elder wisdom versus youthful inexperience

Should ‘elder wisdom’ be trusted in all cases, even when it doesn’t feel right in your gut?

In American society, youth is looked upon more favorable and elders are generally not revered as much. In fact, you will see teenagers harassing older people on the street. I trust elder wisdom though, because there have been some experiences elders have had that can teach you lessons. Of course, what I’ve realized is that this elder wisdom can be completely subjective. The wisdom is shaped by social factors such as race, class, and sexual orientation. Northern middle-class liberal—yet socially conservative—black folks raised me. My grandmother in particular thinks I should not question or disagree with her viewpoints simply because she is older. My disagreement inevitably leads to screaming (as most of the women in my family communicate in arguments). While I respect her and her view points, I have the right to disagree.

My particular situation is that the family elders and trying to convince me that I should not ‘choose’ to be gay. I am not going to get into the whole ‘is being gay a choice’ argument (that’s another post) because it really shouldn’t matter AT ALL. Accepting that I am gay has made me that much more happier and sane. The time I spent trying to ‘change myself’ proved more self-destructive than helpful. It just amazes me the things people use to treat human beings like shit.

The whole situation brings to mind this duality that exists. My parents love me, but yet they hate this part of me. They say they don’t *hate* or aren’t homophobic. But actions speak louder than words. I’ve never been called names personally (though I’ve heard some pretty interesting stuff about other gays) or anything of sort—perhaps because the folks can separate me from my gayness. They think it’s not really true.

I will admit that I don’t have a ton of life experience. But I know what is right for me at the moment—what’s right for my sanity and way of life. And if it isn’t right for me, let me figure out myself. I know the elders care about me, but at some point they must let go and let live.


3 Responses to “elder wisdom versus youthful inexperience”

  1. Well, on some level it’s good that other people actually know about you. That is a no-no here in Trinidad–particularly in religious circles.
    I too gave up trying to “change” but for very different reasons than you. Either way, it is an unhealthy obsession.

  2. drevolutionary1 Says:

    Yeah. I have a lot of Caribbean friends (SDA at that!) who are gay or lesbian. I think in the end, who should know is really a function of:

    (1) if they really NEED to know
    (2) your safety
    (3) your own comfortably with your sexuality

    This is all a function of the society one has grown up in. Societal norms fluctuate with time and are not necessarily directional, but I wonder what things will be like 30 years from now in the Caribbean–esp. Jamaica (I’m thinking of the Gay Jamaican cop video you posted)!

  3. 30 years?
    I think it depends on the spread of the internet from now until then. The internet has given a lot of people confidence that they are not “the lone freak in the country” (hehe). Trinidad is a “see no evil” place, so things can only get better here. I am not talking in the sense of marriage etc., but in the sense of people not caring about what you do with your personal life.

    Jamaica? Well, I am not quite sure where it is headed to be honest. That is a good, good question.

    Now gay or lesbian SDA friends from the Caribbean? Lots?

    Lawd I live here and am yet to find another one. I guess being open helps though!

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