Friday, May 18, 2012

Comparative Definitions

Default: Straight White Christian Man

Other: Gay White Christian Man, Gay White Christian Woman, Gay Black Christian Woman, Gay Black Atheist Woman, Straight Black Christian Man, Straight Black Muslim Woman, Gay Asian Buddhist Woman, Straight Hispanic Christian Woman, Bisexual Hispanic Jewish Woman, Straight Asian Atheist Man, Bisexual Hispanic Pagan Man, Asexual White Buddhist Man, etc...

Society likes to compartmentalize people, attach labels and put them in boxes. This isn't news. And it isn't even necessarily a bad thing, so long as how we remember to move beyond the label when we relate to each other. The real problem is the prism through which those labels are viewed. Our society is so steeped in heternormativity, caucasian majority, and Christian patriarchy, which are not in and of themselves bad, that the people who fall into those categories tend to view those who don't less as gay, black, Jewish, women etc. and more as Not!Straight, Not!White, Not!Christian, Not!Male and so on. And that's the problem. It was the problem when people resisted giving women the right to vote, the Civil Rights movement, it's the problem with the current opposition to same-sex marriage, because we treat that which is Other as a satellite to the planet of our own experience--and it's hard to care about the solar storms sandblasting the surface of the moon when Earth is dealing with tsunamis.

Not to say the moon isn't important. It affects life on Earth and we do need to be mindful of it as it revolves around us, its experiences informing our lives.

But human beings aren't the fucking moon.

Women don't exist to inform the experiences of men, those who are LGBT aren't the foils to straight people, and Black/Hispanic/Asian/Multi-Racial people are that race simply because they are, not that race because they aren't White.

Humans are countries that exist independently of each other, each with its own culture and experience, but anchored to the others by a basic sameness, and working together, if we are smart, because not only is it mutually beneficial, but because we are stuck with each other and we may as well make the most of it.

It's hard to shift the paradigm when the people who benefit the most from it are so resistant--who wants to give up a whole planet just for a piece, just because everybody vaulted down from the Sea of Tranquility and started demanding their fair share? But it's happening, and those who've gotten cozy in the heteronormative patriarchy have only one choice to make: Friendly Merger or Hostile Takeover. Want a third option?

I hear the moon's available.

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