Xenophobia Versus Pariah
~ Xenophobia vs. Pariah ~
(An outsider's perspective)
We are all aware of the interests of the night family. We all know that we want to build a safe community, strengthened by our bonds of friendship and love.
We are a dark people, and we embrace that which makes us so. We keep our family close and our enemies beneath our boots.
We are a secret people, one to never judge those who seek shelter from the light, for the light holds many other forces that we cannot reveal ourselves to.
We are a strong people, able to band together to leave a mark on this world and a name for our community, leaving it a better place than we had left it.
We are a sacred people, sharing and taking life and energy in forms that perpetuate the cycle of existence.
We are the Otherkin. We are the hidden world. We are the night.
This is what we stand for and who we are. We are a nation of outcasts and debutantes, rebels and conformists, blue-bloods and rabble, Vampires, Were creatures, Faye, and other various monikers. We are a community of our own, and we stand for our own. That is what the creed of every night creature should be, but, unfortunately, things don't always meet this status quo. There are two main things that we are guilty of, that as Otherkin, we need to be aware of.
~ Xenophobia ~
In simplest terms 'Evolve or Die' hence; we are more concerned with quality over quantity.
~ The Gotham Archives, The Anthology, NYC ~
The sheer scope of what we are, and the power that we possess, is fantastic in both its origin and its application. That we should wield such tools may be fundamental to us, but may not be to others that are not of the kin. These -mundanes- may be fascinated, repulsed, or otherwise terrified of what we do. When witnessing what we are capable of in our own realms of power, we can be quite....overwhelming. Therefore, it was necessary over the course of the years to develop a method of decorum. This became known as many things throughout the nation. It was known as the Black Veil, the Mask, the Seeming, the Shade, etc, but they all came down to one thing: keep your nature a secret.
This in turn spawned a new way of thinking. In order to maintain the secret of the Otherkin, laws were enacted throughout the groups. Among these, which can be used as a model, were those laid down by Father S.T. In Gotham, NYC in the late 90's. They were first known by four tenets called the Black Veil, but later expanded to 13 laws that Gotham still adheres to today.
The forging of this document would later start a wildfire of groups that would pop up all over the nation. All forms and codes of law were adopted from the same model. Although the laws were different in wording as well as in number, they remained, at their heart, the same. The most important stricture of them all was the adherence to secrecy. It was because of this, that the first major change in the cohesion of the community took place.
In many ways, the change was a good thing. It kept the rituals and practices of the Otherkin out of the spotlight so that they could do as they pleased. However, the only thing that this served to do was to stagnate membership. While some of us were free to move about our various circles, others, who had already awakened to their nature, were left to wander alone, with no sense of community. True, there were those that would find us by other means, but the main form of internship was through members themselves introducing the newest initiate. That's how many of us became involved in this world in the first place. However, because of the severe restrictions placed upon us due to secrecy, the world became even more closed. This is what some of us would refer to as social xenophobia.
This condition still exists in various circles today. Rather than explain what and who we are to various interested parties, who may just be one of us in disguise, we become tight lipped and belligerent. This is one thing that has led not only to the exclusion of new members, but to the eventual departure of our current members as well. Without the input of our own people, mundanes are left to their own ideas about what we do. Stereotypes appear, fears appreciate, and ignorance abounds about us, and, though this helps to keep us hidden, it does not give anyone a clear picture. Think of those not yet brought over. Think of the confusion this could cause.
While the social xenophobia still exists, there are those who do want to reach out to the others in this reality. Whether for a sense of purpose, charity, or supply of troops, these others still strike out to seek new initiates into the ranks, and thus we can grow. However, they are met with such animosity that this creates a chaos within the community itself, and could lead to a possible sundering. This must not be allowed to happen. Our beliefs and ideas are unique and individual. That is what makes us enlightened beings in the first place. Those that want to seek out new members should be allowed to do so. For, in truth, the same ideas from those already in the world for several years, will only lead to the same results. Stagnation must also be avoided, so, new ideas must be introduced. To do that we need new members, but the secrecy restrictions prevent us from doing so willy-nilly. Thus, we have the first paradox. Now, let's move to the other that is plaguing us.
There have even been some examples that can be found in the home city of Austin. One in particular involved an individual (whose name has been withheld for confidentiality) who wanted to be included in the courts of Austin. After paying the monthly dues to the court, this individual was denied entry to any event due to a series of misunderstandings. According to the doctrine and bylaws of the court, there should have been a trial for this person so that the elders could determine if exclusion was necessary. As there was no council, and the head of the community was slightly uncomfortable with what the initiate would say, there was no trial, and there has still not been. This initiate, crying for a place with us, was denied a spot in their own hometown, even Haven, and was forced to go over an hour away to find a community to accept them. This goes against the court's personal laws of Haven and the idea that they preach of radical inclusion. This is a direct contradiction, and again, must not be allowed to happen. This brings us to the second point that we need to discuss.
Just like any 'sub culture' we need basic traditions, laws and etiquette in order to move forward. Titles and positions of “power/authority” mean nothing without the respect behind it. It is true that power corrupts but it’s imperative to know that with each level of ascensions comes a great amount of responsibility; responsibility that should never be overlooked. Leaders of our community have a responsibility to enrich our community for future generations and are called to serve all within. True leaders lead with or without titles and it is through this that true respect is earned; everything else will fall into place in its own time.
~ Sir Shaolin MacPhee, Sir Traveler MacPhee ~
~ Tempest MacPhee Abani Sabretooth MacPhee ~
~ The Gothic Archives, The Anthology, NYC ~
There is another serious threat to the population of the community at large, and it is very similar to the social xenophobia that we have previously discussed. This opposite side of the coin is something that has been seen more often lately than at any other time in the history of the community. Sometimes, the xenophobia is so great that we tend to drive people away. When a certain event or conversation takes place, we tend to put up instinctive walls that we will not permit anyone to enter, sometimes to the exclusion of our own night family. This means, that due to some circumstance (disagreement, difference of belief, broken contract, failed relationship, etc), we drive away either prospective members, or even our own established ones. This is what is known as creating a pariah.
There have been many examples of pariahs, and most have appeared over the past few years. This stems from a number of reasons. One is the xenophobic attitude of the night world in general. Another is the fact that power corrupts, and those that are in power would do anything to protect it. Yet another is the social standing and inequalities that exist in the day world that affect our night lives. Finally, the other most common reason, and the one that should be the most deplorable to us, is the inability to accept different personalities and beliefs.
Now, before we start getting angry, let us look at these in a bit more detail. We have already discussed the first reason in detail, so let's look at the others. Power is bound to corrupt, and with the way that most of our leadership systems are set up, we put the most experienced in charge, and the others will have to learn to climb the ladder so that they can someday hope to sit where their betters sit when they either retire or pass on. Those that are already in power want to stay there as long as possible, and they cling to the fiefdoms that they have carved out for themselves as long as they possibly can. This has led to more than one prospective member to be pushed aside, because at the end of the day, the general mindset becomes, ''There are already too many players on this board.''
The next issue that we find is the inequalities of social status in the day world and how it affects the workings of the night world. Those with money and prestige in their normal mundane lives will tend to be able to influence the workings of the night life as well. These are the people that would be able to hold massive events that would awe any spectator and satisfy any community member. They are also the ones who are most likely to get sponsors and promoters for their events (like getting commercials, flyers, spots on TV shows, etc), thus making the events even more spectacular. This not only violates the statutes of secrecy at their core, but it tends to create an atmosphere of contention (AKA, ''I paid for all of this, so you should learn to have more respect for me.'' No. Just no.).
Finally, the last major contributor to the creation of pariahs is plain nonacceptance. It is repugnant to think that we as night children, who are cast out of normal society ourselves, would be able to turn someone away for being different, yet it happens every day. Not only do they get turned away, but if the petitioner tries further action to at least get to know members of the community or find out more about their own personal natures with more experienced creatures, they are ridiculed and mocked. In some extreme cases, the community members will seek out and strike the reputation of said person, not only in other fringe communities, but in aspects of their day life as well. This is a vicious and terrible thing, but it still exists.
For example, using the same story from earlier, the individual denied rights to Haven without trial, was also denied entry to public venues used by the local court, regardless of the individual's knowledge of the use of these venues. As they were known to be haunts of various Otherkin, the initiate tried to move away from the Vampyre court and find another place to interact with our society. If the court was there, the person was promptly removed from the venue, no explanation, no chance of EVER returning. Without anyone to take any grievances to, the initiate was forced to endure every method of childish bullying, from harassment in public, to contacting third parties to bring embarrassment, and even physical harm outside of the Otherkin's society. In fact, if any new initiate socializes with the pariah, they are denied entry to the Vampyre court. Taking an individual and turning them into a pariah in not only the night world but the mundane, is never a way for those of our ilk to act. We are better than this. We are superior to normal mortals, and therefore, we are expected to carry a higher attitude and a heavier responsibility.
Making pariahs should be stricken from the practices of our culture. Yes, we are creatures with a dark nature, but we are not monsters. We are beings with sparks of imagination, souls of creativity, and minds of endless wisdom. We should be using our natural talents to make the community better, not trying to wall it up. The only way that it will last forever is if all of the members, not just those at the top, come together to make the cohesive community that we need to survive.
We are all individuals, with our own independent thoughts and ideas.
When disputes arise, we can agree to disagree.
The arguments will stay between the individuals involved, and not aired in public.
~ The Gotham Archives, The Anthology ~
So, now that we have looked at both sides of the initiation process, what do we do? I think that the Gotham Archives of NYC hold some guidance for us. Again, these are of a different community, but they should exist in some form or another in all. The select rules we should pay attention to are:
· Discretion ·
The community should not be public; only reveal oneself to those that are deemed worthy or can handle the truth of the nature.
· Diversity ·
People from all walks of life, indeed even other types of Otherkin, can exist in one solid community. The tenet of this law suggests that there is more than one way of thinking that can accomplish the ultimate goal.
· Lifestyle ·
Live the way that you would for your court life the same way that you would live for your mundane life. Yes, you are Otherkin, but that doesn't mean that you don't live in in this reality. Therefore, accept the power that you have been given, but still do what you can to keep up appearances (friendly neighbors, job, home, car, etc).
· Responsibility ·
Be willing to take full reactions of all the actions that you put out onto the world and onto others within the community. By taking responsibility, you earn the respect to rule the roost.
· Ideals ·
Although you may take your life from blood or energy, you are not a monster. You are a being that is capable of emotions and ideas and, therefore, you must set yourself to a higher standard than what you see around you. As long as you strive to live better, the community, and the world, will grow better with you.
So, what have we learned? We have a long way to go, but through help, understanding, acceptance, family, and love, we will become a better community for it. We all should have a place to go to, and we all should have a place to call home, regardless of the arguments that we get into, the beliefs that we do or don't share, and, especially, the personalities that we all must mesh together. We must remember that the root of any community is the people, for without the people, we would just be individuals, lost in the dreaming, and wallowing in our own nightmares. We need to be one, strong and proud, to welcome the endless night with a family that is impossible to conquer. Stay strong, my kindred, and stay together. We must stay together.
~ Canto Noctem ~
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
~ Helen Keller ~