I’m not talking about my personality, per se, but my make up. I’m a gay, Jewish Black Apache man–a minority among minorities. And today’s political climate has been, to use the word beloved by left-wingers, “triggering.” I know that what I am makes me less valuable, less wanted, more forgotten, than other people in this country and even this world.
I feel it with Donald Trump claiming that there are “fine people” amongst neo-Nazis and Confederates who shouted “Jews will not replace us” and waved Traitor Flags (because there is nothing prideful about slavery and betrayal). I feel it among the so-called “resistance” of the Women’s March, who claim to be about social justice yet attend events spearheaded by the misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan. I feel it when the religious right, which claims to be for small government, tries to take away my right to freely and openly love and marry. I feel it when international institutions that are supposedly for justice and reconciliation deny my people’s history, heritage, and aboriginal rights. I feel it when another young Black man is murdered by a cop and gets off, and the victim is put on trial. I feel it when tribal land being stripped away is deemed less important by the media than Trump’s affair with a porn star. I felt it just this week on Facebook when a colleague told me I shouldn’t be in my peacemaking Masters degree program because I believe that Jews, like all other people, have a right to our homeland. I feel it when Jews are consistently left out of the equation on “intersectionality” signs of solidarity with other oppressed groups, and when otherwise progressive people ignore or whitewash anti-Semitism when it comes from the left and from non-White people.
So how is it being the most hated person? It feels sad, because I know that there are some people who think I am not valuable because of who I am. It makes me lonely, because I can’t fit in with either the modern Right or the modern Left. It makes me feel unheard, because it is acceptable for people to make excuses for bigotry on both the far-left and the far-right, both of which are being “mainstreamed.” It makes me feel understand Game of Thrones’ Mad King Aerys when he says “burn them all,” because there are no good options or “sides” anymore. I’m screwed either way and, as the saying goes, a “pox on both their houses.” Because I am only human, it makes me angry & hateful, which is a contradiction because it feels so good at the same time it feels awful. I feel cold and suspicious, even as I crave affection, solidarity, and acceptance. I feel hopeless and tired since the world has only gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, even though I’m not even a quarter of a century old.
But I also feel more strong and independent than perhaps I otherwise would. I feel more motivated to make this crappy world a better one for my little siblings and future generations, because I don’t wish suffering and hardship on them. Even though I’m still a sensitive person, my skin has grown thicker. I’ve learned which battles are worth fighting, and when not to give a darn. I’ve realized who my true friends are, and learned how to be one. And I’ve learned that at the end of the day, I can rely only on myself. And that’s a lesson that all oppressed people need to learn, because if intersectionality doesn’t work for everyone, it works for nobody.