Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Let's not be elitist, April."

Okay, so hopefully every human being in the world is on an individual path of continual growth and transformation. Soooo I'm going to share a little bit about mine. Since moving back in with my parents after graduating from college, spending so much time with them has made me privy of their flaws, just as they have become privy to mine. Today I want to talk about being elitist.

Symptoms of April's Snobbery: 
  • Biting, disdainful comments about mainstream popular culture (e.g. Dancing with the Stars, Miley Cyrus/Taylor Swift, Glee)
  • Passive-aggressive comments about people making uninformed consumer choices (e.g. shopping at Wal-mart, buying bananas and Proctor & Gamble products, "Oh, I only buy organic fair trade cocoa powder")
  • Smugly & inwardly gloating at single-occupant motor vehicles as I bike to my alternative homeopathic massage therapy appointment 
  • Using abstruse academic jargon unnecessarily (e.g. constructivist paradigm, internalized oppression, the law of diminishing returns, fundamental attribution error)
  • Being impatient with friends and family that are not progressive enough (e.g. anti-racist, feminist, body-positive, anti-oppressive and intersectional-->Subtext: "Why can't you be cool like me?")
  • Projecting (intentionally or not) a demeanor of judging and self-righteous superiority
Why am I like this? Okay, so now let's commence the nature vs. nurture argument. 

NATURE: I'll be honest; my personality-type tends to be rigid and preachy. This is "how I roll." Granted, I can notice when I'm getting way too ramped up and tightly-wound and try to "tone it down." However, it's an indisputable fact that whether or not I verbalize my harsh judgments of myself and others, I still have them. 

As a self-absorbed perfectionist, I demand a LOT of myself--spiritually, ethically and intellectually. It follows, then, that I'm also quite hard on others when it comes to their thoughts and behaviors. Ugh, and as an intuitive person sometimes all I can see are others' flaws and their selfish motivations. I am a critic and a "glass half-empty" sort of person. Tuff. That's how it goes.

NURTURE: The prevailing cultural hegemony of my generation is without doubt (white) hipsterism. As a middle class American woman, I am about 70% hipster, for better or for worse (mostly worse). Elitism is a cardinal tenant of hipsterism. Being cynical, sarcastic and holier-than-thou in general is what being a hipster is all about.  

Furthermore, as a graduate of an institution of exclusive and elite higher learning I am, by default, an elitist. The main assumption of elitism is that being "enlightened" with "knowledge" makes a person inherently better than a high school dropout or a boorish midwestern redneck (sorry to use this slur, but uh, you'd be lying if you don't use it in the privacy of your own home, too). 

All hail the king of elitism, Dr. Frasier Crane!
I apologize if that pop culture reference is lost on you. 

So. Conclusions? Yes, I am an elitist. I am a snob. I am a self-righteous, grudgingly hipster, unbearable judger of all things that can be judged. There's no use in denying it. 

All I can tell you is this: I'm working on it. I have good days and I have bad days. Ideally, I always want to be in the space of "I just love everyone and I want to affirm everyone and you are beautiful and weeeeeee! life is beautiful, the end." Until then, I will try my utmost to be more compassionate, gentle and understanding with myself and humanity in general. Can't make any promises. But I will try. 

1 comment:

  1. OH APRIL. you are me and we are each other.

    i am working on EXACTLY THE SAME THING. judging just feels so icky, right? i don't want to judge someone unless they ask me to (e.g. presidential campaigns lol).

    let's be anti-judgmental-ists.