Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nuh uh YOU'RE a bigot!

Evidently complaining about racism, homophobia, and misogyny is just as bad as complaining about black people, gays, and women. Solution: refuse to have a problem with anything ever. Safe! (Bonus points for silencing minorities who don't realize yet that anger makes them bad people. TOP SCORE.)

I am really tired of being called angry and hateful because I have the gall to dislike the people who feed a system that shits on me (and several other sorts of people who may or may not be a lot like me) every day. I am particularly bothered by all the "bullying" language being thrown around. Here's what I feel is happening (and this is just my perception, but since it's coloring my reactions, I feel obligated to explain it).

A lot of people have a "zero tolerance" view of disliking other people the way that my junior high had a "zero tolerance" policy toward fighting. I ran afoul of this policy, and I think that the way it played out says a lot about how I approach these situations.

I was being bullied by a girl who not only followed me around the halls, but cornered me for what was clearly going to be a fight. It didn't come to that, but the administrators told both of us that fighting is wrong, wanted both of us to apologize, and we both got a suspension for in-school violence.

Seeing the connection? For those who aren't catching it, I'll beat the dead horse. Sometimes it isn't right to paint all parties to a conflict as though they are all equally wrong and all equally bad and all equally to blame for the situation. There are situations where this is the case, but they are far more rare than a lot of people would like to think.

The people who treat hatred of homophobia as though it were as bad as hating gay people, the people who treat revulsion toward racism as though it were as bad as revulsion toward other races, and the people who treat bitterness at misogyny as though it were as bad as bitterness toward women? They are doing to marginalized people what my school administrators did to me when I was a kid, and I don't stand for it now.

Just because there's a conflict doesn't mean everybody involved is a bad person, and just because someone finally hits back doesn't mean they're just as much of a bully as the person who's been brutalizing them all along. Conflating these two things is not only logically screwy, but it only serves to shame and silence people who are trying to finally stand up for themselves.

So yeah, I'll say it. I mistrust conservatives, mainly social conservatives. I mistrust social conservatives because people who identify that way have tried in many identifiable and clear ways to make my life less fulfilling than theirs, because I belong to several classes of people who have faced identical objections over and over to our desires to live as equal citizens in this country (whether it's my voting rights as a woman, my right to be free from religious coercion as an atheist, or my right to equal contractual rights when it comes to civil marriages).

My dislike is different from that of homophobes, religious zealots, or sexists, or racists, because I am not trying to deny them any rights except for their perceived right to hurt me. That means the roots of our dislike, as well as our intended aims, are not just a totally different animal, they're a whole world apart.

Every time somebody equates the two, calling both me and the people who hurt me "bullies," I kind of want to bite them in the face.

1 comment:

Makarios said...

. .I am not trying to deny them any rights except for their perceived right to hurt me."


I grow weary of bigots who tell me that, if I claim to be tolerant, I have to tolerate their intolerance. I don't even try to reason with them any longer--they don't have the equipment for it. I simply say, "No, I don't. Now STFU."