August 9, 2009

Stick to your own age

I was talking this over a few days ago with a CERTAIN YOUNGUN and I thought it might make a good post. Or a post at all. I have a quota to fill (it's 2).

I first discovered the world of internet journaling many eons ago when I was about 13 I think. And like most Lonely Kids I generally posted about teenage angst, cutting, pill popping, assorted lulz, and resisting therapy because I was so kewl and totally together.

I think if you were to look at it, it would be pretty obvious that a young person wrote this, but for as long as I can remember I've more or less steadfastly denied my age over the internet. At first this was simply so I could look at porn and not have the cops come after me. Also I kind of hate people my age (this eventually morphed into simply, I hate everyone)But then it was something else...

When I first started semi-seriously blogging I avoided mentioning my age, gender, and race. Not only that but I avoided it HARD. If I could rewrite a sentence so as not to reveal either fact I would spend all day figuring it out. I pretty much existed only as an entity usually with a unisex-ish name but I was most of the time assumed to be an older (than I was) guy dicking around on the internet. It was mostly through words & actions. Apparently I just don't write like a girl (unless I feel like writing like a girl, I've never noticed the difference). Whatever, I was fine with this.

Why? Well, because at that point I was already well-versed in 'net culture (and, by extension, life) and I knew who usually got ignored on the internets...and in life. I'd had more than enough of being condescended to and flat out IGNORED in real life and I discovered, if I just let people make up their own minds I was more likely to be listened to. ACTIVELY avoiding being a young black girl on the internet only came up when I needed to be "serious". I didn't want to be seen as "____ for my age/race/bein a girl" I just wanted someone to listen objectively. Don't question my poorly thought out logic.

And by damn, for better or for worse it actually worked! Too bad I can't do the same thing in the real world (except over the phone. See: White, sounding)

After a while though I started getting tired of this position. You see, when people assume you're "one of them" they get more comfortable with you and...well they just assume. I got subjected to the usual hipster racist dead baby misogynistic rape jokes and I thought it'd be weird if I objected. (You see, I wasn't actively blogging as ________ but just not being, uh, what I am.) So I rarely did. Also it occurred to me that I was going to be talked down to no matter what I did because, frankly, it's the Internet.

So I started casually coming out to individuals and learned that, in most cases, it was no surprise that I was a girl. That wasn't a big deal. What WAS a comically big deal was being black. Black person with THOUGHTS everyone hide!

That eventually caused a big bust up because just as I suspected, suddenly every thing was viewed under the guise of whiny minority. I was constantly pulling my race card or harshing the white man's mellow, despite having the title of Whitest Black Person off the 'net.

So after everything I'd been trying to avoid happened, I had an epiphany, or rather, I gave up completely. Because I shouldn't have to hide the ways my age, gender, and race effect my everyday life just to get respect from a bunch of anonymous net denizens. That was about when I entered the Apathetic stage of my life and I haven't looked back since.

I do have some regrets however. While trying so hard to distance myself from that which I was, therefore that which I hated, I actively avoided the blogs of people my age or younger. In doing that I realize I denied them a voice--which, if you think this out like I did NOT, if they didn't have a voice neither did I. If you really think about it to the end, it will blow your mind how STUPID THAT WAS.

And I also realized it's people like me that aren't helping younger people make themselves heard. And I know there are many folks in my boat that know they aren't going to get heard unless they basically pretend to be something they're not.

This kind of sucks. I feel bad for missing out on view points that I could have better related to. I could have learned & shared ideas with people actually willing to listen because of who I am, if I had been willing to listen to them as well. I've had some thoughts about this for a while but I've never actually done anything about it, but I've decided that when I'm done panicking about school and being a mopey person (read: sometime this week) I would like to start finding more blogs written by folks in my age group. They'll pertain to my interests, naturally, but I think it'll be a nice refreshing change. I may even share some.

Oh and to show you how I trained I am, noticed I actively avoided mentioning WHAT MY AGE GROUP IS in the whole post. Scroll to my birthday post to find out, I'm not telling you.

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