So, I have recently run into something that has caused me a little bit of confusion, and quite a bit of thought. For the first time in a long while, I get a little bit of what some groups have experienced for years.
As identity issues come to the forefront of American life, politics, and relationships, their have arisen a plethora of identity labels for people to choose. I have found myself scratching my scalp on occasion at the choice of terms and the vehemence with which some choose to voice their identity.
However, I finally have experienced a minute fraction of what it’s like to have my identity used as a kind of epithet with negative connotations. I am, what some would gleefully call, a cis-gendered white male. This is odd, because of those three defining terms, I have chosen not a single one. So, I can now imagine the surprise others have felt at suddenly having a name chosen for me for an identity I was born with.
Most often, though, those three defining terms are thrown about with a negative connotation as if all people who fit that description are innately and immutably flawed, hateful beings. (From my stance, that describes every human being save one, but I digress.) Regardless, though, I guess I am here just to say what has probably been said by others, though with much more reason, at the acute surprise felt when realizing an identity collection I fit suddenly becomes a by-word of mainstream culture.
Am I complaining? Not really. Do I wish the words would stop having a negative connotation? Yes. Do I believe some of the ire is well-deserved from the damage caused by entitled, misbehaving members of a group? Yes.
Found out what some would call my identity tends to have a negative connotation when used. Had a chuckle. Had a good think. Felt, although minutely, that words, as frivolous as they seem, have meaning, especially when tied to a group’s or individual’s identity.