Anger fuels a lot of stupid actions. It leads to shouting matches, regret, violence, and in worse cases, death. Often, it goes hand-in-hand with fear. It also results in ignorance. Hurtful, destructive, pitiful ignorance.
Spewing hatred back at those who have hurt us feels good in the moment. And you would think most of us would understand that doing so fixes nothing. And perhaps most of us do, but I see enough contrary evidence to think otherwise. I’m talking about two items in particular: sexism towards men, and racism towards white people.
Both are everywhere.
In recent months, just like you, I binge-watched seasons of Fuller House. And I cringed. Don’t get me wrong–great show, fun blast from the past, good memories, good times. But one of the earlier episodes of the first season features a joke at the expense of white people, delivered by the character Ramona. The laugh track sounded, implying, perhaps, that I too, was supposed to laugh. Lame sitcom jokes aside, I couldn’t even crack a smirk.
Now, let me make it clear: I’m not trying to sound like a butt-hurt whiny white person. My ultimate concern is not my own bruised ego, but the collective emotional health of society. How, I ask you, do we fix what’s broken by breaking it all the more?
The problem continues with treating men as stupid and less-than women. Yes, women are more often sexually abused. But men are, too. Women have traditionally suffered belittlement at the hands of men. But with the pendulum swinging the other way, more than ever, men, too, are belittled. And to suggest that “real men” know “it’s just a joke!” is nothing short but hurtful and small-minded. Flip the switch for a moment. It’s nineteen-fifty something, and an ignorant dude makes a sexist remark about his secretary. She’s offended. “Relax! It’s just a joke!” …Are we offended? And yet it’s just fine, right, to cop the same attitude when men and the women who support their rights get righteously angry at such remarks? “Relax, dude, it’s just a joke!”
You’re hoping, I assume, to “make things right for women” by insulting men. And, perhaps, you’re hoping to “make white folks wake up and understand racism is still a problem” by making and supporting racist remarks about white people.
Or maybe you’re just angry.
And you have a right to be.
I’m angry, too.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Poisoning a poisoned apple doesn’t make it less poisoned.
I’m aware racism and sexism are problems in this world. They always will be.
I also understand that because of the color of my skin, I can’t ever fully appreciate the problem of racism as it pertains to black people, or any non-white people group.
I also understand that there are some people who think that “white” is an nationality and that white people have no culture. And I’ve been told by a black person that my skin is “too white”, and therefore is “gross.”
But this problem goes beyond any personal insults. Anger makes us do stupid things. Which is why we also need to forgive. We need to lift up and protect the persecuted. We need to educate ourselves. And part of that is refusing to take part in any form of prejudice. …Laugh tracks included.