Last week I watched a clip of an approximately 20 year old kid who was wearing a polo shirt with white supremacist insignia. For whatever reason the boy was separated from his group and consequently challenged why he is supporting such radical views. Very quickly, het took off his shirt and said that he was just doing this for fun.
Not trying to make excuses for the neo-nazi type protests in Charlottesville, but it made me wonder how many of the folks who carried the torches and shouted “Jews will not replace us” or “Blood and Soil” actually understood what they were doing. In other words, how many of them protested not out of belief but for the sense of belonging.
I’m not in their heads so I don’t know, but it made me think of somewhat similar experience in my life. It’s probably not one of my proudest moments, but even though I hated being hazed as a new cadet at West Point, I felt obligated to do it as an upperclassmen. Funny how I wasn’t even good at hazing … in fact, I had to practiceJ Looking back, it wasn’t so much that I enjoyed yelling at brand new cadets as me feeling like I belonged when I acted as what I thought “good” cadet should act like; My insecurities were in full binge mode.
So again, I don’t want to pretend I found a solution for what happened in Charlottesville and by no means want to trivialize it. However, I can only change what I control … which is myself. From my standpoint it’s a reminder of a temptation to take intimacy shortcuts without noticing how we end up falling into habits projected on to us by our surroundings.
What about your habits? How many of them are driven by desire for acceptance?