Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The theory and the practice

I'm feeling in an educational mood today. So let’s take a look at some common social justice terms – the reasonable theory and the not-so-reasonable practice.

Asexuality, in theory: not feeling any sexual desire/attraction
Asexuality, in practice: anyone can say they’re asexual, even when sexual desire/attraction is present in them

#BlackLivesMatter, in theory: black lives matter
#BlackLivesMatter, in practice: if you say that any lives other than black ones matter, you’re racist

Cultural appropriation, in theory: claiming that an artifact (clothing, headdress, hairstyle, food, language, slang, etc.) originated in your culture when it actually originated in another culture
Cultural appropriation, in practice: using an artifact from a culture that is not yours under any circumstances. Synonymous with “theft.”

Demisexuality, in theory: only feeling sexual desire/attraction for people you have an emotional connection with
Demisexuality, in practice: a justification for certain straight people to call themselves “queer”

Heteronormativity, in theory: treating heterosexual relationships as the only “normal” ones
Heteronormativity, in practice: any depiction of a cis man and woman in a romantic relationship

Intersectionality, in theory: recognizing the “intersections” of oppression (based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc.) when two or more are present
Intersectionality, in practice: white people can never talk about their problems without acknowledging that POC have it worse

Islamophobia, in theory: unfair criticism of Islam
Islamophobia, in practice: criticism of Islam, even for practices and attitudes that Christianity is dragged for all the time

Opinion, in theory: a person’s belief which is objectively neither true nor false
Opinion, in practice: when people have the WRONG ones, it is the duty of all decent folks to shame the hell out of them

Privilege, in theory: unearned advantages enjoyed by some people and denied to others
Privilege, in practice: if you’re white, your first and only job is to check, then dismantle it. Something that is absolute, not relative

Racism, in theory: the belief that some races are intrinsically inferior
Racism, in practice: white people’s automatic belief system about all other races. Also, something ONLY white people can feel

Rape culture, in theory: a belief that the prevailing culture not only downplays the seriousness and trauma of rape, but actively encourages this crime
Rape culture, in practice: not believing this exists in the Western world is just as bad as not believing in climate change

“Shut up and listen,” in theory: be quiet and listen to what I have to say
“Shut up and listen,” in practice: be quiet and start thinking like I do
Tone policing, in theory: telling “oppressed” people how to express their justified anger
Tone policing, in practice: when an “oppressed” person calls you a name, or says something about wanting to kill or hurt all members of a “privileged” group, and you protest

Toxic masculinity, in theory: stereotypical “male” behaviors and attitudes which cause real harm
Toxic masculinity, in practice: when a man isn’t sufficiently “feminine”

White feminism, in theory: when a white feminist says something that is tone-deaf to the concerns of POC
White feminism, in practice: when a white feminist says something