Look, equality is not complicated. Racial equality, gender equality, social equality are very simple issues, despite what people (who may actually mean well) have always said. Because when people don’t know how to approach sensitive subjects like race or gender they usually chime in (and chime out) with phrases like: “Oh, well, race/gender/social equality is complicated and everyone has a different opinion on it.” Except no. Its not and they don’t.
And you know why? Because racial bias, gender bias, and social bias is some seriously arbitrary and entirely made up nonsense. And imaginary, made up things are, by nature of their deep non-realness, usually not that complicated. I mean, really, they’re about as complicated as goddamn Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.
Oh, well, that guy’s racial blood lineage is less ‘pure’ than mine so it makes me an inherently better person? Women’s brains are broom-shaped and so they need their own brand of pens and can only operate pink machinery? That dude likes other dudes (or doesn’t believe in God or likes to dress like Darth Vader) and so he deserves to have less rights to privacy, social dignity, or even a hint of human compassion?
Made up. Made up. Made up. Made up and completely messed up.
But, y’know, its not really all that surprising why these messed up things are around and refuse to go away. People benefit from bigotry–hell, I benefit from it every day–and things that benefit people in power don’t just suddenly go away because Halle Berry won an Oscar or whatever. Nope. They lurk around in words like “social background” and “natural-born” or calling every other Indian person “Raju.” Look at where there are deliberate and silent absences of certain kinds of people and there you will find hidden, powerful bigotry.
And the people who watch that bigotry from afar and choose to say nothing about it, or worse purposefully disseminate it and make it grow for their own benefit are The Bigots.
Now, I’m generally a well-intentioned person and so I try my best to give people the benefit of the doubt when they make seemingly unintentional bigoted claims like, “Racism is over! Obama’s president!” So I always ask these kinds of people one simple question: Do you believe that people are born equal? And their answer to this question is usually the deal-breaker.
Because if you claim that you’re not a bigot (or at least that you’re working hard towards not being one, which is the most any of us can really do) then you must at least believe that all people are born equal. And so, if you believe that, then you also believe that things like someone’s race/gender/personal lifestyle choices shouldn’t have anything to do with how successful/socially comfortable they are. Right? And yet you look around and what do you see? Tons of successful traditional men of one specific race who’s success vastly outweighs the people who are otherwise born different than them. And so, if you believe everyone’s born equal, then you also believe that there are external factors that are holding these different, but equal people back. Factors like bigotry. Right? So, then congratulations! You believe in bigotry and you are actively trying to make sure that you are not a bigot. Kudos to you!
Unless of course you believe that all people are NOT born equal in which case you would be a freaking bigot.
See how simple and so not complicated that whole equation was. ALL people are born equal? Not bigot. Maybe not ALL people are born equal? Bigot.
Now, if you think you may be a privileged bigot and you think maybe you wanna try to change your mind about including EVERYONE in the growth and progress of your country/your subcontinent/your world then here’s my humble two cents if you’ll have them:
It’s not easy to swallow your own privilege and to admit your complicity in bigoted actions especially if that’s just what you were born into. Really, I get it and I know how that feels because I, OwlOlive, am in many ways a member of this privileged global class. By sheer randomness I had the good fortune of being born into a white, straight body, in an economically stable family, with ample education opportunities, in a rich, powerful country in a world that implicitly favors powerful, educated, straight, white bodies over all other kinds of bodies. It’d be so easy for me to say ‘Well! That’s just the way it goes, I guess! La-di-da! Thank God for making me so privileged! What’s for dinner!’
So, yeah. I absolutely know that swallowing your privilege is hard but I can promise you that once you do it you’ll be addicted to that feeling. That feeling of opening yourself up to different perspectives, accepting your part in unknowingly helping to build a crappy social structure, and working on making the world a better place for everyone instead of just defending your territory and telling people where their ‘place’ is. It’s something I have to do as a privileged white person and something I still have to work on every single day because it’s the right thing to do. It’s just that: right. And so you have to do it. And that’s it.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that you’re a bad person for being born into a privileged life in a privileged body. I’m saying you’re an extremely lucky person and that you should acknowledge that random luck by trying to make life easier for the people who weren’t so lucky. The people who were born with a different skin color, or ethnicity, or ‘lineage.’ The people born as female. The people born wanting to live a different but completely non-harmful lifestyle. You should be trying to make their lives equally privileged and easy as yours not less so. And when you do nothing but stand around and watch (‘What am I supposed to do? That’s the way the world is!’) when you could at least say something, you are making it less equal.
Humans are not complicated. All everyone wants is to feel valued, respected, and to feel like we deserve to exist in the world and all that it offers. So stop pretending like these ‘issues’ are so complicated, because they’re just not.
And, to those horrible specimens of crappy, bigoted people who know and understand all of this but still choose to live their lives at the expense of other people’s safety and livelihood and equality, I have but two words for you: Screw you. Screw you for literally turning the whole freaking planet into a disgusting cesspool of pain and division and a lack of progress just so you can stay the only privileged person in the world. Screw you for holding innocent people back and degrading them just because you’re so afraid of being overpowered and made obsolete by unity and loyalty and respect and equal opportunity.
People like you are garbage monsters who just need to shut up already. So yeah. Screw you, bigots. Please go away and never come back.