You know, the “PC” one? Who “has a problem with every little thing”? And “Doesn’t have a sense of humor” and “doesn’t get that it’s just a word,” etc.? Her? Yeah. I hate being her. I mean, I’d rather be straight up hated, really, than perceived as a nuisance and cause for avoidance and eye rolls and resented and thought of as someone who thinks she’s better than everyone else.
I mean, if you’ve been That Person, you know The Look. The one that everyone gets on their face when you start to take issue with something fucked up they’ve said AGAIN, and the way they all look at each other like “Oh. Her. There she goes again, being all ‘political’! Sigh. Is she done yet?”
I don’t know why that look terrifies me so much. It’s a lot worse than a snarl and a combative stance, to me. I can yell back and argue with the best of them, if I want to. But that sense that I am just a giant pain in the ass and it’s best to just ignore her and why can’t I shut up and stop making everyone uncomfortable already … just inevitably makes me feel so small.
That means I’m often bad at saying something when I want to. Fear of that look. Even online — no, especially online, because where The Look happens in real life or not, I won’t know, and so will just assume that it has happened anyway. And then, inevitably, I end up hating myself for it.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like crap for standing up for what’s right, especially not the ignorant douches who think it’s funny to make light of the struggles of marginalized people. It’s tough as hell, and I know full well that the structure of the world is against you. It’s against anyone who dares to challenge the balance of power, anyone who dares to speak up about how and why being downtrodden and the butt of a joke isn’t funny.
And that sucks. But you know what sucks more? Being the sexist/racist/cissexist/heterosexist/ableist/classist asshole making those “jokes” in the first goddamn place. Because those “jokes” are hurting people and perpetuating negativity regardless of whether or not the person making them gets called out. Telling someone they have a festering wound isn’t the problem, the festering wound is the problem.
Yes, people will get defensive. Yes, people will claim that being called sexist or racist or what have you is worse than actually making comments that are sexist or racist or what have you. And the vast majority of the people you call out on their bad behavior aren’t ready to learn from you, and they aren’t ready to admit that you’re right or consider your viewpoint. But when they are ready, your reaction will be an experience that they’ll remember.
But most importantly, you will run across those few people that are affected by what you say, either because you’re calling them out or they watched you call out someone else and were grateful And even if you don’t know that you’ve made a difference to anyone, you probably already have.
Hold your head high, not because you think you’re better than everyone else, but because you’re trying to be a better person than society demands you be.
I’m totally that person. This is totally happening in my Research Class right now. I have a white, privilege denying professor who likes to erase populations. Its a challenge for me to get up and go to class every day.
At this point, I have a fucking tiara and sash that say That Person.