the internet, that he is associated with a racist white supremacy agenda. Now whether he consciously knows that he is aligning himself with hate groups or is simply unaware has yet to be determined. I immediately let him know that what he was doing was disturbing me for obvious reasons. He hasn't let me know one way or the other whether he appreciates my concern or if I should simply fuck off and mind my own business.

The fact that I have grown into a mature conscientious person isn't what is causing me distress, nor is it the realization that with this responsibility I must act. What's bothering me the most is how can I find a way to communicate a vital message to someone who may not want to hear it?

I recall many instances in my early tweens all the way to my current age when I refused to listen to good advice from responsible adults who had my best interests at heart. Freshman year in high school my mother drove me to and from school (which wasn't just around the corner mind you but actually nearly an hour round-trip) and I was in the ripe age of fourteen discovering one of my passions: music. One afternoon I insisted that we listen to a tape a friend of mine gave to me earlier that day. To my surprise my mom agreed and we proceeded to ponder the wonder of The Police. The first song was about a man in love with a prostitute and the second was about suicide, and that was as far as we got. Needless to say, my mother didn't really feel to good about her young son being indoctrinated with these insidious ideas and she let me know about it, very vociferously. While she went on her tirade I felt myself sinking within myself and climbing down into my comfort zone of deafness and I began to despise her.

But it wasn't her I despised. What I didn't understand was that I had already fallen under the evil social vision of patriarchy. The main goal of patriarchy is to see women as inferior. This was my greatest failing. I had been programmed by the men in my life, by the establishment, by our culture to disrespect women in many subtle ways that I wasn't even aware of; including but not limited to the structure of the family, the occupational caste system, all forms of media (especially pornography and I don't just mean the obvious like Playboy, I mean all of it, from supposedly innocuous magazines like Details to the more soft-porn Maxim to Debbie Buttf**ks Her Way Across America and other such extremes, whose entire purpose is to degrade women), our educational system, etc. The main problem with all of it was that I had reached a point in my life where I thought I was superior to my mother not for any reason but the fact that I was male and she wasn't. So I refused to listen to the most compassionate voice in my life. I shut her out and arrogance swelled in my heart. I began to despise women because that's what I thought men were suppose to do, but the worst part of it all was that I really began to suffer. I became extremely unhappy.

Fortunately for me I found another way to live. I discovered a true philosophy that respects all people, women included. Now when I think back on the message my mother was trying to convey to me (a simple message: don't instill hate your life), I truly wish I had the fortune to actually hear. My life needed it.

So my concern regarding my nephew is basically the same concern my mom had for me so long ago. I don't want him to follow a path of hate. It is not one of happiness. At his age it may seem like one that is easy. Hatred beckons you with open arms and gives you a sense of belonging. It's much more difficult to be the sole voice of justice. But right now he is at a crucial moment in his life. He's extremely impressionable and soon he'll be discovering his voice and that voice is powerful. The voice of the youth is the voice of tomorrow.

There's a reason that I am faced with this heavy dilemma. There's a reason that he's shown me the world that he's living in. I must find a way to communicate to him so that he hears me, so that he doesn't sink down and shut me out. This is my challenge.



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