“That statement just reeks of white, male privilege.”
–Someone I Trust
I was whining about the recent accusations of bigotry I’ve endured here. And to be clear, I am a bigot. I’m stubbornly intolerant of Mormons, evangelicals, Young-Earth Creationists, most Republicans, several Libertarians, teenagers who talk all the fucking way through Insidious 2, and bullshit. I’m incredibly stubbornly intolerant of bullshit, especially when it comes out of the mouth or keyboard of an alleged fellow atheist/skeptic.
SIT’s question was what did I say? I told SIT the first hypothesis I mentioned at the bottom of this post. Not only did SIT think I was full of shit, but SIT went on to say this:
“You think it’s socially advantageous in group situations to be put on the spot about your minority community? No, it sucks. There’s a bunch of pressure. Someone asks you a stupid question–one you’ve heard over and over–and it’s on you to be polite and answer it. That’s not social ‘advantage.’”
It took me a second to put the pieces together, but I realized that SIT was of course right. The way I was able to put the pieces together was remember the probably hundreds of thousands of times I’ve been expected to explain achromatopsia to one more person that week. What I’ve come to is it’s that new person’s first time asking and not his fault he knows nothing about the condition, but it’s still really, really irritating. And SIT was right. As irritating as any achromat questions might be, the social pressure’s on me to remain polite and just answer the fucking question.
So my hypothesis was dead wrong and to those who were offended by it, sorry for not checking the ol’ privilege.
“Why were you debating with these people anyway?”
I told SIT how I’d gotten the impression from the trans community (along with many others) that the mandates were:
- Don’t be ignorant.
- Don’t fucking ask me to quell your ignorance.
To which I thought, okay, well, I’ve gotta ask somebody, even if that’s Wikipedia, someone wrote the article. An exchange of information has to occur between me and another human because transsexuality is a human experience, and even if it’s not, chimpanzees can’t talk.
I told SIT how, in my effort to get rid of 1, I’d been told 2.
“It’s probably best to ask those questions of someone you already know.”
That makes sense. I pointed out, though, that what I don’t get is if one builds one’s on-line presence based heavily on one’s minority community, that’s one’s “brand” for lack of a better term, then isn’t it safe to assume that one should probably expect some degree of irritation from repeated, stupid questions? If I hadn’t named this site “Atheist Asshole,” but rather “Atheist Achromat,” wouldn’t it be just a little reasonable to expect that FAQs would be about the second half of that title?
“Okay, so if the person’s being a jerk, then why bother with her?”
Why indeed? Why have I bothered? This also led me directly to the idiots who’ve called me a bigot and another idiot who lied about stuff I’d done. I had a little dialogue with myself.
“Why do you care so much about what other people say about you?”
“I don’t unless it’s bullshit.”
“So what if it’s bullshit? How does that affect you?”
“See? If you walked by this person on the street and he yelled this shit out at you, would you care or walk on by?”
Exactly. I knew SIT was right, I was wrong, and I’d been wasting my time.