The topics included under the umbrella of “social justice” have come up a lot in our house lately. From the Netflix show “Dear White People” to the discussion of “Gender Neutral” terms and other similar things regarding feminist-friendly terms. When Rosa and I were talking about it, we came back to a point that I think is really relevant to the issue at hand. Lemme share it. As always, if you like it or hate it, let me know. Interested to hear your thoughts.
[Disclaimer: I’m not having a go. I’m passionately looking at as many of the facts as I’ve seen. Know a fact I missed? Have your say. Gods, don’t let me be wrong.]
So, yeah. You can’t win an argument. Point blank, cannot be done. As soon as a conversation or debate becomes an argument, nobody is getting anywhere. It’s an issue of self-preservation. As soon as your identity, your view of who you are, or your “thing” come under fire, you don’t want to listen anymore. That’s just how it happens.
I think we’ve learned loads of our ideas on how to “Change The World™” from our fucking pets. Like, if a dog doesn’t like another dog, it barks. If a cat wants to show the others in the colony that they are the king or queen then they assert their dominance with a bit of a fight and some overwhelming behaviour that makes their position clear. And, if a dog had a weak baby or you take a kitten away from its mother too early, they fucking eat them.
Humans aren’t like that though. We are a social species. We don’t respond like that. If we have a weak baby that won’t be much like anybody else, we love it anyway. We take it as our mission to give that kid the best life possible. Whatever their condition, whether they’ll be disabled for their whole life or whether they’ll not last a few years… We take that on, we rise to the challenge and we make it work.
That’s how we respond to the underdog/cat. We see them and we’re like “Awh so cute” and we lift them up and help them out.
Now imagine I’m a white male and someone comes at me like “White privilege nur”, they’re doing a number of terrible things if what they want is to get their point across, be heard and see some actual change.
First of all, they’ve made something that is clearly representative of me (from their point of view) a bad thing and therefore, I’m immediately going to get defensive. Preservation of self, right? They’ve also managed to make this thing – this trait/label/observation – the underdog/cat. And that means, because we’re not actually like dogs or cat – because we want the other members of our species to survive because, for us, that means we survive – we get all “awh, don’t be mean” about it and we try – even if that issue doesn’t directly apply to us – to find a way that it’s “not as bad as all that”.
Is this post stressing you out?
Here’s a mountain to help with that.
Anyway, back to it.
Same with “don’t use that word it offends me” (get offended then, I don’t care) and stuff like that. The whole, let’s try to make other people change the words they use thing is actually pretty mad when you think about the fact that the words we use are a consequence of our state of mind and our values. LINGUISTIC CHANGE IS NOT CHANGE. IF IT LASTS & IS NOT THE RESULT OF WORD POLICING, LINGUISTIC CHANGE IS A CONSEQUENCE OF CHANGE. We’ve got this obsession with focusing on the symptom when the cause is so much more interesting; of focusing on the problem when the solution is right there.
There seems to be an as yet undeciphered formula which, when applied, would give somebody the ability to make someone else see things the way they see things. I haven’t cracked it yet. As I say, undeciphered. Probably won’t bother though. I do have a sense that some part of it relates very closely to not attacking the person you want to influence though…
Getting all worked up over the words people use is just a waste of time. Just like getting all worked up over how people act is a waste of time. WORDS ARE A CONSEQUENCE OF STATE OF MIND. ACTIONS ARE A CONSEQUENCE OF STATE OF MIND. If you’re not thinking for yourself, you live out your life like your parents did. With the same bias and prejudice. If we start thinking for ourselves then we do things differently. But at no point will getting wound up about what someone else is doing actually change what they’re doing.
Changing someone else is about the most loobycrust waste of time anybody can ever indulge in. What people really need is to be listened to. That’s why we shout over each other in arguments. Duh. It’s also like… that quote… I can’t remember where I heard it. It was in a series. Tell if you know. “There’s one problem with trying to change the world: Everybody else.”
JUST BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE DOESN’T MEAN IT MATTERS.
At the end of the day, I think it’s not a question as to who is right. I don’t think any of us are as much as we all think we are and unless you’re into the idea of some supreme sense of moral justice that may/may not/should/shouldn’t guide our actions… Then well… I think, really, the issue isn’t one of feminism or racial prejudice or gender this or that (or whatever in between)…
I think the issue is that we’re still learning how to be around each other. HUMANS ARE SO ADVANCED BUT WE HAVEN’T LEARNED HOW TO CO-EXIST. LOL. If I had it my way, I’d make sure that everybody with a strong opinion about anything first had some knowledge of the anatomy of an argument. There’s no “Oh, I see what you mean. Fair enough. I was wrong. Sorry for being a total wanky cunt bollock. I didn’t mean it. You’re so wise and I was a stupid bumhole for thinking I was right.” organ.
Yeah, before we start getting all up in arms about how each other are wrong, shouldn’t we learn how to be around each other despite our opinions? Philosophy students, go.
[Disclaimer #2: I know this whole post is an oxymoron. But hey, I need to breathe.]