I’m the sort of person who likes to “know” things to the best of human ability.
I’m the sort of person who likes to read, to try to understand (logically at least) and try to make sense.
I’m the sort of person who questions and doubts and understands that no matter how I like to “know” it’s unlikely I’ll ever really “know” even a fraction of the things I’d like to really “know”.
I’m also “pretty much” white.
I like locks. I like their historical meaning, their modern meaning, their cultural and historical value, as well as their texture and appearance.
I had locks, but in a fit of depression and anxiety fueled panic over the uncontrollability of my existence, I took scissors to them, and immediately and ever since I’ve regretted that decision. (I have clinical diagnoses of these disorders, I’m not calling a standard emotional state by these names, I’m referring to crippling depression and destructive anxiety.)
Most of what I’ve written above are for sake of honesty and context, to disclose my potential/probable biases and/or their sources.
Whenever I see locks debated on Tumblr, as well as on other places on the internet, I find this wall facing me. One that operates on a number of false assumptions and a few pieces of misinformation.
Not that I’m claiming that all my information is 100% correct, it’s impossible to find out the 100% truth about historical events of the past as the history is always written by the victors.
I try to hold back from commenting on the debate because I’ve found that many of these assumptions and misinformations are so ingrained into the debate that to challenge them or disagree with them is like declaring open season on your blog. The hate, bile and vitriol I’ve found myself bombarded with when expressing my views and pointing out what reasonably reliable data I’ve acquired through the years is fucking incredible.
Now I know that part and parcel of this is the nature of the internet and the nature of arguing on the internet (no, I’m not making that vile ableist joke). It doesn’t matter what you write or how you mean it, the person reading can read “into” it whatever they choose, be it consciously or subconsciously chosen.
I have frequently been accused of hostility where there was none. I took the time to write how and why I disagree with a given statement, and the person who initially made the statement takes it as a personal attack, as a jab against them as human beings, as persons, as living breathing individuals.
On the internet “I disagree” can and often is read as “I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU CAUSE YOU’RE A FUCKING IDIOT AND YOUR MOTHER DRANK WHEN SHE WAS PREGNANT AND YOU’RE UGLY AND YOUR DADDY DROPPED YOU ON YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU WERE A BABY AND NO ONE LIKES YOU AND I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I’M JUST THAT MUCH BETTER THAN YOU!!!lLOLOLOL!!!!111!!!!ONE!111!!!!!” and to be perfectly honest, it’s exhausting to disagree with statements respond as if you’re being a complete fucking dick to people. I have had that sort of response when I’ve only done something so small as ask “why?”… just “why?”… that’s it… and suddenly I was accused of being a bullying, hostile, aggressive asshole.
So, when I see these misinformations and false assumptions on the internet, knowing how ingrained they are in the debate, how people seem to be greatly invested in their validity and have in the past resorted to name-calling and humiliation in response to being even asked followup questions.
Never the less, I want to talk about it, I want to discuss, compare sources, compare data, learn, challenge my misinformation as well as what I have reason to believe is misinformation that is held by the other parties, but I can’t “talk” to people when their immediate response to me even addressing them is hostility.
This isn’t a matter of me making an argument from emotion, it’s me.
I have severe social anxiety, compounded by a chronic lack of sleep and a chronic mood disorder. I can not emotionally or mentally handle a situation wherein I am constantly berated for having an opinion and openly attacked for disagreeing, and so on.
I crash when this happens unless I’m able to distance myself from the conversation and it’s become harder and harder lately as my exhaustion has increased, I’ve gone off my anti-depressants because they weren’t working for me any more, not right anyway, and the side-effects weren’t worth it any more.
When dreadlocks are being discussed and someone says something I know is incorrect or inappropriate or so on I bite my tongue, I fret and fuss, and then, eventually, I end up saying something, and pretty much immediately I’m subjected to personal attacks.
Sometimes I get the whole “where the fuck do you get your information?” type response, often enough intended to dismiss my comments as null and void (cause I don’t have the same sources as they do maybe?)
The debate is… exhausting. And this is probably a part of why I snapped and cut the locks, because I talked, because I was subjected to this, and here I sit mourning the loss of something that had incredible significance to me in my life and I let the internet not ruin it for me, but shame me into ruining it for myself when I had nothing to be ashamed of!
And here I am again, opening up the conversation, waiting for another round of “YOU’RE STUPID” and “you’re too white to have an opinion” and “I know cause I’m too white too” and “I know cause my black friend told me” and so on and so forth.
Does it matter than I’m not 100% white? Doesn’t seem like it.
Does it matter that my locks came from a well researched place? Doesn’t seem like it.
Does it matter that I honestly and genuinely had spiritual reasons based not only on my own personal beliefs but research and genuine devotion? Doesn’t seem like it.
Does it matter that locks (beyond the term “dreadlocks”) aren’t invented and patented by the Rastafari movement? Doesn’t seem like it.
Bah… I’m gonna go shoot zombies.