Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reconciling that some opinions don't matter

One part of aging, I think, is to reconcile that not everyone's opinions matter. Does that sound harsh? I guess it is, and I also guess that I don't really care.

For Americans, we grow up believing in freedom of speech and how everyone deserves to be heard. And you know what? It's not true, kids. Some people don't deserve to be heard.

My friend's ex-boyfriend liked to make fun of gay people, or people he simply perceived as being gay. One time, he laughed with his friends about two men riding a motorcycle together. He didn't deserve to be heard.

My roommate's friend liked to throw racial slurs around like it was nothing. She did it drunk. She did it sober. She didn't deserve to be heard.

Rush Limbaugh likes to suggest women who fight for birth control are sluts. He doesn't deserve to be heard.

It's not that I actually want to bar anyone from expressing their opinions. That's not what I'm getting at. But there's so much bigotry in this world and it's just humored, tolerated and even pandered to because we're so set on "seeing the other side."

Maybe I'm writing this because I just entered a world of stupid reading the comments on an article on what's happening in Ferguson, or maybe I've wanted to write something like this for awhile.

There have been so many monumental moments that have happened in the past two years in the U.S. that should have led to a deep and long introspection about our society, and yet somehow a vocal group of people was seemingly able to distract from any real dialogue each time.

Which isn't to say dialogue didn't happen, just that it was constantly undermined by (white) people who don't like the suggestion that the U.S. of A. isn't already perfect. People who are so dead-set on denying that any kind of prejudice still exists that they stay willfully ignorant on the prejudice that occurs every day in this country.

My guess is that acknowledging our nation isn't perfect and that not everyone is treated equally means acknowledging that some people are privileged, and, goddamnit, that just erodes the very foundations of this country. If everyone isn't treated equally then that means maybe your accomplishments don't mean as much, and god forbid not everyone constantly marvel at your singular hard work and perseverance.

But the bottom line is there are dialogues that need to happen, and they can't be allowed to be undermined by people who are terrified of change.

We don't need to humor stupid opinions. We don't need to humor bigotry. It's not just another perspective. It's being on the wrong side of history, and we can be so much better than that.

9 comments:

  1. This. I really don't know what to say other than that. It's amazing how many things that should be life changing happen in the States that then get glossed over or turned around by the few. It's beyond frustrating.

    Brittny
    www.awrittenjourney.com

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  2. I am literally grossed out by the people and their actions these days. Another man was shot yesterday by a cop. About 4 miles from Ferguson. I am really banging my head against a wall.

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  3. "There have been so many monumental moments that have happened in the
    past two years in the U.S. that should have led to a deep and long
    introspection about our society, and yet somehow a vocal group of people
    was seemingly able to distract from any real dialogue each time." <--- This? Yes... just yes!

    Also, nothing will get me mad faster than ignorant comments in a comment section! Grr... People are assholes.

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  4. I am with you on NOT humoring people's bigotry. I refuse to and it's amazing how fast people get defensive and resort to saying that of course I feel like that, I'm Mexican. I usually just tell them no, I'm an American and maybe they should rethink the stuff coming out of their mouth. Surprisingly the amount of SMH comments have occurred since I started grad school. Maybe it's the cool kid thing to be incredibly offensive at the graduate level?

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  5. This line -- and yet somehow a vocal group of people was seemingly able to distract from any real dialogue each time. yes.

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  6. The problem with social media is that it makes people think their opinion matters. Ignorance runs rampant on all channels of social media, and you're absolutely right--it leaves no room for meaningful dialogue or conversation.

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  7. I just can't read the comments on articles about Ferguson. It disgusts and saddens me at the same time.

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  8. Yes to all. I especially hate how criticizing America means you're "un-American." People are living in denial if they think we're living in a post-racist society. I found this article on BlogHer about how someone finally realized white privilege exists (http://www.blogher.com/white-privilege-reality) and it was really interesting.

    So agree with this: "But there's so much bigotry in this world and it's just humored, tolerated and even pandered to because we're so set on 'seeing the other side.'" Ugh. And it's ridiculous how sometimes we treat scientific facts as opinions, or allow prejudice because we dance around religion.

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  9. YES. A la allowing Hobby Lobby to 'believe' those birth control methods were abortifacients. Why is that being humored?? I need to read that article because I've been thinking about writing a post on privilege. And it's beyond frustrating how if you're slightly critical of any part of the US (beside hating Barack Hussein Obama, of course), you're not patriotic. Actually, friends, I love my country enough to recognize its faults.

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