Saturday, January 3, 2015

Strike the death knell.

Well, it's the start of a brand new year so I suppose it's time to take stock of the things we have learned. 2014 was a fine year on a personal level, but on a global one it definitely could have been a lot better - environmental, race, and gender issues dominated my newsfeeds, and not much of the news was good.

When one examines the continuing struggle for equality, one lesson stands out above others: you do not get to decide how a minority group should react. I've seen an awful lot of people react negatively to groups who are trying to achieve equality, and usually this is born out of a knee-jerk defensiveness. While this may be understandable considering that nobody wants to feel like the bad guy, it is also a destructive impulse that serves only to shut down any progress that could be made.

If you are a man, you do not get to tell me I am over-reacting to rape culture. As a Caucasian, I don't get to tell a person of colour she is overreacting to abuse by authority. As a heterosexual, I don't get to tell homosexuals to stop worrying about the legal rights of their spouses. And so on, and so forth.

If you are not in the minority group, you don't get to tell that group how to feel. You don't decide what is offensive. Doing that, or turning the conversation back around to YOU and YOUR rights, is douchebaggery on a level that in 2015 we should really not be mired in.

I'm sure everyone has their own resolutions for the new year. Get in shape, stop drinking malt liquor, learn how to wrestle a unicorn, all that shit. I think that maybe in addition to whatever personal goals we have this year, we could all benefit from promising too that we will listen - really listen - to our fellow humans and take steps to ensure that we do not through our actions (or inaction) condemn another to a life we personally would not want to live.