(By the way, this is written from a white, male, Christian perspective and I'm hoping to challenge people that fit one or more of those descriptions, I'm not trying to make normative statements about any of those descriptions).
(if it's red then it's bitter, dry, cold, hurtful sarcasm, like a knife)
How nice everyone is
Nearly everyone believes in all the nice things: Unity, equality, freedom, having a calm rational discussion when we disagree with others etc.. These amongst other similar principles and values are the irrefutable orthodoxy in our day. Only religious fanatics, Nazis and psychopaths deviate from our accepted doctrine.
That's fine, I for one am in the club
on this one, part of the team; team enlightenment, team rational thinking, team liberal, team freedom, TEAM WESTERN CIVILISATION, GO TEAM!!!!
And it was all going well until it got weird.
Why should anyone be angry when everyone is SO nice?
Cries for unity, I noticed, we're usually used to try to justify the worst amongst us. Pleas for peace we're covertly used to silence the oppressed. Those claiming to be neutral and unbiased about issues that matter always seemed to just defend the status quo. The encouragement to be calm and rational in disagreement was used to patronise people who shouldn't be calm, people who were angry and had every right to be angry.
The façade of niceness is used to be very, very 'un-nice'.
Too many people like to pretend that they're all lovely and care about everyone equally. Like when Christians say that we "hate the sin but love the sinner" when we're talking about gays. Catchy little phrase no? Mental shortcut to what to do and say when confronted with hard questions right? We act like we're genuinely neutral about the person, our focus is, we say, is on the fact that we treat them no different to anyone else we just don't agree with certain things they do. Wow! 10 points for us. Except that we don't bother acknowledging how badly gay people have been treated throughout Christian history, we don't consciously remember that gay people are still in fear of their life in some parts of the world and that those who will attack them and hurt them are doing so on the basis of the same set of beliefs we hold. We don't believe how badly people are being treated in our own churches. We don't get outrageously angry about it all, no, we just know what to say if we're cornered.
Its like when white people claim to be colour blind when it comes to race... colour blind in a world where we dominate everyone and everything economically militarily and politically... that's cute. Instead of going mental about how unjust this is, we say; "It's okay because we don't hate people just because they're black or brown", sometimes we even say that we don't even notice what colour they are! Its lucky for them really, since they're often so hostile to us (I like to head straight for the moral high ground too).
Its also just like when men say that we aren't comfortable with feminism, no, we just believe in equality for everyone, but the choose not to see that there is no equality. Saying we're for equality doesn't achieve anything, fighting on the side of the oppressed does... but that's just reverse sexism right?
The best people in the whole wide world
The most despicable and most dangerous of all is our assumption, not just of neutrality, but of the general good of our "betters". People who are exceedingly wealthy, people who are 'experts', people who have political power, people who lead, teach, advise etc. We seem to have a built in assumption that they probably want the best for us and that they probably know best.
So when the police shoot someone, the person probably brought it on themselves, when we must bomb another country our leaders know best, when the mega-rich amass fortunes beyond our comprehension they probably earned it all legitimately. We hold all this in tension with our assumption that kids being naughty in school probably have a mental problem or a personality disorder (and aren't just resisting being shoved through a system that treats them as disposable if they don't fit the mould), that homeless people are probably irresponsible (not everyone else for letting them freeze to death on the streets, no that isn't irresponsible at all), that people in the third world are probably a bit lazy, people who get arrested for things are probably guilty etc.
The language we use is loaded, we never tell people in power to learn to take some responsibility for themselves, we never tell them that they need to learn how to make an honest living, we never tell them that they need to be the change they want to see in the world.
A pattern emerges. We assume that those higher up the food chain are better than those at the bottom. This is the nature of hierarchy within human relationships, it is cruel and anti-social in the extreme. It is a lie.
The truth is that our "betters" are usually patronising, insulting, thieving criminals who treat us like animals. We are managed and manipulated to live as they want us to live, through the media, through schooling, through advertising through speeches and books, through behaviour management we are coerced into being calm (even drugged into being calm) to be good little worker-bees and not make a fuss.
The truth is that in this world, the real world, the only one we have, their good is too exploit us and our good is to resist their efforts to exploit us. The sooner we wake up to this the better. We can't have unity until we are all equal, we won't be calm until we are all free, there is no room for neutrality in an unjust world, take sides, get angry and stay angry until its fixed.