The first time I experienced being the liberal minority was when I attended an ultra-conservative high school in Canada. I loved every second of it. Portions of my time there were very painful, but I learned to enjoy the entire experience. I also loved being the liberal minority. I’m not going to lie, it fuels my narcissistic ego. Students who had been more sheltered that I would come to me to ask about shady figures such as them and that movie or that book. I loved it.
But more intriguing than all the attention I received was the power it gave me. The authority figures did not understand me, and this gave me power over them. I love reading people and I don’t find it very challenging. Having a dean come into your room to “instruct you” verbally but cower from you physically is an unforgettable experience for a 15-year-old who craves attention and credibility.
I got used to the role I played in being the liberal minority, and I believe this is part of why I have become even more liberal since I am no longer surrounded by ultra-conservatives. It’s my inner ego adapting to make more show. Don’t lose faith in my humanity quite yet. I believe in all the “agendas” I push, and I do truly support Bernie Sanders. It’s not all for show.
Being on a new campus in France, mixing with a new demographic, I’ve run into a new side of being the liberal minority. Fear. It is not hard to tell that people here are intimidated by me. I’m tall and have yet to see anyone come within an inch of my height. I walk confidently. I have piercings (For some, this is a reason to fear. I perceive it more as a reason to like), including a septum ring. The other day when a young theology student asked me which religion I am an active member of, I gave an honest answer (I was raised Adventist, still appreciate many of the church’s teachings, but do not consider myself an active member.) and he seemed to pull back in fear.
My internal response is always this: “Chill bro. It’s usually you guys who judge me. I’m not doing any judging.”
The ultimate decision is whether or not I like being feared.
Having power is exhilerating, but power through fear is not what I’m after. I like being sympathetic, approachable, and liked. Not feared. I guess they’ll just have to learn to trust a tall guy with metal in his nose.