Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stop running from yourself. Learn to like who you really are, and live End identity politics: Do what you want, be what you are!

I’m starting to think the growing absurdity in our nation’s culture can be explained by a simple but troubling fact: Far too many people just don’t like who they are. They don’t like their identities.
Take Bruce Jenner, a man who won Olympic gold medals but ultimately decided in his 60s that he “identified” as a woman, and now wants everyone to call him Caitlyn while he struts around in a skirt.

Or take Rachel Dolezal, who became president of the NAACP in the Seattle area while claiming to be black. When it came out that she was actually of the Caucasian persuasion and just made her hair and skin up to look black, she was humiliated but defiant. And now she’s writing a book about racial identity for some reason.

Or take Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claimed to be part Native American, perhaps because that makes her part of a grievance group considered virtuous by the left. It’s almost as good as when Bill Clinton declared himself the “first black president.” Bill Clinton may be many things, but he is certainly not black. I know black. Check some of those old photos of his paisley white legs in jogging shorts if you have any doubt.
Sometimes we try to alter our identities in more subtle ways. Take Brian Williams. He didn’t pretend not to be a white guy who anchored the news, but he didn’t seem to think that was interesting enough by itself. So he made up a bunch of nonsense that never happened so he could add to his identity: Brian Williams – swashbuckling adventurer!
What a drag when it turned out he was just a guy sitting there reading a teleprompter. At least for him. Most of us pretty much suspected that and didn’t see why it was a problem. But I guess it was for him.

You might know people like this too. I recently heard about a strange-looking guy who hangs out in a coffee shop and tells the baristas he is an undercover FBI agent. If that’s true, I think someone needs to explain the undercover part to him again. But of course, it’s not true. He just thinks it will make him seem more interesting than who he really is.
Remember the Seinfeld episode where someone tells George they’re living a lie? George replies, “Just one? I’m living like twenty.” What made George so funny was that he was so manic, and that’s because he was always trying to outrun the person he actually was – because he didn’t seem to like that person very much.
I’m starting to wonder why so many Americans don’t like their identities. Black conservatives like me often get told we’re Oreos – black on the outside and white on the inside – as if we were trying via our political views to somehow become white people. I always smile and say no, I’m an ABC – an American Black Conservative. That’s my identity, and I can’t imagine trying to run from it. But far too many people are running from who they are, as if you can somehow escape from that. Some people disassociate themselves from their families. Some move to new cities and towns where no one will know them in the hope they can start over and create a new identity. But ultimately none of us can really change our identity, and it seems to me this nation is driving itself crazy trying to accommodate people who are on hopeless quests to do so.
What I wish people would understand is that you can’t change who you are, but you can change what you do. If you’re a short, bald white guy, then do whatever it is you want to do. You probably can’t play in the NBA but you might build a great business or become part of a ministry that helps people. If you’re a black woman from the ghetto and you’d really like to be a businesswoman, but people tell you that’s not what people from the ghetto do, then become a woman from the ghetto who defies those notions.
But you’ll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation if you stop trying to change things that are unchangeable, and focus on what you can actually do. If you’re a man, you can’t make yourself a woman. If you’re white, you can’t make yourself black. If you’re 30 years old, you can’t make yourself 20, or 40. If you’re a politician who grew up in relative comfort with a stable family, you can’t make yourself a poor, oppressed minority from a broken home. That might make for a better story, but it’s not who you are. So just be who you are and work from there.

Maybe this entire country has an identity crisis, and we’re going through insanity because we really don’t like who we are – so we’re trying to change it. Stop that.
Remember that old song by Daryl Hall and John Oates?
Do what you want girl, be what you are
There ain’t no right or wrong way, just a play from the heart
It ain’t a sign of weakness girl to give yourself away
Because the strong give up and move on, while the weak give up and stay
Do what you want to do, but be what you are
I think the point is that you don’t have to change what you are to do what you want to do. But if you’re always running from who you are, you can’t really do what you want, because you’re too busy running from something you can’t ever get away from.
Or to put it less politely: Quit pretending and start living in reality! The whole country needs to do that, but I don’t see how we can do it as a nation if we refuse to do it as individuals.

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