My father was a racist asshole. I’ve had to work very hard in my life to unlearn those lessons. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will always have an unconscious racist streak – I just have to acknowledge that, own it, and work to rise above it. I have to hold myself accountable for my biases, challenge myself when they appear, and not let the racist programming win. I won’t deny that it’s there. I will fight like hell against it, though.
Why am I talking about this on a dissociative site? Because I tripped over my biases again recently. It wasn’t about racism this time, but about another bias born out of privilege – the privilege of being a medically diagnosed system. I made a kind of flippant comment about systems with 1000 anime introjects and no trauma, and I’ve been getting shit for it internally ever since.
I’ll be honest; I have a hard time seeing things on Quora like, “How can I develop DID?”. I don’t understand why anyone would want a disorder. Does not compute. It’s one of those moments I wish I could reach through the screen and slap someone with a rainbow trout.
I have a caricature of that person in my mind. That caricature is a teenager with 1000 anime introjects and no trauma. Someone who is doing this because it’s “cool” or so they can get out of personal responsibility. Someone that is easy to discriminate against, to make “less than”.
Worse still, I realize that I was applying this caricature to all systems that claim not to have come from trauma. (Note this view is not and was not shared by all in the system.) Hmmm… where else have I seen this kind of thought pattern? Ah, crap. Something else to watch for and work on.
I’m not going to say that I’ve seen the light and will never err again in my ways. Honestly, I’m still kind of struggling with accepting all forms of plurality. I understand DID/OSDD. I don’t understand other ways of being a system, but I’m willing to learn more. This article was an excellent read. I’ll be doing a lot more research and thinking.
I apologize to anyone I may have hurt or diminished by mentioning my caricature. I’m now working to dismantle it. People are highly complex, wonderous beings that deserve respect and acceptance, no matter where they fall on diagnostic criteria or spectrums.
It’s easy to fall into old patterns. It’s easy to fall into traps of privilege. It’s easy to want to judge worth and authenticity based on the opinions of those in authority. It’s easy to want to grab the rainbow trout.
I leave you with the words of one of my heroes, Utah Phillips. He tells the story of how Ammon Hennacy challenged him to be a pacifist.
I said, “OK, Ammon, I will try that.” He said, “That’s not enough! You came into the world armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons. Weapons of privilege: economic privilege, sexual privilege, racial privilege. You want to be a pacifist, you’re not just going to have to give up guns, knives, clubs, hard, angry words, you are going to have lay down the weapons of privilege and go into the world completely disarmed.”
That’s hard. But like Utah said, if there is a worthwhile struggle in my life, that’s probably the one.