There are, of course, those ready to find counter-hostility anywhere and everywhere, whether it exists or not. "Watch out. They just want to put the shoe on the other foot." A common charge leveled at anyone who works against discrimination. People on the hunt for slightest hint of counter-prejudice aren't people I want to align myself with. In my experience, they don't want equality. Instead, they're hunting for anything that could be a weapon to use against people who want a fair deal.
On the other hand, the people against discrimination are often ready to attack if one alludes to anything like counter-prejudice.
So one is tredding into a tangled messy patch of thorns and brambles if one brings it up.
Those least eager to hear about counter-prejudice, in my experience, have been black students caught in the grip of it against whites. And those most eager to pounce on any suggestion of it, again in my experience, have been male students with their antennae out for any hint of female anger at males.
Recently I've been thinking and writing about the rage of the righteous – meaning the rage of people very sure that their anger is justified, that they have been hurt and have every right to strike back. Over the past half year, Muslim rage has most caught my attention. Everyone has wronged them; everyone deserves whatever they can dish out.
More generally, I've been intriqued by the shell against perception around so many people.
The shell. In my mind's eye I see an egg. A very hard shell. Necessary to shelter a chick, so it can develop until it's strong enough to peck its own way out.
One needs shells, filters – or one would be overwhelmed by all the information coming in. But the shells I'm referring to aren't protection from an overdose of information. They're a defense against reality, against something that would disturb beliefs, feelings, a learned way of being. This shell wards off with anger, hatred, fear, warped thinking patterns. It gets thicker and thicker.
It isn't like an eggshell, with a smooth surface. Nasty barbs, poisonous darts, and so on are often all to ready to defend the shell – whether it's the shell of prejudice or counter-prejudice. It rarely just melts away like ice cream in the sun. And rarely is a heatlhy chick pecking its way out.
An egg shell can shatter with the right kind of blow.
I'm still trying to figure out the best strategies for dealing with the Shell-Spell of Righteousness, whether it's the shell of self-righteous prejudice or self-righteous counter-prejudice.
I had a hard time figuring out what to call this piece. What was I describing, I ended up asking myself.
The Feel-Good Part of Hating Back and Hurting Back -
because that's something else I've noticed, how good it seems to make people feel, having this legitimized, socially sanctioned right to anger;
Crazy Justifications for Counter-Hostility -
particularly the self-rghteous anger at a whole group, whether or not an individual has done anything, when the same people would be outraged at the thought of putting a child in jail for the crimes of a parent;
The Pain of Being Hurt for the Wrongs Done by Others;
The Lure of Self-Righteous Anger.