Hey Bill Maher – thanks for this: Please Stop Apologizing Now, I agree with you to an extent. The politics of outrage are a bit out of control. Do I think for a moment that every spat about a gaff or off-color comment or passing insensitivity or the latest Godwin’s Law violation is genuine? Nah. Do I want free speech? Of course. Do I want politicians and essentially everyone else in the universe to be candid occasionally even it if is not personally or politically expedient? Sure. A lack of honesty means that there are no real conversations. We need real conversations.
A friend of mine linked a series of comments about the murder of Trayvon Martin. This was my response:
“This isn’t the only site or the only issue where commenters have said absolutely horrific things that point directly to them simply not seeing *certain* other people as fully human. Of course, forums are not all created equal and some of them attract those types of comments much more than others. I have mixed feelings about it – it is absolutely horrible, but if it weren’t for the anonymity of the internet and the emboldening nature of non-personal communication, the fact that these attitudes exist and how pervasive they are wouldn’t see the light of day. It is difficult to pretend that those attitudes don’t exist when they are written so plainly.”
People outwardly show their incredible lack of self-awareness of extreme privilege, their pathological lack of empathy, and the pit of self-serving murderous venom deep down in their hearts all the time. This is a great service to those who require stark examples to help show: YES – it IS still like that. YES – some people do not see a human when they see a black person. YES – some people really do think of women as nothing but a vagina and an incubator. YES – some people really do want to shoot gays in the head in the name of God.
No – we aren’t delusional.
Look – not all slights are created equal. I absolutely get that – but do you?
Do you ever notice that the ones who seem the most “over-sensitive” are the ones who have to deal with real, frightening, disheartening, dangerous, dehumanizing verbal abuse and unjust treatment ALL THE DAMN TIME?
Oh look – someone make a joke about Newt’s wife’s whiteness? La dee frickin’ dah.
Do you think that’s in the same category as a three day rant about the sex life of a college student, asking for a sex tape, and using the same damn arguments that have been used to treat women as property and devalue sexually active or raped women as damaged goods for centuries?
Do you think perhaps the fact that a man can essentially hunt down and shoot a teenager, admit to it, have witnesses to it, have several recorded 911 calls describing it, and that man gets a pass due to lack of evidence, might have something to do with the “sensitivity”? To have an unarmed boy be gunned down and have a significant number of people (including a popular nationally known personality – good old Glenn Beck) blame this young man for being killed because he was wearing a goddamn hoodie; or just blaming him for existing in the first place – do you think that living in a culture that produces that reaction might make for just a little teensy-winsy bit of justifiable anger? Perhaps that might explain getting a little miffed when some popular paragon of dominant cultural norms refers to you as a “nappy headed ho”?
Do you really think that a few isolated ill-chosen words or “oops” moments or unpopular insights; is the same as the media (heck our entire American culture) only presenting the life and the body of a transgender person as the butt of a joke – reducing hir human worth to easy sleazy ridicule? Do you think that perhaps the fact that about 75% of transgender young people have been sexual harassed at school, over half of transgender people have been physically attacked, and 90% report being verbally abused; might make that group a little pissed off? Do you really think that they should just lay down and take it? Do you think, when all those funny funny people feed the ugly malignant forces that are literally KILLING them – they should learn how to take a joke?
Do I want people to stop apologizing? Yes – but not because nobody bothers to call them on their word vomit but because they decide not to say hurtful, stupid, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, racist, crap in the first place; but I do not want them to avoid saying it because of fear of someone demanding an apology while people like you diminish the voices of those horribly thin-skinned over-sensitive masses that have the audacity to point out how hurtful, stupid, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and racist those comments are; but because less people make their bread and butter playing the role of asshole provocateurs and more people actually understand the words coming out of their own damn mouths.
But if they come for you: Be assured, I won’t worry my pretty little head about it.
Get it – that was a reference to the holocaust – I crack myself up! O.o