Inclusion, Exclusion, Rejection, Acceptance – Group Identities

Did you ever see the movie about Marshall Mathers becoming Eminem called Eight Mile? I think it was a movie about a white guy who grew up on the uncool side of a road that served as a border between Detroit, proper, and Metro Detroit. The side he grew up wasn’t *hard*, it wasn’t *cool*. In essence, he had two things going against him in his chosen profession: he was white, and he was from the wrong side of the road.

Now, this is going to be one of those things where a lot of people just aren’t going to readily grasp where I’m coming from.

What was the movement for civil rights about? It was about being accepted equally, wasn’t it? (I’m trying really hard to allude to a negative word without using it, here.) There was a very unflattering term common in the old days, (god, did I just say that about the eighties?), to describe a white guy who was trying to act black. The important part of that isn’t the word, but that the phenomena of white people acting black to try to look cool isn’t really a new concept. Here’s the reach I’m going to ask you to make: who is it they were trying to impress? In that movie, who was that were initially a little resistant to accepting a white rapper as an equal?

Here’s the thought: Isn’t it odd that it seems like the people who shout the loudest for inclusion are often the most exclusionary, themselves?

You can see it on display with the “us versus them” mentality in politics, if you really want to look at the ugly side of human nature. I don’t like looking at that. But there is something in identity that my father told me about people who identify with a shared sense of suffering, he was talking about the Jewish people, in that specific context, but I suppose it extends to any group that seeks a common bond in identity.

I’d rather talk about acceptance than exclusion or inclusion, I guess. So, I’m just going to leave it at that, although I’ve thought of many other things that could be said.


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