Latest posts by Aaron Diamond (see all)
- Why Donald Trump Thinks it is So Difficult to be a White Man - November 18, 2016
— “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
Love is complex. There is the emotional and romantic love, or eros as it is called that hits you like a train. Romantic love is so special and so sacred that we only share it with a very finite amount of people. One moment you’re walking down the street just like you do every day. The next, your knees weaken at the face of someone whose beauty is so captivating that it’s all you can think about. Something more than what is on the outside that might have been following you through previous lifetimes. Then, there is the agape or universal love and political positive energy we share with mankind. It’s why Bruce Willis takes Ben Affleck’s place to stay behind in Armageddon and why Randy Quaid goes all in with his crop duster in Independence Day. One is shared exclusively with one other single person, and one is shared through a deep wave of energy that connects every human on earth. We all have the ability to connect to this agape love for mankind, whether we are watching something on Television, introducing ourselves to a new colleague, or asking a cafe barista to place an order. Everything we say, think, and do is based on a single choice between love and hate. Hatred is what is keeping us from uniting as a species. We can achieve so much more if we work and communicate together rather than judge and persecute based on egotistical biases. Fear is based on painful emotions produced from regrettable experiences. Very unfortunate things happen to some people, but expressing more hate will only spread this negative energy like a virus and separate us. We have no reason to be afraid of anyone who accepts equality and our ability to unite. It is our duty to channel this energy to deflate hateful consciousness if we want to create a world of united peace.
I’m not talking about censorship, I’m talking about being socially aware. I’m talking about evolution. Once we fix the way we speak, we can fix the way we think. Ultimately it is up to us to alter the meaning of our society’s vernacular. Hatred can take the form of words like “pussy” or “gay” or “insane” or “ghetto.” These words might seem harmless to an objective person, but because they mean different things to different people, we have to actively find different words to use in these situations.
Anyone can connect to a sense of every word or “sign,” but every Human has their own way of processing and logging this information. These signs or “words” are chosen and used with a personal intention or what Immanuel Kant calls nominatum. Nominatum reflects the life of the human using them. Experiences and memories contribute to the intent and emotion behind our language. When I speak or write, it is impossible for anyone to grasp exactly what I mean by saying “white man.” When others throw these words around, the nominatum changes and can be used as a weapon to classify, judge, and stereotype those who are removed or aren’t as close to the nominatum. This is why when a white male uses words like “nigga” or “fag” or “pussy-bitch” it is immediately perceived as hateful because it is a form of othering. To people who have suffered oppression and abuse directly, the majority cannot relate and sound ignorant when using this language. Even seemingly objective words like “criminal” and “insanity” and “rape” can be used as a forms of othering, of racism, of stereotype. These awful words are destructive and influence hateful language to be exchanged between all humans. The word “insane” is used to separate us from mental illness. We treat mental illness like we treat criminals. They are labeled with fear because their minds work differently and we separate them from normal society. In most cases “insanity” is used in criminal context and we punish them. We have used the word “criminal” as propaganda to cast hate and ultimately control minority races. We haven’t abolished slavery, we simply gave it a new word. The word “criminal” might as well be “slave” because convicts are no longer citizens and almost half of our inmates are Black. It is words like these that are the most damaging to society because they spread us apart through hateful energy.
I’m not saying white men shouldn’t use such terms, but it is important to recognize that everyone comes from different backgrounds and words have a powerful effect based on who you are and where they come from. Listening and observing how these words affect other people can bring people closer together and build agape across bridges of misunderstanding. When someone calls us out for our “privilege,” instead of asking “how this is my fault?” understand that they only mean the white man has not experienced sexist oppression or racial discrimination. Our obscene language can only be changed through meeting strong members of our society who can withstand popular trends and transcend secular vernacular. It is our duty to surround ourselves with these people because that is the next radical step toward unity.
Since the beginning of time we have stuck to our kin. We are scared of “the other guy” because they might replace us or do something to extinguish us and my people. For Trump’s sake it’s time to evolve. We need to be on the same team. It needs to be our people to include every individual. I am all for competition in the marketplace, as it drives innovation, but it cannot seep into our language. No matter what you intend inherently divisive words to mean, the speaker illuminates a human consumed by hatred, devolving and tarnishing our society. As a white man myself, bred in safe neighborhoods and dragged through fifteen years of private school I ask my fellow privileged partners to politely shut the fuck up. We have a lot to say, and even more to preach, but this is not about us anymore. It hasn’t been about us for a while. But we now have a demagogue as the face of our great country. The magnifying glass has turned on to us and how we react.
I didn’t know how to react the night of November 8th when I found out Donald Trump was going to be elected. I was not at all a Hillary supporter, but I voted for her because I was mortified at the idea of a potential Hitler. My friend and I sat shocked in Hollywood, California as we watched the coverage. Everyone around us had known that Hilary was going to win almost to the point of feeling that voting is unnecessary. It dawned on us that we are in a tiny bubble of blue being swallowed by red lava, forming new rock around us. A lot of Bernie Sanders supporters would claim that they saw this happening after he was cheated out of the primaries, but the fact remains that most of America voted for what appears to be the caricature of everything wrong with our world. November 9th the world around me stood completely still. It was a time to reflect and figure out the next action. I wanted to hit the streets. I had been a part of Occupy Wall Street and I wanted to again feel frustrated with a Jon Stewart generation which know how to gather but not how to unite. I was hoping that maybe after all this time we can finally get behind something at once with a collective and cohesive strategy.
Last Friday night I paid for my rights of assembly and freedom of expression. The police herded us together in the dark. I was not allowed to leave. I was ultimately arrested while sitting at a park chanting “peaceful protest” and singing John Lennon. For four and a half hours I got to experience the privilege of being arrested as a white male. I am not one of those warriors who go out looking to get arrested as a selfless act to protest the mass incarceration. I did not want to get arrested, but after they slapped the plastic zip ties around my wrists I realized how wrong the system is realizing there was absolutely nothing unlawful or unamerican with my behavior that evening. I was afraid that my future might not hold all of the same possibilities after being charged with a crime. The police have the power to subjectively choose who is a criminal based on personal judgments. As a result, crimes disproportionately target minorities who often cannot afford to pay bail and are sacrificed to the prison system — perhaps irreversibly, as in the case of Kalief Browder. My arrest was a small taste of being on the other side of the police system — the side that millions of non-white Americans see every day. The way this country views the word “crime” and “criminal” can no longer flirt with racial lines. This is the next step of evolution. Only the power to forgive can trump the power of fear. Once no one is afraid, we will unite.
The only thing we should be doing is acting as an ally for those who feel targeted and repressed as a result of a successful supremacist presidential campaign. I am not saying to back down and roll over. On the contrary,it is important for us to put down our selfish egos and really ask “what can I be doing for those who are hurting?” Do you really think ego and self proclamations on social media will make anyone feel better or convince even yourself that you are not in fact a racist or misogynistic? It starts with your words and choosing to unite and not to separate. After you examine the hateful rhetoric being used, perhaps you will find some issue in a specific area of our improper education or experiences that will lead you to a certain action. Whether this action is posting on Facebook or grabbing the train to get arrested at a peaceful protest, make sure you are spreading the right message, and not something that will ultimately keep us divided. Open up your vernacular and scrutinize the words you choose and find the rooted hatred and oppression that only spreads more hatred and ignorance. Stop using words that attempt to generalize and herd humans away from each other. Aim to unite. We have to try and really love every human around us. We have to care and try to improve the lives of everyone and not just our family and networks. I got arrested searching for unity. I have felt what democracy looks like. I have planted roots in what I believe in and found what is worth sacrifice. I believe unity is just the beginning of what we can accomplish as a species.
Our environment has been surrounded by words. Words govern thoughts. Thoughts manifest behaviors and the actions that define the world we live in. Love or hate. The choice is ours.