The Victims of Prejudice and Discrimination…

…at the risk of pissing everyone off.

My friend Erin over at Lurking Rhythmically posted this interesting piece on her blog. She quotes the insight of one of her friends and explores a fascinating discussion concerning alternative sexual orientation and the gun community. I’d encourage you to read the whole thing. I started to comment there but it turned into a rant. Since this little blog is often neglected, I thought I might as well drag my rant over here instead.

One evening, Jenni and I met another man and woman at a bar and began chatting with them. Nice people. It turned out that they were close friends and he was waiting until his ‘husband’ got off work. A little later the four of us convened to his place to meet up with his other half and hang out for drinks and conversation. When he got home, he seemed a little surprised by the crowd, but nevertheless happy and welcoming to the impromptu party. As much fun as we were having swapping stories and all, when I ducked into the kitchen to top up my red Solo cup, our hosts were in there and got a little makey-outey, like slurpy sounds and all. I will not lie. I got a little grossed out. Of course, I didn’t say anything nor show any outward reaction. This was their home, and I was a guest. And, that’s about as much as needs to be said about the situation. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness in their own way, as long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights or freedom, even if I personally think it’s gross to witness two dudes making out. And, that’s where I firmly stand.

Additionally, I don’t like the fact that we are all put in little category boxes, and I hate the fact that society as a whole likes to cram us into those boxes. I’ve met plenty of ‘black’ people who are no less European than I am by heritage, but social pressure causes them to feel a divide. Conversely, I have a friend who is a fellow pale ginger who is married to a quite dark-skinned black girl. Their kids are beautiful, BTW. I had a conversation with a different friend who expressed frustration at the LGBT community because she feels shunned by them. She is actively bisexual, in an open-ish long-term relationship with a man and feels like the LGT’s act like she’s ‘not really one of them’ since her primary is a man. I’m a registered Republican so I can vote in the primaries, although I am more of a get-off-my-lawn libertarian. One of my friends from our local gamer group is a self-proclaimed Obama-voting, liberal Democrat whose car sports a “Democrats Care” bumper sticker. When he and I ill-advisedly talk politics, we find that we are really both centrists in about the same flavor, supporting gun rights and all. It is my opinion that divisional categories for people are often more damaging than helpful. Somehow cephalopods make you hot and you like to smear mustard on yourself while wearing a diaper? Yeah, that’s pretty weird, but I fail to see how your proclivities are the business of the public at large. But, you like Star Trek and beer? Hey, me too. Does that make us Trekkie beer fans or does that box oversimplify and cut into the value that makes us individuals? What do you in the diaper/mustard/octopus community call yourselves anyway? How sad is it that cisgender is even an awknowledged term in a society that calls itself accepting for that matter?

As if all of that wasn’t already bad enough, they’re always moving the goal posts on us and coming up with new opportunities for us to offend each other. I can clearly remember when “oriental” was a perfectly appropriate and accepted way to describe a person from The Orient. *gasp* I’m not sure exactly when that became improper and we started using the less accurate term “asian,” which should more appropriately umbrella Russia and a huge freaking chunk of the Middle East, including several -stans and Israel. “Colored people” became offensive so we started saying “black.” And then, they decided that we needed to say “African American” which is stupid, because I’ve known black people that weren’t actually American, and I’ve known many white immigrants from Africa. Now, I see people referring to “people of color” and so it seems that we’ve gone full-circle there. And, if you can’t keep up with the whole stupid game, you are guilty of microagression.

They’ve redefined “racism” so that it can only be perpetrated by white people against “minorities.” If a ‘person of color’ discriminates against white people based on their race, it’s apparently something other than racism. At least they stopped calling Caucasians “Anglos” whether or not they were of Anglo descent. That was pretty racist if you ask me, and family tracing seems to suggest that I don’t have much English ancestry at all.. And if you want to compare minority cards, I’m a freaking blue-eyed ginger! We make up less than 1% of the world’s population and depending on who in history you listen to, we’re either witches, highly libidinous, bad tempered, alien hybrids, or have no soul, or all of the above. You ever have anyone ask what color your pubes are? Because, that’s not at all awkward or anything. I met a native in Spain who was a fellow blue-eyed ginger. So, would he be “white,” or “latino”? Or should we just call such a person a “white latino,” since the media was nice enough to invent that term to vilify the defendant in a well-known self-defense case?

Because you know, it’s the whites that are all bad. Or the queers. Or the gendernormatives. Or the republicans. Or the Obama supporters. Or the truthers. Or the gun nuts. The Christians. The Muslims. The Zionists. The atheists. The patriarchy. The feminists. The mustard/cephalopod/diaper people.

Do you know what I call my black friend? Brother. Do you know what I call my gay friend? Friend. What do I call my Japanese cousin? Cousin. I don’t call my atheist friends “godless heathens” unless I’m making a good-natured joke even if in bad taste. I don’t care if you voted for Obama or the RINO or neither. Take a guess at how many cisgender pride parades I’ve marched in. Guess how many slaves I’ve ever owned. Is it anyone’s business what flavor of freakiness goes on in my bedroom besides Jenni’s? Would you even want to know? There are people who would use all these categorizations and more to divide us against each other. And by and large, we are letting it happen. We are all the victims of prejudice and discrimination when we let them divide us with the petty details, or when we question ourselves because we don’t fit squarely into one of their pre-defined categories. Can I think it’s gross when two men get intimate with each other and still appreciate them as people? You bet! Will I watch cephalopod and mustard porn with you? Probably not, but thanks for asking. There are so very few situations that can ever really be distilled into an us-and-them. So next time you see an us-and-them scenario come up, I’d encourage you to ask yourself why it’s important for the distinctions to be there; and who, if anyone, has something to gain from that kind of division.

Edited to add: I attempted to post a link to this entry in Erin’s comment section, but it appears that now requires a Disqus, FB, Twitter, or G+ account. Since I didn’t want to sign up for Disqus, or post with my account from one of the other three, I did not. I suppose I understand why many bloggers are getting away from name/url commenting, but I still find it a little irritating.

16 thoughts on “The Victims of Prejudice and Discrimination…

  1. My ‘standard’ has always been live and let live, until you start ‘forcing’ your lifestyle on me. Then a different set of options come into play.

  2. Sorry you had a bad time commenting! I understand that signing up to comment is not something you want to do, but the ability to moderate comments (and blacklist IP addresses of trolls) is really useful to me so I’m not in a hurry to change.

    But it gave you the opportunity to write your own post, which is totally cool.

    The thing that I don’t fully understand — not from you, but humans in general — is that there will be hetero couples that even the staunchest straight won’t want to see making out. I mean, would you really be any less grossed out if your neighbors had been Tom Arnold and Roseanne Barr (who were married for FOUR years) sucking face?

    Really, what it comes down to is this: people like seeing attractive people kiss (which is why most straight men don’t mind watching lesbians make out) and do not like seeing unattractive people kiss. So ultimately, it’s a case of “That thing you do makes me feel uncomfortable and icky.”

    The sooner they admit that to themselves, the sooner they realize — like you mentioned in your post — that feelings of “ickyness” are not a basis for discrimination.

    Thanks ER!

    • Like I said, I understand the why, and I don’t much blame you there. I wind up not commenting on a lot of the blogs I read for that very reason. And as you said, content opportunity.

      You hit the nail on the head there. I appreciated your Arnold/Barr reference over at your url too. In as much as I don’t want to watch a couple of dudes being intimate, I can think of scores of hetero couples that I’d prefer to not see that way either. A lot of these are perfectly nice people whose company I rather enjoy. I just wouldn’t want to see them getting it on. Similarly, the whole “lezbeens r hawt” thing among straight men is funny in that I’ve seen quite a few lesbian couples that I’m pretty sure nobody would want to watch sucking face for all the same reasons.

      I had hoped that I’d made my point effectively, and your feedback seems to suggest that I did. Thank you!

  3. Very well said. And yes, there are LOTS of people I don’t want to watch make out, but that doesn’t make them any less people. Nor do I have a right to deny anyone the right to make out with another person just because it squicks me out.
    I find when people can move beyond the categories and labels, we find a lot more common ground.

    • “I find when people can move beyond the categories and labels, we find a lot more common ground.”

      Yes. This. I thought about going more into this point, but I’d already topped 1,000 words and thought maybe I’d revisit it later.

    • “I find when people can move beyond the categories and labels, we find a lot more common ground.”

      this is something that thoroughly frustrates me with a large group of younger folks on the Internet. they want categories but they want sameness; they want to be treated like $Group but GOD HELP YOU if you’re a MEMBER of that group, then they want you dead. and all these categories just make my head hurt!

      i’d like to claim ownership of my person: i am a human female. i like the things i like, and they may be different from the things you like, but i can still call you friend; your differences are what make you unique, and they make you interesting. why can’t we celebrate that instead of using it as a label?

      it’s maddening.

  4. Human history is full of “us vs them” conflicts and classifications.

    “Us” always being superior to “them”

    Labels exist to dehumanize, classify, and simplify. People engineer labels to tell the story they want “Pro life” instead of “Forced compliance with my view”, likewise “Pro Choice” as opposed to “not opposed to killing babies”…

    And you can use such labels to shave off the inconvenient arguments that don’t fit into your world view. To use the last example, I always vote “pro choice”. Always. I have three wonderful kids, and I can not imagine the world without them. I regularly donate to adoption, and child placing services, and encourage anyone looking at abortion to look at those alternatives. But I also support planned parenthood as I feel it does ALOT of good for ALOT of people. Most importantly I vote “pro choice” because I don’t have a uterus. I have the other gear. And even if I did, I don’t feel that I could tell someone else what their life has to contain, and how they have to live it. Who am I to do that?

    Any label someone uses is just a way to get away from “A PERSON with a background, or belief system” and get to a “a vicious, unreasonable, inhumane, sub-human who needs to be forced into compliance”

    • “Labels exist to dehumanize, classify, and simplify.”
      Yes. This.
      Using abortion as an example, the vast majority of us on either side of the debate can agree that abortion should be safe and rare. If we could start the debate from there, we could have an intelligent discussion on the subject. But, the fringe groups take over the debate with those that would pitch late term abortions as a valid alternative to birth control on one side and the religious fundamentalists that would say that abortion is wrong even if the pregnancy would kill the mother and the child wouldn’t be viable anyway. When the debate is overtaken by the fringes, no reasonable discussion can be made and dehumanization happens indeed.
      There are myriad issues that get railroaded in this same way, but I chased it as the example as you very appropriately brought it up as a prescient one.

  5. Also tell me more about this cephalopod mustard, diaper sect…. Um for “research” of course…

    What type of mustard? I mean, we all know BROWN mustard users are devils!

    • LOL! Obviously, I rectally irrigated that example. I would imagine that your standard French’s would do for a n00b, but the long time connoisseurs would have pretty particular tastes in their kink mustard. I would imagine there would also be some in-fighting concerning the cephalopod of choice as well as diaper brand/type. Alright, this over thinking is getting out of hand.

  6. I guess this post raises three thoughts in my mind.

    1. I don’t want to watch anyone make out in person. It’s a private thing that I shouldn’t be part of. It doesn’t matter how attractive or repulsive they are. Although the extra repulsiveness of Tom and Roseanne just adds an additional reason. 😉

    2. Labels, privately, tend to help people get a quick read on each other so they can kind of figure out some starting data as a launching point for interaction. I don’t mind labels when taken as a gross indicator as opposed to a complete box. I like Firefly, but that’s not all, so it’s not a complete box for me.

    3. If government were much, much smaller, labels would probably not be such a hot button. People you probably wouldn’t want in your living room (for example, people who are 95% politician, 95% lawyer, 95% race baiter, etc.) use those labels to divide and conquer. I think they are the people who contribute most to the bad taste that labels leave.

    I tend to label myself as eclectic or “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

    As in all things, YMMV.

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