Scanning puerile news and social media websites is simultaneously enlightening and disheartening. Normally they stand as firm, undying testament to the amount of trivial asininity that people willing spout on a regular basis. But it also tells remarkable tales about the human experience, namely how one interacts with others.
That would be all fine and dandy, if this concocted cocktail wasn't so plaintively baleful for anyone who lives even remotely outside the comfortable norms that society so cordially embraces. Day in and day out there are stories about some celebrity coming out as gay (or supporting gay rights -- a similarly "menacing act of defiance" to someone, I'm sure), and suddenly everyone has a damn opinion. Worse, they think they can gather the complete biography of that person from one, four paragraph article! Because we're obviously all astute experts at collecting such information.
And of course this penetrates into every aspect of individual identity: sex, gender, race, sexuality, religion, political affiliation, your favorite color, etc. It's beyond maddening, espousing moral judgement based on a few key identities that a person publicly holds.
Let me be clear that I'm expressly focusing on one particular type of judgement: negative judgement, which is neither helpful or necessary. Judgement can exist as positive enforcement and validation for people -- we're proud of our soldiers, our teachers, that one guy who saved a kitten from a tree -- and it can serve as a valuable point for sparking meaningful debate. I don't want to claim that everyone should disassociate themselves from making any sort of opinion or judgement call.
But when some kid comes out during a graduation speech, is it really necessary and proper to start spewing out biblical passages, or making sweeping accusations regarding the "gay agenda"? I do not believe that the cases for derisive comments are inherently warranted under such conditions. I'm all for engendering a healthy relationship with free speech, but some of its products have acrid tastes.
I honestly am never sure what's more damaging, dogmatic judgement cultivated through years of stiff belief, or judgement tentatively dished out at the unknown. I like to think that the second, being theoretically malleable, would bother me less, but at least I can create patterns with the first category. Novices, especially uninterested ones, infusing their beliefs into public discourse are definitely more terrifying on some level. Trying to explain to someone what it means to be transgender is like having Jeff Goldblum drip water onto your hand -- you never know which way the conversation will travel. Sure, some people can get alien concepts to make logical connections in their brains, but others will just stare incredulously. Worse yet, some will come to loath the things that they can't grasp.
Being a member of a few heavily-stigmatized communities, I often face more negative than positive judgement, when I decide to face the public at all. I get called a sinner for being bisexual, and having a boyfriend that I am deeply committed to. I get called a pervert for being in the furry community, because obviously all we have are massive orgies 24/7, and nothing else. And I get a lot of flack for espousing that people should be entitled to have and cherish their own identities, without being constantly dissuaded by cantankerous busybodies.
Maybe I'm just crazy. I know that the human condition pretty much requires use to formulate opinions about someone from the second we lay eyes on them. But should we openly make rash claims, throw around insults, and generally be complete jerks simply because we lack understanding of what that person has gone through, and who they really are? We can't fully empathize with everyone we meet, but surely we can try understanding before casting sweeping judgement about character.
At least we could spend more than five minutes on one bias article before delivering our final, unwavering stance on another being.
Some people do shitty things because they are shitty people. Some people do shitty things because they've had shitty lives. There's an important distinction there -- and it is undeniably hard to spot. Be careful were you cast blame, is all I'm trying to say.
Just some food for thought. And some potentially incoherent ramblings at the early hours of the morning.
5 years ago
30 Jul 2013 10:40 CEST