All right, heads up. I’ve been sick for the last few weeks. I’m sorry. Been to urgent care clinic twice, seen the doctor three times. Felt like shit, in my mind and in my body. Can’t think, can’t sleep.
I’m starting to get better, though. Here’s something I just wrote, in something far from my usual style. I have no idea what it’s like. Suppose you could call it stream-of-consciousness. I’d appreciate your thoughts on it. Have a good weekend. Peace.
I’m torn an an issue, find myself constantly changing my opinions on it.
What do you think is the way we should tell others their words are wrong, hateful, exclusionary, problematic?
The two camps I keep switching between go:
One, getting angry, being righteous, that feels good. But what does it help? It doesn’t change minds, doesn’t change hearts. It makes people double down, close up. You need to be something special to be told everything you do and think is wrong, wrong, wrong, and still be humble enough to see it’s true.
It’s just not practical, y’know? Might be you’re right, someone’s entire worldview is just bad, BUT. What if they’re not closed off to change? What if the right words could lead to them thinking, growing, changing. You don’t owe it to them, but talking through things, explaining properly, can actually help change their behaviour and how they see things.
Two, except… except I’ve spent the last year and a half dealing with a million people telling me I’m wrong, I’m a sinner, I’m going to burn in hell for a long, long time. I’m sick of their shit. One of them tells me I’m not a woman, says I’m pretending to be someone I’m not, pretends to know better than me about myself, I’m not gonna take that shit. I can’t spend every day correcting a million people, being kind, patient, perfect.
It’s not my DUTY to teach other people. And sugarcoating the truth is bullshit. If people feel too guilty about themselves to admit they’re sexist, racist, transphobic, why should that be my problem?
Why should I spend my energy educating them when they can look this up online?
Then again… You can’t find out the truth unless you’re aware you believe in a lie. I became an atheist AFTER realising I couldn’t justify my old belief in God, it didn’t just happen day to night. Isn’t the burden on those who know the truth to tell others about it?
I was lucky enough to be educated, to stumble on good feminism when I was young, and was still choosing who I would be. I internalised empathy and allowed it to take me out of my old misogyny , and racism, and transphobia. If I hadn’t found all that by accident, I wouldn’t be me today. Why shouldn’t I do what I can to share that with others?
But, but see, there you are again, blaming it all on the oppressed. And yeah, all right, not actually blaming. But assigning responsibility means casting blame when things don’t go right. And things aren’t going right. And I just have to ask, what’s the bother? When has civil discourse and calm protesting changed jack shit? Did women get the right to vote by finding men against women’s suffrage and letting themselves be talked down to? Hell no! Did black people smile at the Klan and tried to make nice? Like fuck. They fought, and by fought I MEAN fought. They knew change comes through effort, and struggle, real struggle.
So what’s the path to follow? Should we feel it’s our duty to educate everyone else? Always reasonable, always patient, always smiling? Are we supposed to listen to someone call people like us dirty sinners, hateful garbage, delusional and over-sensitive?
But what if we fight back? Do we hurt ourselves by making it all confrontational? Or rather, by ceasing to pretend it’s not confrontational, when the truth is, it was always us against them, when they started to define what made a person a person, worthy of respect.
I can’t make up my mind. I’ve spent the whole day reading. Reading up on this, reading articles by liberals, comments by crazy alt-righters. And when I haven’t been reading, I’ve been thinking.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t have ANY answers. I just have a lot of anger and a lot of pain inside me, and I wish there was an easy way to know what to do. I wish I could trust someone to be right and do what they say. I wish I could lay down my burden, just enjoy life.
But wishing doesn’t mean shit, so I’m gonna spend the rest of the night pretending to listen to music while my mind goes crazy thinking about this and that, and struggling to make sense of what I believe and what I need to do.