I have stayed away from posts that have centered on social justice or civil rights because they can often have such blurred lines. Also, because there are many topics in which I don’t have a full stake in the claim. Take Trans issues, for example. If I write in general educational terms, I feel it’s okay. When you get down to specifics of the movement or what it may be like to be Trans and deal with current situations, I would rather those views come from someone who really knows what it is like.
Even just writing about LGBTQIA+ issues can be a lot. There are so many things going on that it often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and without much hope. In turn, I decided to focus on more positive or neutral postings, not to distract but to show other sides of life..
That all being said, it is important for us to remember that we are STILL at war. Every day is another day in the trenches fighting for our very rights to exist in a world where it seems the rank and file against us is growing. A recent article (link below) about a well known author attacking the LGBTQIA+ community again, was a nudge that I cannot simply turn away from events without voicing on them in some way. Especially when I see us slipping further into a dangerous battle of Us vs. Them
Herds are for animals
When you look at the animal kingdom as a whole, you see that evolution has taught all of us that it is safer to be in groups and groups of like minded individuals creates a stronger familial bond to ensure survival of those individuals and traits. This is an effective action when the group is constantly faced with survival against larger/faster predators or situations. But do we, as people, need that same mentality in the modern age?
The simple truth is that none of us are like anyone else. Each of us is a product of their upbringing, beliefs, influences, and a host of other factors. Even if two people were placed in the same situations and underwent the same circumstances they would turn out different. Our social groups are based on a predicated belief of commonalities that are perceived and not factual. No more factual than familial or forced socio-grouping bonds.
Simply put, if we believe we are like others we fit in and cannot be judged for our differences.
It is easier to try to be like others to reduce the negative stigma we may go through on a day to day basis than it is to use those differences to become a better stronger person.
This leads us to the eternal Us vs Them debate.
You’re not one of us
There is not a scenario where an US vs. THEM will work. Sadly, this mentality has its roots in our evolutionary need to belong to a group. As with most things, it has been poisoned and in truth can lead to an irrational group favoritism mentality. Where one things the argument is meant to bring together or fix issues between groups, it often ends up dividing society in more toxic and ultimately violent ways.
Inherently, we are social creatures at our core. Evolution has shown us that to survive, reproduce, and flourish, we need to work together for a common purpose. Those that work against that flow can cause damage to the whole or reduce chances of survival.
This has led humankind to categorize people into social groups based on ideals, difference, beliefs, and etc. This leads to the bigger “Us vs Them” mentality. These divisions become triggering due to then falling to race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion, and many other factors. This creates a “one group is better than the other” mentality.
Because of this innate and often toxic need to separate, anyone can become a perpetrator and/or victims to social prejudice and ostracism.
This mentality becomes even stronger and much worse when public figures take a side in the argument. We have seen this in recent political and literary circles. A certain president inciting certain segments of the population to act out on a perceived slight or a well-known author spe
What was once buried comes to light
Many have felt that events from 2017 – 2021 have brought about a new form of separation in the world’s population. Created mentalities that were not there or have allowed them to evolve to a higher magnitude. Is this really the case?
The sad truth is that these mentalities have been a part of our civilization the whole time. Past people of influence, laws, and social justice issues may have forced many of those prejudiced mentalities to be buried deep in our psyche, but they were there nonetheless. What changed was that a person was placed into a position of power who also held these views and now had a platform in which to speak on them.
Whether this was a conscious decision or just a delusion of power enabling them to speak out when they should have held their tongue is a topic for another debate. What is true is that their office became a platform for their vitriol and adolescent belief that they had a right to speak out and/or demand who they deemed subordinates to follow their ideologies.
Stronger as a whole
Let’s not forget that there is an old truth here, as well. There is strength in numbers – people working together for a common idea have a greater chance at success than one person battling their way upstream. However, it is important to remember that an action or commonality can only succeed when there is enough innovation and many voices speaking on ways to achieve the goal. That means we must embrace each and everyone’s difference to be able to affect needed and right change.
New ideas are essential for any goal to be achieved. The old adage of “if it ain’t broken, dont fix it” only champions complacency. There are a few really good lessons my father taught me but this one comes to mind. A hammer can be used to drive a screw but it works better when you use a screwdriver. You need the right tool for the job and that means the ability to see that how you have always been doing something may not be the best or smartest way to continue to do it
This is why it is important to understand the difference between ignorance and stupidity.
Ignorance leads to stupidity
A fair many of us, if asked, would probably say that the two are the same if not very similar in nature. True, there are commonalities in the base of what these words means but they are vastly different in their natures.
Ignorance is bred from a lack of knowledge. Each of us is ignorant of a situation we have never encountered. We may be able to look at this new situation and start to deform ideas on how to go about handling it, But, we do not know the situation.
Stupidity, on the other hand, ste3ms from insufficient intelligence/knowledge that leads to a misinterpretation of a fact or event. By itself, stupidity can be harmless, but mindset of a person can make it bad. Let’s look at a real world way of differentiation.
You wake up tomorrow and see a device unlike anything you have seen before. You stare at it in wonder but cannot figure out how to interact with it because it is new to you. Someone else may wake up to that same device, look at it and decide that to interact with it they may need to speak to it, touch it in certain places, or simply not interact because it appears hard to do so.
The first person could have someone explain to them what that device is and how to use it and, in turn, start to use it and understand its function. While the second person may never get to that point because of their predetermined ideas of how they think it should be interacted with. Even if presented with information that shows them how to do it, they fall back to their predetermined ideas of how it works. They, simply, refuse to grow from another point of view.
What’s the point of it all
If you have gotten this far, you may be left wondering what point am I trying to convey to you. The truth is, I am not giving you a hard sell. I am presenting information and giving it to you to make determinations with.
What I am pointing out is that we are still fighting for our rights in this current age. We are still utilizing many of the same vectors of fighting against these issues based on how we have fought in the past. Some of those may still be effective in certain situations, but in others we need to draw on the collective intelligence of our community to find better ways to get the point across. We must learn how the other side thinks and what got them to their beliefs in order to try to combat them. Are they based on stupidity or just a lack of knowledge? Are they following someone else’s viewpoint because they think it right and close to their own or are they a true believer in their viewpoints?
What is your take on this? Let me know in the comments below. Do you think the way we have always approached the hatred and intolerance against our community is the only way to fight back or do we need to change with the times/people? You may be a voice for a new way of thinking, your opinions do count and are important.