Damn it. Almost reached 100 followers on twitter then I have to go and write something like this. The mass exodus will begin at the end of this post.
Sometimes I wonder why we all can’t get along. I know it’s been 20 years since the LA riots when Rodney King called for peace with those words but I think it’s as true now as ever. Being part of the Internet screenwriting community has been a blessing for me. I’ve learned so much and laughed pretty darn hard. It’s amazing how funny professional writer’s can be in 140 characters. But people can use that same small space to be cruel and vicious. I’m not saying not to disagree with people but even on Deadwood they never said cunt this much.
Now, I understand anger. As a non-religious, poor, black, bisexual, disabled, woman, I am hated on and/or misunderstood by someone or a groups of someones at all times. I’ve gotten so angry at things said I’ve screamed and cried and yelled until I’ve locked myself in my room hoping for the world to go away. I’ve learned over the years, and with a lot of therapy, that most of that anger stems from hurt. We lash out at people because they hurt us.
Increasingly, Americans don’t listen to or converse with people who have differing opinions, perspectives, or socioeconomic backgrounds than themselves. News stations and websites have been created so we can continue to consume the world through the skewed lens through which we already look. There are studies that say that when we debate with people who have differing views from our own we become smarter, more productive and more articulate people. Yet we only fill our social circles with people who share our views and not only shun, but mock those who do not.
During my first year of college, I took a rhetoric class. I didn’t have a clue what the class was going to be like when I signed up for it the summer before. It turned out to be one of the things that defined my freshman year. Almost every discussion commenced with a woman, we’ll call Kathy, (not because I’m trying to protect her identity I just don’t remember) and I on opposite political sides. I enjoyed debating her. We never would change the other’s mind, but the conversations were stimulating and respectful. Then near the end of the year we were talking about something, (don’t remember that either ’cause after Kathy’s next sentence my head exploded) and she said that the reason black people don’t make anything of themselves is because they don’t work to do anything with their lives. Like I said, my head exploded. I told her that I was sitting across from her at the same school, in the same class, participating just as much as her, how dare she say I wasn’t trying to do anything. Well, I yelled it, then stormed out of the room. I was so hurt and angry that this woman who I had spent all this time respecting as an intellectual opponent had been dismissing me because of my race. Despite days of broken heartedness I went back to the next scheduled class. I kept my mouth shut for most of it, but I went back. Out of the four black students that started at my college I was the only one that survived after that first year. I graduated from that same college, the darkest one to walk across the stage.
I’ve chosen and had no choice but to go back into uncomfortable situations my entire life. Too many of us do not and hurt ourselves by not being willing to be uncomfortable. Risk an argument, risk being hurt, risk learning from someone you have nothing in common with. Risk being a better you.