Marginalized people are not revolution objects





So, here’s a thing I’ve seen happen:

  • People get really into social justice theory
  • and then they read a lot from people who all agree with each other
  • and then they assume that everyone in that group agrees
  • and then, when they encounter someone in that group who doesn’t think that thing, they don’t know how to deal with them
  • or they’re rude and condescending

For instance:

  • Someone who reads a lot of disability theory is excited about the idea of acceptance
  • And, in particular, the reasons that mobility equipment is liberating and wonderful
  • And they encounter someone who is enduring considerable pain rather than use a wheelchair
  • And then they talk at them about how they just need to accept themself already, without listening to where they’re actually coming from
  • That is not respectful. It can sometimes be ok to express an opinion or offer advice (emphasis on offer; people can say no to hearing your advice), but it’s not ok to try and run someone else’s life, or to take control of their self image, or related stuff
  • Respecting someone has to start with respecting them as people who think for themselves, not trying to make them do what you think self-respecting people do

keep in mind that:

  • No matter how much you’ve read, you’ve never been the person you’re talking to
  • That goes double if you’re not a member of their group, but it applies even if you are
  • Having read a lot of social justice theory, or even being part of that group and having found that it described your experience, does *not* mean that you know better than someone else how they should be living their life
  • Don’t try to take people over, and don’t talk down to them
  • The last thing marginalized people need is yet another person trying to run over them for their own good. They get that enough already

People are complicated, and you are never the expert on someone else’s life. Reading social justice theory, and even being really insightful about what’s wrong with our culture, does not make you an expert on someone else’s life. Their life is for them to live and make decisions about. Marginalized people are not revolution objects.

bishiesparkleflash said:

This also goes for trans people telling other trans people to “just accept themselves” or that “dysphoria is just a social construct/internalized cissexism/etc.”.

realsocialskills said:

Yes, absolutely, that’s a good example. Trans people get all kinds of hate from all kinds of directions, and it’s horrible. There are so many ideological groups that aggressively treat trans people (or some trans people) as either revolution objects or oppression objects. (Another example of this is people who think that saying “gender is a social construct” will somehow make people stop being trans).

When, really, trans people are *people*. And what that means for you personally or how you feel about your body is no one’s business but your own.

paint-covered-fallen-angel said:

or d/Deaf and hard of hearing people with equipment like hearing aids, cochlear implants, and even stuff like captioned phones. Or what language to use. Or whether or not to speak. Etc, etc. Not everyone agrees.