The Dishonesty of Us

I think it is our lack of honesty that distorts the picture of our society. We debate incessantly over racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and so on, but we are rarely honest about how we really feel. We will confide in a few friends, have some candid moments in our homes with our families, but we put on a mask and pretend when we are in public. It shrouds the real picture of how we feel, and it keeps us from having true conversations, get to some serious revelations, and move on to some fundamental healing and progress.

Many of us would never admit our uncomfortability with those who are different from us; the Trans person who walked into our bathroom, the black kid that walked through our neighborhood, the handicapped person who just sat in the movie theater, the person with a deformed face that sat on the bus. Many of us feel that twinge, the sudden tension in our neck and shoulders, the quick cover up of over twisted expression, the urge to move away quickly.

These are the experiences we are reticent to talk about, out of fear that we will be looked upon as bad, and that we would be subsequently vilified, mocked, ostracized, our livelihood and social circles threatened, and overall given a public scowl.

We understand, we have done the same to others, so why would it not be done to us?

So we all walk around hidden in our stuff, never confronting it directly so we can deal with it without reprisals.

It takes courage to stand up and say I have these beliefs, I own these feelings, and I have done these things. It is easy to go along with the crowd and engage in deep denial, then point the finger at others. It’s the Jerry Springer syndrome, placing an individual or group of people on a platform who is deemed incorrigible, and then castigating them for it, making us feel better that we are not like THEM.

But we are no different. We just hide it much better, or that we must hide for our own survival, or perhaps more accurately, out of our fears. We have been doing this since the era of Phil Donahue, the first nationally syndicated talk show host to do this, and we have amplified it ever since.

So here we are, more polarized than ever, throwing daggers at each other, all the while stuffing our deepest darkest secrets way down inside of us. We will take them to the grave with us, and maybe after our deaths there will be such revelations, but we will be long gone by them, our consciousness floating somewhere in the universe.

 

Ron Kipling Williams