Friday, October 03, 2014

[kqwyexif] Identity of hate

To what extent do you define your identity by the things, and more likely the people, that you hate?  Would you consider yourself to be the same person if you didn't hate those things?

A parable, invoking stereotypes only for illustration: an African-American man catcalls an white woman, and she feels offended, demeaned, threatened.  The same African-American man catcalls in an identical way an African-American woman, but she is not offended, interpreting it merely as a way of saying hello; perhaps she responds back with friendly aggressive speech of the same flavor.  Thus, the interpretation of the catcall is a cultural difference.  Could the white woman change herself so she, too, is not offended by the catcall?

Yes, but that would require her joining, in small part, African-American culture; it would require changing her identity which is defined by not being of that culture, an identity defined by being offended by that kind of speech.  And given the way cultures and races are ranked in American society, changing her culture that way would require her to "lower" herself. A white person lowering oneself in this way acquires the label "white trash", a label which will incur significant negative consequences not only on the woman's future employment, income, and mating prospects, but also those of her children and future descendants.

Inspired by the same story from two different women: "It's the catcalls in Spanish that irk me the most" strongly suggesting racial, cultural, and social class effects are at play.  (Hispanics also occupy a lower social class.)

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