“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” -Gandhi

I have a friend. Most of you know him. He is one of my true friends, internet or no. We disagree about some things. He made a post about some of them. When my reply hit 1,000 words I figured I should probably make it a post instead. These issues are complicated and multifaceted and I appreciate talking about them at length. I hope that this post will lead me and others to encounters with new ideas and a more focused worldview.

The friend is Vance and his post is here. My reply follows.
brain-exchange
My friend, you have been brutally honest with your criticisms, so I shall be brutally honest with my reply. I know you are frustrated and I can empathize. To be honest, you made me laugh even as I (strongly) disagreed with you. Which I think is maybe what you were going for.

You’ve missed the point (from my angle) –almost entirely…not altogether, but almost. 

There probably is some small, vocal subset that does blame you for things that you haven’t done, but most advocates for social equality are not so illogical.

Where gender is concerned, you said:

I’m told that men shouldn’t be involved in the gender debate, that they should just listen quietly and be educated. Fair enough: quiet listening is necessary to education, and speech before learning leads only to Fox and Friends. But there is a time for quiet listening, and there is a time for taking what one has learned and getting into the conversation, respectfully but actively. Otherwise, there isn’t much point in learning in the first place.

We have talked about gender inequities before and, given the content of those times, I think this is at least partly influenced by those talks. I say ‘talks’ because they were not conversations or exchanges. You said your piece, I said mine, repeat, and close the browser. I think we talked at each other. For me, it felt as though you had your opinions and that my challenge to those opinions insulted you. I hoped my comments would be a starting point. Instead, they became the final destination. I take at least part of the blame for that. No doubt I could have spoken better.
And yet, I cannot bring myself to take much blame.

You see, I’ve run into this situation too many times to count. The situation: Men, usually calling themselves feminists, talking about equality. By talking about equality, I mean talking over me or shrugging off the conversation when we get to a divergence. Again and again and again. You speak of listening with the intent of being educated, but if our few attempts at exchanges are anything to judge by, you may have never truly listened.

I don’t want to leave men out of the conversation. I know some feminists do, but I don’t. Still, men need to recognize that there are things that they just cannot know. And, yes, especially white men. When you are so used to the world listening to your voice and orienting itself to you, even a minute shift can be jarring for reasons not immediately understood. It is hard to adjust to and accept. Yet, if we are to improve as a society the skill must be learned by those in power. Even those with power they didn’t ask for.

There are things that men need to say about gender equality and I want them said. Here’s the thing though: they already are. Men have the platforms, they have the respect, they have the confidence. When a man stumbles upon a space (almost certainly online since there are very few such places in meatspace) in which his voice is not placed on a pedestal, it seems to him as though some indignity has taken place when in reality the limelight is only being shared for the first time.

I have seen only a handful of men actually listen consistently. I don’t know any of them personally. On occasion? Sure, I’ve seen it myself–but never consistently.
So, a man routinely listening to feminists about feminism and then speaking to them with respect and understanding? Surely it happens, but I have never witnessed it. Not really. It’s so exceedingly rare.
Can you imagine the pain of every man in your life failing to listen to you so often that the mere fact that some man, somewhere might not seems like a fantasy? It hurts.
Your post? It made me laugh. And, Vance, that laughter hurt.

It hurts to see a woman say something about feminism and then to see a man to say something similar. Especially online. Seems like that should be a good thing, right? So why isn’t it? Because the woman gets degraded almost exclusively with a few encouraging comments here and there. Meanwhile, the man gets lauded with maybe a few degrading comments. The comments that degrade him? Words referring to women and their anatomy. Because to be a woman or to be like a woman or to have female anatomy is degrading. It is literally an insult to be female. Is it any wonder that some have tried to make being a male insulting? They’re trying to even the score. They’re striving for justice. Anyway…
The man will endure a few of these insults and he will be a hero for having done so. The woman will quietly shut down or change the subject or turn off the comments and sludge on while being lambasted as a censor. If she trudges on and consents to the comments, she will be threatened with rape and death.
She will say something. A man will say the same thing. The cycle will continue. It will continue to hurt. By all means, speak out, but never mistake your words for experience.

My husband gets aggravated every time my eight year points out that the world around her defaults to whiteness and maleness. He thinks I’ve jaded her too soon. I thank all that is good in this world when she does this. She knows that the world is not all white and all male and she refuses to accept the defaults society gives her. Society will change because of girls like her and in spite of the men that will talk over and around her.

sbr082014dapc

Where race is concerned, you said:

I’m told that Black Lives Matter. And they most certainly do. But I’m also told that this is a claim that must exist in isolation; that to suggest, as a member of the white community, that my life also matters, that indeed all lives matter, is an act of imperialism and violence. I am told by those speaking out for their own worth and meaning as people that if I do the same, I am worthless and meaningless. Meanwhile, on many levels, the whole argument misses its own point, given that we are prosecuting it as a multitude of refugees stands helpless and homeless at our borders, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens stand helpless and homeless on our street corners, and all the rest of us stand idly by demanding more attention for ourselves.

I’m white. Well, as far as society is concerned and let’s face it, race is all but just a social construct.
Where to begin? I’ll say this: I still cringe when I see ads for black only dating sites. They make me think about how we’re still separating ourselves. I feel the same way when I see Christian Mingle ads. But then I remember that I met some of my best friends at a group specifically for non-believing families and that I feel most comfortable on internet forums for women. We’re humans living in a society that has not reached peak equality and understanding. We categorize and label. Sometimes we just need to share a basic level of understanding with other people and that is okay–we will move on as society does.

The last few years have been quite an evolution in how I see race. I knew of prejudice. I knew of racism. I knew Jim Crow was not that long ago. But I didn’t know how bad our issues of segregation continue to be. I didn’t know how ingrained racism continues to be. I didn’t appreciate the absolute failure of our society to recognize its own failings on behalf of people of color. I am white, but two of my great-grandparents are from Mexico. My great-grandfather forced the accent from his voice and dressed his girls in pastel dresses to fit into White America. My grandmother married a white man. My father is a white man. I never learned a word of Spanish at home and all that is left of that part of my heritage are some astounding recipes.

I carry within me the desecration of a race and the race that did the desecrating. At this point, most of us do. No, we are not responsible for the actions of our forefathers. But we are responsible for recognizing the privilege that society bestows upon us today.

Of course all lives matter, but that is not the point. The point is that we have an epidemic of black bodies being beaten and killed. The point is that we have a history of black bodies being split and sold and beaten and killed. The point is that some of us still haven’t admitted the problem. This point is that we have not made amends.

Refugees matter. The homeless matter. The hungry matter. The poor matter. The abused matter. All lives matter–yes, yes, yes. But every person must pick their battles.One person cannot fight all injustices and actually get anywhere. There isn’t time. So each person chooses what is most important to them and tries to make some difference. So, yes, all lives matter. But also, Black Lives Matter. That’s the point.

You said:

I refuse to accept this. I will not play this game nor will I acquiesce to these rules, any more than anyone should give in to the arbitrariness of socially-imposed classes and categorizations. Justice is never about taking dominance away from one voice and giving it exclusively to another. Justice can only come about by way of dialogue; it must involve both the wronged and the perceived wrong-er.

Anyone that is suggesting taking dominance away from one group and giving it to another is probably not worth listening to. It’s about taking dominance out of the equation. I do not think that we need justice. Justice is blind and thus blinds all. We need compassion, empathy, and understanding. We have to meet society where society is at. Society needs #BlackLivesMatter. Society needs feminism. If you think otherwise, just read the comments. (Lewis’ Law can be applied to more than feminism.) Black Lives Matter versus All Lives Matter may logically be a false dichotomy, but it is a societal fact.

social_media_conversationI do not doubt that you have worthy contributions to make. I do doubt that you have honestly listened to what has been said on these matters in the past. I just can’t imagine that your post came from a place of understanding.

Like it or not, you are white and male. In this universe, on this planet, that means that for those reasons alone you are endowed with powers and privilege. It is incredibly difficult to appreciate that fact. I get it. I’m part of a few minority groups and a few dominant groups. I have medium code-switching abilities. Recognizing the ways in which society attempts to hold me back is hard. Recognizing the ways society privileges me is harder.

It is incredibly difficult to get someone to realize their privilege, even harder to get them to do something about it. Some will be persuaded by grief and empathy, others by compassion or sadness, and many by anger. Even you.
Of course, some go too far in anger and some do more harm than good. We are human, that is our wont.

I do not want you to apologize for things you have not done. I do want your best actions and words. I do want you as my ally. But you have to listen. We have to hear each other. I don’t know if I deciphered your post and heard you as you meant to be listened to. I don’t know if my words are arranged in a way that will allow you to understand me as I mean to be understood. I hope you reply. I hope we keep talking. I don’t want justice–it’s too late for that. We humans have lived too long, we’ve hurt too much. I want equality.


41 thoughts on ““Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” -Gandhi

  1. That’s such a thoughtful post. And far more patient and tolerant than I would have been. (With old age comes impatience, I guess because life gets ever shorter)
    As I read down Vance’s piece, mansplaining came to mind. And then I returned to your piece and you said the same thing, but without using jargon and explaining it carefully and in detail.
    It’s totally true that men get more credence than women for saying the same thing. That’s on a good day when women are even acknowledged, let alone listened to and their opinion valued (ha! Ojalá).
    And while my feminism may be more radical than yours, I don’t want to exclude men either. Nor do I want them telling me about feminism, about women’s experiences and what I should/should not think.
    However, I can see why many men oppose feminism, or at least only support a tiny part of it. Your comment about sharing the limelight was insightful. Because that’s the crux of it. Equality for women does mean sharing the limelight, ie a loss of prestige and power for men. And while feminism isn’t about world domination for women, redressing the balance will mean some men feel threatened and that their previous rights and privileges are no longer automatic merely because of their appendages.
    And, we’re really talking about largely white western society here. Women in other countries still lack basic rights of health, education and literacy that we take for granted. Although reproductive rights/bodily autonomy is constantly under threat for women.
    Anyway, I won’t make this a thousand words nor will I comment on black peoples’ rights as that isn’t my voice. As you so rightly said, we choose what inequalities we wish to right. And one of mine is feminism.
    If Vance or other men are truly interested in seeing equality for women, they would do well to do some basic reading around the issue. They don’t even need to go out of the house. There are more than enough internet sources. Which reminds me, I am supposed to do a post on ‘what about teh menz?’ So this is a timely reminder 🙂

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read, Kate. It was a doozy. I will say that I feel some of the things I said don’t apply to Vance, or at least not completely. He warned me that his post would push my buttons and it did and I had to release the flood. It is easier to release it here where I have the time to order my thoughts as opposed to real-time conversation. He’s a good guy. They’re all good guys. I just think ‘listen’ somehow translates to another word when it hits their ears.

      I am looking forward to your menz post. 😉

      1. Hmm. This seems to me to be splitting hairs Roughseas. However, I did read that part… that was also followed/included with this part…

        “I hope you reply. I hope we keep talking.”

        Confused. Maybe Madalyn can help if I’m out of line? My comment was simply a compliment to her, her spirit of ‘progressive dialogue’ and this post. o_O

        1. My apologies. I was merely asking if you personally listened when women talk about feminism. Rather than imposing your male view on the discussion, which is a large part of what Madalyn is talking about. Although naturally I am sure all of us appreciate your alliance.

          1. Sometimes — like in this case — I don’t mind being “The Dunce” in the room IF it teaches a valuable lesson for more/all… A Greater Good.

            But because I am also human, with human feelings, there are times when I do mind and my human sensitivity is combed with sandpaper. I am not like all men, nor am I like sexist chauvinist male bigots. I AM most certainly an imperfect human who loves embracing this imperfect, challenging, splendidly beautiful and daunting rock we live on with 7.4 billion others.

            With that said Roughseas, I accept your apology. Thank you for it. 🙂

          1. Thank you Madalyn. 🙂

            I realized more over the last several months that I DO INDEED need to carefully monitor my words online on this subject. I know too well how my in-person “extroverted” personality doesn’t come across the same online. I have you Madalyn, Ruth, VictoriaNeuroNotes, and Roughseas to thank for that. I don’t want you ladies to stop — as you are teaching in this post! — and with men like me, who sometimes (argueably 😉 ) offers too much communication… again, my personality :/ … I recognize I also need/want feedback. Hah! I also need (a high level of?) patience from all of you on this subject. But I’m trying. I really am.

            (now humbly sits down and shuts up with tightly closed jaws) 😛

  2. And here I am, in person, to be lauded and/or degraded by all and sundry…

    First of all, I’m not out to be a hero. On my good days, anyway. I’m quite content to be the asshole in the room, if only to spark conversation. Even if that conversation tears me into little pieces and spits me out the other end. And if it’s a friend who does it, even better. I guess.

    A short response to RoughSeas: Of course I’m “mansplaining.” I’m a man. it’s the only “‘splaining” I can do. And here’s a question: what do you know about me, beyond the rather narrow confines of this particular blog post? Do you know what I have and haven’t read, or to what extent I have sought out a deeper understanding of the issues under discussion? No. But you assume, because I don’t say exactly what you think I should, that I haven’t done any of that at all. You’re wrong. Do you know to what extent I have acted to foster a more equal and just society, both in writing AND through my actions? No. But apparently, you feel free to assume that I’ve done nothing at all. I’m just a man, all superior-like, looking down on the women-folk and preaching my man-sermon. Not because of any experience you have with my whole person, but just because I’m a man talking about things he ain’t supposed to. Which is my point.

    Madalyn, on the other hand, knows me well enough to know better. At least, I thought so. Not that linking to one post out of over 200 helps to make that point. Not that she mentioned this in her post. Which could be titled: Meet My Friend, the Racist, Chauvinist Pig. (You see now why I e-mailed you before posting this. Are you giggling now?)

    I do NOT oppose feminism, for Pete’s sake. Nor do I oppose Black Lives Matter, or think that they don’t, or that the point they’re making is either invalid or unnecessary. And none of that is what I said. But there is no response I can give to this that will make a difference. I do not fear the loss of prestige or power, as I have very little of either, personally, to lose, and it would be nice if people would stop telling me I do. Or at least tell me how to access my magical powers to greater effect. I’m sorry you don’t think I either listen or learn from what I hear. Listening and learning don’t always lead to complete agreement (I say “complete agreement,” because on the fundamentals we DO agree–unless you actually do think I’m a racist, chauvinist pig, in which case maybe you don’t know me at all.) And I haven’t “missed the point”; I simply see the point from different angles, intentionally, in the attempt to understand everything from as many different vantage points as possible, weak as my eyesight may be.

    Allow me to even the score a bit:

    https://anglophiletoad.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/high-res-newsolutions/
    https://anglophiletoad.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/i-now-pronounce-you/
    https://anglophiletoad.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/who-we-arent/
    https://anglophiletoad.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/whistling-dixie/

    All of THIS is WHO I AM. I am neither perfect nor consistent, because I am a human being. But to suggest that my post didn’t “come from a place of understanding” because I don’t understand things exactly as I’m told I must is itself a lack of understanding. Am I wrong? Quite possibly. I’d be foolish to claim otherwise. I wrote this knowing full well that it would rile feathers, and I stand by what I said. But none of that means I’m beyond growth and (yes) greater understanding. Or that I’m not seeking it out every day, all the time.

    I will not heart-heart-heart (mostly because I don’t know how), and go about my submissive way. I will also not finish this post in an angry fashion. To prove as much, later today I’m going to re-blog this on my own page, along with a response of my own.

    Because EVERY voice deserves to be heard…

    1. The point is, you do not need to splain.
      No of course I don’t. Merely your CV and your ‘about’ page that details your youth of travels with your parents, and your published works. Not sure which of those were about feminism but feel free to redirect me in detail and I’ll look.
      Sigh. Your post, and your comment, display exactly the same arrogance. It is your right to tell us all about your (privileged male) issues in life whenever women have the temerity to being up the disputed and heretical issue of discrimination. Fine. Go ahead. But don’t expect plaudits.
      Not sure which, if any of your links were about feminism. They seemed to be about you.
      Thanks for your response to my comment.

      1. Yes, that is me, an arrogant bastard.

        Look, I don’t know you, either, so I’m going to leave it at that. I assume that there is more to you than these comments reveal, and I choose to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    2. Toad,

      I’m probably about to put a sniper’s cross-hairs on my cute ass 😮 …but here goes me and my mouth/keyboard.

      I can totally relate/empathize with your thoughts/feelings here in your comment. Granted I have not gone to read YOUR related-linked blog, but what I found that touched me was Madalyn’s genuine spirit of understanding WITH continued open active respectful dialogue… no matter HOW HEATED exchanges might get. I truly LIKE and respect that attitude!

      On the otherside of that coin though, I get confused when in our wholehearted desire to better understand, listening to not just the words Feminists are saying but also their emotions behind them… TRYING to wrap our heads/hearts around a sometimes alien-concept to us (simply due to the gender we were born as)… I feel ya Toad! I get frustrated sometimes by the/my “perceived” double-binds… when REALLY all I want to do is understand and help how I can. :/ This I know will take some time.

      But I know this beyond a shadow of any doubts… communication cannot stop! Take deep breaths every once in awhile, OF COURSE listen, but also the only way we can understand and be understood is with feedback, feedback, feedback.

      Should that feedback be only through class exams, no exchanges — impersonal? Perhaps. But not always I think. The human touch is also needed. At least for me. 🙂

    3. I stick by my title. The fact that we can move past the essence and get into the details is proof of progress made. Please chuck your title revision in the bin.

      This post is my big picture reply. You asked me beforehand to take into account you and your worldview. I could have done that better, but I also wanted to be honest with my reaction. I don’t think all of what I said applies to you specifically, but it is hard to know what does and doesn’t–not because I think you are an unmitigated ass. You aren’t. At all. But I don’t know what applies and what doesn’t because I’m not your subconscious. My own dive into race relations has taught me that being unaware of our own biases, shortcomings, and privilege is essential and unending work. I will continue to check my reaction to racial issues until the day I die. No matter where I land, people of all colors will disagree with me on certain points. I have to keep trying, just like you–one shoe at a time, one issue at a time, one thought at a time.

      You are a person that appreciates the larger picture. You said that you wish people would stop telling you that you have prestige and power. It took me a while to realize my own privilege when it comes to race and even class. You are but one person, but in the picture of our society, your personhood comes with things that others don’t. So does mine.

      I won’t argue that I know with certainty that you don’t understand my points, but it remains to be my opinion. That is why I so desperately want to continue talking this out. I don’t want to be agreed with for agreement’s sake. I don’t want to agree to disagree without understanding why we disagree. I await your response with hope and enthusiasm.

      1. There’s a scene in a classic episode of MAS*H, in which a camera man asks Col. Potter if he’d like to say hello to his wife on film. To which he replies: “It wouldn’t be dignified.” Perhaps this is another example of “mansplaining” (seriously, what the hell does that even mean?), but willing as I may be to continue this conversation with you, I’m not willing to do it here.

        I will e-mail you soon.

  3. Beautifully written, Madalyn!

    I’ve read your post and the subsequent comments. I’m learning about feminism and patriarchy as we go along here, too. While I believe that men are entitled to their opinions and their feelings, I’ll say that’s what it is. It wreaks of entitlement. Every one has a right to their opinions. But most of the time it comes across from men as though teh womenz are taking their rights away. Of course, they have a right to speak their minds! Even if it does sound entitled. What I mean by that, of course, is that anytime women post or talk about women’s issues what I see in response is, “Hey, wait! I have rights, too, ya know!” Of course we know! Because of the patriarchal system, even if you personally as a man don’t agree with the system, you gain something from it. No, you didn’t ask for it. It was thrust upon you by virtue of your plumbing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy it. And then when women point this out we are shut down with the ways that it’s a right. Yes, for you men. Not for us. Can you, a man, possibly understand that? So when men get all outraged because we’re pointing out the disparity it boils down, plain and simple, to entitlement.

    There is a great difference between having your rights taken away from you, which they haven’t been and are not, and purposefully and thoughtfully relinquishing them for greater understanding. Women have been doing that for….all of history.

    1. Thanks, Ruth. Truth be told, I feel like I’m still figuring out feminism too. I’ll never stop and that’s how it should be in this day and age.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. I think the disconnect in these talks comes from the fact that we all grow up in this society and unless you are disenfranchised by it or make a real effort to see the disenfranchisement, it just seems like that’s how things are.

      This is our fish tank and there’s a bit of salt in the water. It’s pretty good for saltwater fish. A lot of us freshwater fish have adapted, but a lot of others are dead or are lingering at the bottom of the tank. Meanwhile, the saltwater fish are talking about how the water could be a little saltier. We don’t need separate tanks, we need a whole new kind of fish tank.

  4. I love a good spat! But I feel a bit sad that he your friend. On reading his post I see he means so well, and just simply doesn’t get it. I can imagine he’ll just feel further alienated.

  5. @ Madalyn and @ violetwisp —

    Violetwisp I do appreciate the recognition you made about Toad’s deepest attitude. I know Madalyn would/does echo it.

    As I commented on another blog (Cloud’s/Roughseas’ today) on this continued (much needed) topic there… I shared my honest humble feelings (frustrations?) as such…

    “One of my own fumbling struggles [with allying to Feminism] is figuring out WHERE the swinging social-pendulum should rest. I’ve always “thought” it should be dead-center, but I’m finding MANY /some who don’t seem to want it there. :/

    Yes, of course going to a plethora & variety of educational links is fine and well, should be done… however, I personally feel that is greatly complimented and more profound, when the HUMAN touch is added also. Clearly, myself and (I don’t want to speak for) Toad, but he and other “men” are rookies needing further training while wanting to be a part of the solution. Am I, are we, really missing the mark so horribly bad? :/

    1. Perhaps you should explain EXACTLY how you would like your lessons to be worded Professor? Taking into account, your extreme sensitivity as a person, your feelings and your well-intended sentiments which are truly lauded by those female members of society who appreciate your much-valued support for our struggle for equality. You don’t want links. You don’t want lectures. Just, what do you want? Seriously. If you can identify your preferred method of spoonfeeding, that may well suit other men, this would be really helpful.

      @ Madalyn. I know. Sorry!

      1. Much of your descriptions were inaccurate of my needs/wants when just five words, again, concisely state them and perhaps those of others…

        Feedback with a human touch. Oh! Minus the hasty chastisement. Thank you. 😀

  6. Reblogged this on Toad's Great Adventure and commented:

    Yesterday, I had the gall to write a post detailing some of my feelings about feminist and racial issues, which I’m not allowed to talk about because I’m white and male. As it turns out, I was right. I’m not allowed to talk about it.

    Since I don’t want to make this about myself, I’m going to forgo a response to this post, written by my Friend, and just let you read for yourself what she has to say.

    May the pummeling begin…

    1. I consider trans women to be women–period. Are there differences in upbringing and viewpoint that come up because of the differences between internal gender and social gender? Most certainly, but that doesn’t change the fact that trans women are women.

      1. Thank you.

        I love your comment that it is too late for justice, but not for equality.

        Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.

        Isaac Penington, 1667

  7. Hm. I want to comment but I’m kind of fearful of stepping on a mine. Perhaps some humour might be good to start with… 😛

    Okay, serious hat on now… I want to say that I can see your point, Madalyn. I can also see Vance’s point. Even some of the points being made in the comments make sense to me. (But not mine. I never make sense.) I think I’ll need help removing the splinters from my backside though as I think I’ve been sitting on the fence for too long.

    The simple truth is that I could never call myself a Feminist. Not with a straight face. I don’t know what it’s like to have been dragged through all the dreck that womankind has historically (and even now) been dragged through. I can’t know because I’m not a woman. Sure, I can empathise and I can even be an ally, but that’s basically it. It will never be enough. Not by my standards or any right thinking person’s standards.

    So… yeah… I’m a man. Big deal, huh? No, not really. I don’t think about it because I don’t have to. I think about other things that affect me instead, such as my many deformities which tend to frame how people will treat me. (That’s a whole other thing I’d love to get into some time.) But being a man? No, I’ve never had to justify that to anybody, whereas being a woman has always been something to apologise for (for some strange reason).

    So, yes, it’s true. Women really are seen as second class citizens, and I do have a certain amount of privilege by virtue of not being one. However, let me be very clear that I don’t feel the slightest bit of shame about being born into this scenario. I didn’t choose to be born at all. But I’m here now and so it behooves me to decide what I’m going to do about it. And that’s a decision that’s made every day for me. How am I going to treat people today? With dignity? With respect? Yes. If I want those things in return then I need to give those things first.

    So, really, it has to start with being a living, sentient being. No, I’m not bullshitting you here. It really has to start with that because until we can all innately accept each other with all of our big, scary differences such as gender, race or creed… well, then we’re all going to have to go back to humanity preschool and focus on some basic biological facts. We all breathe in and out. We all think and feel. We all live until we die. None of us are that important in the cosmic scheme of things, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t live as though we are. This entails, at the very least, being kind to the person next to us… no matter who they are.

    I really appreciate that you and Vance took the time to have this dialogue. I hope it doesn’t shut down at this point. I think so much could be gained by all parties if it continues. 🙂

    1. That skit is hilarious. I do love British wit.

      As far as I am concerned, you tred on no landmines. You’ve been here long enough to know that I think our similarities are far more important than our differences. Honestly, I’m refreshed by your admission that it doesn’t cross your mind. After all, the point of privilege is not having to think about it whether it come in the form of class/creed/sex/race/ableness/orientation/etc. As long as you’re listening when the subjects come up, then you are a-okay in my book and it seems that you are.

      I, too, hope that our conversation continues. It would do my optimistic side good.

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