This is an incredible article that is way more valuable and interesting than I convey in a summary.
"This idea — that who you are abides somehow outside of what you do — is the defining fantasy of our culture, and it appeals particularly to children. The world of the middle-schooler is a world of types. My son talks incessantly about VSCO girls and Karens and other categories of people he has learned about from YouTube. He described a classmate as “the kind of person who borrows your pencil and doesn’t give it back,” i.e. she borrowed his pencil and didn’t give it back. For a while he tried to propagate a type of his own invention, “the Suzan,” whose behavior was ill-defined but tracked closely with that of my mother of the same name. It did not catch on, and eventually he concluded that he was not the kind of person who could come up with memes."
It fits with so much that causes problems in our culture. Like, if you call a politician sexist because their policies disproportionately hurt women, that politician's family will say, "you don't know him. He isn't sexist at all." As though 'sexist' is a personality trait separate from their actual behaviours.
And it's really easy to do about yourself. Below, I describe myself as a messy person, because I find it hard to keep my space clean, and I need a lot of strategies to manage it. But if those strategies are working... then am I really a messy person? It's not the right way to think about it. Read the article.
This piece was originally published in The Whippet #90 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!
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