Human beings are funny things, they really are. Despite the fact that we are all equally human, we seem to love inequality. We have created stratified societies; we have created divisions based on religion, colour of people’s skin, height, weight, language, etc. These differences exist but variations are just that, variations. The meaning we choose to attach to these differences is within our power, how we let it affect our interactions with other human beings is too.
Let’s get one thing straight here. As humans we are capable of both the good and the bad that other humans are capable of:
Courage or cowardice,
Bravery or bullshit
Heroics or hate,
Determination or despair,
Altruism or arrogance,
Insight or ignorance,
And so on and so forth.
No one group of humans has a monopoly on the better traits and no one group is immune to the bad ones. Reality provides the greatest evidence of this.
If you choose to classify yourself based on one of the parts of your whole being because you think it means you will or can only be associated with positive traits, if you wish to tell yourself this lie, then so be it.
But the downside is that if you choose to elevate these parts and give them greater importance than being a human, then you are dehumanising yourself. You are doing it to yourself, not others, not society, not the people who oppose you. That doesn’t mean some people are not trying but it is you who are letting them succeed.
So I won’t be joining the PoC brigade who insist I elevate the colour of my skin or the feminists who insist I elevate my gender above being a human being. Because while I have no choice but to be a human being, with both positive and negative traits and habits, I do have a choice whether I reduce myself to what is simply one part of the whole. Intersectionality be damned.
I will not support those who share the same skin colour and accept their word as gospel when they preach racism, hatred and manufacture history to suit their purposes, justifying it on the past actions of others. Because acting and behaving like the people who wronged ones ancestors is to disregard their experiences and suffering, not understand them or what they went through.
I will not support those who share my gender, who advocate discrimination and unfair treatment simply to sustain their grip on power. Who choose to undermine the greater cause of equal treatment just to corruptly prop themselves up in their petty fiefdoms and accuse those who oppose them of being sexist. I will not support their attempts to avoid criticism nor support the idea that they should not be scrutinised for some of the wrongs they have committed.
I hear much of the lenses of race and gender, and yet, no mention of the lens of humanity, which sees no less injustice or prejudice but demands that you fight these within and outside of yourself.
But it is a hard lens to look through. It exposes one’s hypocrisy; it highlights the contradictions in one’s arguments and ideas. It is unrelenting in demanding that one sees one’s flaws and inhumanity, and so I can see the reason for gazing through other, less judgemental, more flattering lenses.
Yet to view the world through the lens of race is to be racist and to view it through the lens of gender is to be sexist.
It is to replicate the very circumstances that led to the misery of so many millions of humans in the past. It is to ignore the basis of their suffering but use the fact that it existed to cloak one’s prejudices. It is to repeat, deliberately, the injustices of the past in new forms, based on new criteria. It is to reproduce the circumstances that led to gross injustice and inequality and justify inflicting them on a different set of victims, on behalf of those who sought an end to these ideas and practices.
It undermines and denies the very humanity that binds us and thus dehumanises us all.