Alexocution: Collective Identity

Some weeks ago, my jogging instructor asked the class who followed the school’s football team. Only a few people raised their hands, and she became disappointed, saying we should show some interest in what the school is doing.

I thought to myself, “What. Why should I care?” I have no interest in football, first of all, or sports in general, so that ought be reason enough. Then I thought about the underlying implication there, that because we belong to a school, we should innately care about the success of a sports team that is associated with the school—the only reasoning being that the team “belongs” to you by virtue of both parties being associated with the same school, or something, even if I’ve never met any member of the sports team.

On the one hand, I almost sort of get it. When people come together due to having their school in common, it strengthens their bond. But this is a weak, meaningless bond that comes apart just as soon as someone’s the wrong sex/race/age/religion/whatever. Also, it is silly. But more importantly, it’s the sort of bond that requires that animosity be involved. For example, with the school football team, theoretically you have people coming together because they’re commonly cheering for their team. But they consequently also cheer against the opposing team, and by extension the opposing school, even going so far as to demonize students of that school for no reason other than that their football team is on the opposing side.

This doesn’t even have to be about a sports team. From what I understand, there are schools that are “rivals” with each other (I honestly don’t understand why that needs to be a thing), and consequently some (not all—I understand there are rational people, just not that many) of their students demonize students of the other school. To that end, I just ask myself “Why?”, because it doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe because I view schools as a means to an end (to work on getting a degree to in turn get a job while living in a particular area) rather than a “home” that you can “belong to”, and maybe that’s due to the fact that I’m usually an outcast in a given setting. Either way, though, I don’t understand why these groupings in general need to be a thing. Oh, yeah, it’s the same thing as patriotism.

I’m not a patriot. I don’t associate myself with the rest of the country, or for that matter with any large group of people. The good and evil things they do can be their own faults, mine are my own and I stick with that. That’s what makes sense. I can’t take credit or blame for what an entire group I may theoretically belong to did, and certainly not for what a specific person in said group did. If you want to think that way, you may as well extend the group to include humanity as a whole, or even life as a whole, or even just things that exist. Any line you draw to separate one group from another is going to be just as arbitrary as any other line.

So basically, either you’re one person (or one collection of body systems connected by a common brain), or you’re a member of existence. Yeah I don’t even know why I ranted about all this.

  1. kuteragenesis posted this
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