Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Do Know White Men Are Allowed to Have Opinions, Right?

So this happened.

A young lady named Traci Ford, who is apparently all of 24 years old, sent me a message in reaction to something I posted over on BuzzFeed regarding sexism, how men are sometimes treated worse than women are specifically because they are men, depending on the situation, and how certain forms of anti-male sexism is subtle, effective, and utterly pervasive in our culture.

Her entire message reads as follows:
"You need to shut the fuck up. You don't get to have an opinion about sexism, you piece of shit, because you're a white man, and no white man deserves an opinion. Men can't be raped, they can't be discriminated against, and they aren't ever abused except by other men. You're a misogynist piece of shit who hates women and the only thing coming out of your mouth is sexism. Do the world a favor and don't breed.‪#‎maleprivilege‬ ‪#‎whiteprivilege‬"


Now, I'll be honest.  This message didn't really bother me.  Ms. Ford is obviously an ignorant idiot who has drunk too much of the Social Justice Warrior Kool-Aid.  She has no idea about how life really works, or how "privilege politics" is nothing but a cheap and easy way to marginalize and silence people who you disagree with rather than actually deal with their words and statements.

I mean, what can I do, deny the fact that I'm male?  Sorry, guilty as charged.  How about that I'm pale-skinned?  Nope, can't deny that either.  I've been a white dude for nearly 50 years now.  In my defense, its not like it was something I could control, and thus technically it shouldn't be something anyone can possibly hold against me without being sexist (I can't control my gender, therefore discriminating against me based on gender is sexism) or racist (I can't control my skin color, therefore discriminating against me based on skin color is racism). 

And to be honest, the entire thing is awful confusing.  Am I supposed to be ashamed of my gender and skin color because, supposedly, white + male = evil?  (And wouldn't shaming me on the basis of gender and skin color just be more sexism and racist?)  Or should I be happy for my gender and skin color because, supposedly, white + male = privilege?


And of course, when I say that I was raised to be blind to someone's skin color and gender (which I was, by the way) and treat all persons by "the content of their characters" (which I was, by the way), I get told that I'm naive at best and intentionally flaunting my white male privilege at worst.

Apparently I'm not allowed to be offended by sexist statements and actions that target men, nor am I allowed to be offended by racist remarks and actions that target white people, and apparently no matter how fiercely I oppose any form of sexism or racism, I'm still a sexist, racist white man.


Wow.


Look.  I can't change my skin color, and I'm not of a mind to change my gender.  Neither factors are under my control, and apparently some people are going to hate me because of both and there's nothing I can do about that either.  So if someone could please tell me when I, a white male, am allowed to be thought of as a full human being with rights and opinions again, I'd be grateful.


In the mean time, I want to talk about the entire You are a [insert specific demographic here], so shut the fuck up about [insert political issue here]!  thing.  I know you think you're accomplishing something by trying to shame members of the [insert specific demographic here] into silence, but the truth is, that statement is one of the most prejudiced, ignorant things you could ever possibly say.  It isn't a rational response.  What you are saying when you pull this bullshit is you are saying, "I know you have valid points, but I refuse to acknowledge them, because even acknowledging them is admitting that there might be a valid argument that disagrees with me."


So let's all do each other a favor and stop using this sort of shit as a response, okay?  Argue about politics and opinions and whatever all you want, but don't resort to this sort of bullshit.  This isn't a rational response.  It is, in fact the opposite of a rational response.  It is the opening gambit in a game of "Who is the Biggest Victim."  And its disgusting.  Utterly disgusting.


Such statements are marginalizing entire groups of human beings from participating in a conversation based on considerations they have absolutely no control over.


Enough already.



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