So I guess there’s another blog war going on. Oh boy. But a few bits of it have annoyed me, and despite myself, I’m going to add in my words. (And to be fair, I've only read a few entries on this issue, and I’m not going to pretend to be some sort of expert or anything. Please hear me out before replying.)
So, to get to the bone of it, there’s a discussion over LGTBQA+ rights. I should say something along the lines of “I’m a neutral party” but I’m just going to come out and say it. I am in support of Princess Grr’s Gender Squad. I do not like discrimination of any kind, and I think it’s an excellent idea to support those in the minority. BUT that does not mean I approve of the way some people have been doing so. (I’m not going to name names, and I’m not even sure if the people I have in mind are associated with Princess Grr.)
Anyway. These people (I’m just gonna refer to them as Group A) fight fire with fire. They see hatred and fight back with equally angry stances. Now to step back. This is not saying Group A doesn’t have a right to be angry. This is not saying that they are completely overreacting. But the people they are angry against (for scientific purposes, let’s label them Group B) are human too, and deserve to be treated with basic respect. Again stepping back; this does not mean Group B is not in the wrong or that the issue should be ignored. What I think is that this method of “discussion” is ineffective and should be gone about in a different way.
The way I see it is this; when Group A harshly puts down Group B for their actions, they are victimizing them. Group A probably doesn’t see it this way, and their reasoning is probably legitimate. But Group B won’t believe that legitimacy, no matter the facts. They will feel victimized, and as such be less likely to listen to any further reasoning from Group A. This doesn’t solve the conflict; if anything, it makes things worse. Another analogy: Group B is acting like a bully. Group A’s response is to bully them right back. I don’t know what your elementary school education was like, but I was taught that this isn’t the way to solve conflicts.
Based off what Princess Grr wrote about, I thought the idea was to educate Group B about the issues of LGTBQA+ rights. You don’t do this by villain-izing them right off the bat. You open a reasonable discussion. You calmly explain to them why their comments were hurtful or disrespectful. I know I can’t say this for everybody, but I would like to think that most people aren’t actively trying to be down on LGTBQA+. Perhaps they are ignorant of how their words and actions hurt others, and given a calm discussion, they will realize the errors of their ways.
Yes, that’s an insanely optimistic way to put it, but why shouldn’t that be the first step. This is a kids forum after all, and it wouldn’t surprise if people posting here don’t realize what their words are doing to people. They’re likely to have a point of view based on their upbringing, and by outright telling them they are wrong and evil, they’re going to get defensive. But if the first step... even if it’s just the first step... is to honestly tell them how you and others in Group A feel, then perhaps you will sow the seeds that will lead them to move past their outdated upbringing and become more progressive and opened to others who are different than they are.
Is this the only step? Eventually, is verbal harassment the best solution for some people who won't change? Here’s a quick story: one year in college, I got forced into a room with a guy and we ended up having several conflicting lifestyle preferences, such as when to turn the lights off and what temperature to keep the room. We butted heads quite often, and I eventually went to my RA, who had us sit down and try to reach a settlement. I was willing to make some sacrifices to match his, but he was utterly unwilling to admit that his ways were perfect and wouldn't budge until I did everything according to his methods. Our sit-down went nowhere, and the eventual outcome was me paying to change rooms.
The moral of that story? Some people are too stubborn or prideful to change their ways or beliefs. No matter how much reasonable discussion is had, they won't yield to a new way of thinking. In this case, more extreme measures might be appropriate. I was really into the idea of hitting him hard on the head, for example. (My RA advised me not to do that.) In this case, said member might be asked to leave the community, if they are truly incapable of being open to others. BUT such drastic measures are not the first step, and they should probably be avoided anyway. The first step is to try and calmly talk it out. That’s what my RA did, and that’s what they taught me about bullies in elementary school. Want another metaphor? Say that the problem is like a wound. Clawing and scratching at it won’t make it better, and could actually make it worse. Applying medicine will help it heal.
So let’s apply some medicine to this situation. Let’s educate Group B about the LGTBQA+ community. Let’s teach them to be friendlier and more open. Let us not be like Malcolm X during the Civil Rights era, where we fight fire with fire. Let us be more like Martin Luther King Jr.
We are all people. Nobody’s perfect. Some of us are wrong. Some of us can be very wrong. So help us correct the errors of our ways instead of shouting slander at us. The shouting might be legitimized and make you feel better, but ultimately, it’s not going to solve the problem.
From what I read, Princess Grr’s Gender Squad is about using the metaphorical medicine to solve the problem, and I fully support that. I hope that others in this argument can back down and start taking an approach like this. Frankly I am disappointed that so many have taken the yelling approach instead. Come on, we can be better than this!
I’m not saying this is the perfect solution. I don’t know what the perfect solution is at all. I just think that calm discussions are a better method than angry villain-ization, and I hope further discussions move away from the latter.
Anyway, if you do see some error in my reasoning, please politely let me know. I’m willing to admit when I make a mistake, even if I don’t like doing so. It’s strange to write this, because I am clearly a pessimist, but I think you should look for the good in people first before you judge them harshly. My motto is to respect everybody equally, until they have proven that they do not deserve my respect. Even if Group B is being disrespectful, try to help them change for the better before putting them under some sort of evil label.
Those are my thoughts for tonight. Thank you for reading, and peace out.