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Writing + Photography

Memoirs and musings of Darius Bashar. Toronto portrait photographer and writer, in pursuit of all things real, raw and intimate. 

My Racist Uncle Sucks, But So Does Yours

We all have one. It doesn’t specfically have to be an uncle. It could be an aunt, grandparent or even a sibling.

It also doesn't’ have to be a race thing. At the core, it actually has nothing to do with race. Your uncle is just one of those pessimistic energy vampires.

For whatever reason, he seems to really enjoy hating on things.

 Photo by  Gus Moretta  on  Unsplash

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

A few traits of Uncle Dickhead:

  • His default is always the worst case scenario.
  • He can’t keep his mouth shut. Freaking chatterbox.
  • He loves exaggerating and blowing things way out of proportion.
  • He is always critical of people trying new things.
  • His comments often upsets or triggers people.
  • He will never change. (Let’s be honest.)

Now imagine it’s Thanksgiving and you arrive at your parents place, only to find out nobody is attending this years dinner - with one exception — your uncle.

For the next 5 hours it’s just you and him. No one to deflect. No one to distract. No other voices to balance out his batshit crazy commentary!

Terrifying right?

What if I told you Uncle Dickhead actually lives in each of us.

Seriously, go back and review those 6 traits above and tell me your internal narritive doesn’t do all the same shit. Only difference (and it’s a big one) our internal narritive has a fancy device which can manipulate our uncle’s voice to sound exactly like our own voice. Also our uncle somehow found a way to install really small speakers on the inside of our head.

So not only does our uncle sound exactly like our own voice, which can be super confusing, but he even seems to be coming directly from inside our own head. Sneaky right!

Sounds like a Black Mirror episode, except it’s real, for all of us.

Here’s the great news. Despite his toxic nature, Uncle Dickhead can’t really hurt anyone. For the most part he’s harmless, unless of course you spend too much time in his presence. Especially if it’s just you and him. That can actually be devastating.

It should also be noted that denying your uncle’s existence isn’t a good idea either. That will just agitating him more. You want to acknowledge him, but make sure not entangle yourself too deeply into his beliefs.

Smile, nod and and if things start to get harry, find an excuse to go help mom in the kitchen. Or better yet, make an alliance with a more optimistic family member. If Uncle Dickhead corners either of you, the other will come to the rescue.

It’s really important that you invite other people into the conversation. The more voices at the dinner table the less your uncle’s pessimistic commentary will impact you.

If you isolate just your uncle’s voice for too long, things will get really dark.

But that’s exactly what we do when we are going through a hard time, especially men. We isolate ourselves and go into our caves. I do it all the time. It feels easier that way. Less messy. Less exposed.

But here’s the thing, it’s not just us in the cave. Uncle’s in there too and he feeds off of isolation. There are no other voices to balances his insanity out, so his chatter is going full throttle and caves are known to echo.

Sooner or later if you spend too much time in your cave with Uncle Dickhead, you’ll start to believe his lunacy. And trust me that’s not good for anyone.

FULL DISCLAIMER:

I love all my uncles. They are lovely humans, whom I cherish and love.

I can already read the email from my mom. “Which uncle are you talking about?!!” None mom. I promise. :)

ALSO:

The handsome fellow in the photo above is not my uncle and there is a good chance he’s also not a racist. He might be a sweet human for all I know. I just needed a photo for Medium.com and this guy had that classic uncle feel to him. :)