I grabbed this post from Mitch Shenassa with his permission and hope that you enjoy it.
Thought about it a bunch this weekend:
We lifestyle cannabis users are a voluntary community (in that regard, similar to a religion) - a people.
But our people have been marginalized, disconnected by force from society--and as a result, our people utterly lack dignity. We lack awareness of our role in the culture and of ourselves as the wise keepers of Earth's most miraculous plant. We lack a sense of community, of self-empowerment, of any impetus for growth and progress.
We have been fashioned into a a red-eyed minstrel show, acting like the fools mainstream America has fashioned us into: we are thousands of "Uncle Chongs"--good-natured grinning fools holding our own culture back by perpetuating drug war stereotypes. That the greatest minds in Western culture - the architects of society--the artists who defined our field of sentiment--the most brilliant scientists and inventors - were cannabis users is never extolled; the media doesn't portray our heritage as Carl Sagan, but Scooby Doo.
We are all culturally complicit - we embrace and foster these silly adolescent images, behave as undignified fools in person and online, and even embrace and perpetuate the language of oppression, calling our herb a "weed". Instead of calling one another "inspired" we call each other "stoner". "Stoner" is their word for us - a derogatory word born in the Drug War propaganda machine - a word implying a lack of ability, a lack of basic value. So I will no longer use that word.
Until you know how tight handcuffs can be and have risked it all not for money, but for love of the plant and the community, I better never hear you use the word "stoner," either - as of today, that word is off limits to you.
It's a slur on a lifestyle choice - every bit as disgusting and ignorant as any slur you can think of for someone's sexuality or religion. It should be hurtful when someone feels the need to categorize, limit, and pigeonhole you. It should make you feel like less than your entire self: if it doesn't, you need to critically reassess your own identity. If we keep acting like stoners, they're gonna keep calling us stoners - it's up to us to rescue our dignity from its place of sly references and snackfood jokes.