by Daisy Luther
I have a confession to make. Kick me out of any possible minority group I might be a part of but didn’t know it, but any word ending in “-ism” annoys the daylights out of me.
Words to express our affront are being made up left and right by the mere addition of “ism” to the ends of what were formerly perfectly neutral words. It seems like pundits can take basically any word and add “ism” to the end of it and that means they’re being slighted. The list of isms could go on and on, but instead of promoting more equality, all they’re doing is promoting more division.
Isn’t that divisionism?
Personally, I’m affronted by the constant barrage of affronts.
When did we, as a nation, become such weenies? How is it that such a collection of whiners has become the vocal majority? Certain people are constantly offended and demand the attention of others so they can express the epic level of their personal offendedness.
I also hate the word “triggered.” Grow the eff up and manage your emotions, please. The rest of us should not have to guard our words so you aren’t “triggered.” If you are “triggered” by words, you should stay home, stay off the internet, and never watch television until you get better. You should not expect the rest of the world to tiptoe around you, particularly the world that doesn’t even know you and your traumatic background.
Let me clarify that I am not referring to people who suffered extreme and genuine trauma and are dealing with PTSD. (The real, diagnosed kind, not the Google-diagnosed version that is “trendy” right now.) But even those who have dealt with extreme events have to make their way into this world – we must learn to live with the brains we have. My family members have suffered deep trauma and with therapy and loving support, function well in society. When people who just don’t want to deal with the world use words like “triggered” and “PTSD” they weaken those words for those who actually do have these issues, just like people who casually toss around words like “bipolar” and “schizophrenic” when talking about someone’s behavior that is adamantly neither.
So vast is the level of Great American Butthurt that no mainstream news outlet is complete without breathlessly exposing a secret “ism” each day. These secret “isms” are called “microaggressions,” defined as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”
Oh my gosh. SHUT UP ALREADY.
I initially wrote this article four years ago and the isms have exceeded my wildest imaginings since that time. I decided it was time to update with some of the new and mindboggling incidents of butthurt.
Note that this list of butthurt and microagressions is not comprehensive. Don’t YOU start in, too.
Here are a few examples of microaggression alerts aka butthurt.
Here are some examples to support my highly unpopular opinion on this matter. Feel free to yell at me or agree with me in the comments. I promise not to tell you I’m offended. I really don’t care if you are black, brown, white, gay, straight…whatever. I’m just not into whining.
Cal State San Bernadino Apologizes and Offers Counseling to Students After Promoting Job Opportunities with the Border Patrol
The poor beleaguered students at a California University were left traumatized when they received an email from the career counseling center that mentioned…oh my gosh this is triggering…job opportunities with the Border Patrol.
As a staunch libertarian and voluntaryist, I would rather scrub toilets in the diarrhea ward at the dysentery hospital than to work for the government in any capacity. But such an offer wouldn’t require counseling. It would result in a cringe as I hit the delete button. I know others that would be happy to get a government job. To each her own.
But a number of the students of CSUSB are not made of such stern stuff. The school had to send out an apology and an offer to help them through this difficult experience of getting an email that said “The US Border Patrol Is Hiring.”
The Career Center sincerely apologizes for the email sent to students on Monday, August 5, 2019, regarding the employment webinars offered by the U.S. Border Patrol. We recognize that some recipients experienced distress due to the contents of the message, and we acknowledge the validity of your concerns. Please know that the Career Center is committed to informing students about employment opportunities while also considering the safety and well-being of all members of the campus community.
If you wish to address this in person, you are welcome to visit the Career Center to speak with our Interim Director. To schedule, please call [redacted]. You may also contact Counseling and Psychological Services if you would like to speak with a professional counselor [redacted] or visit our Undocumented Student Success Center in SU-102B for additional resources or support. (source)
In this little piece, the plight of the poor confused white teacher is brought to the forefront. White teachers are performing an injustice to children of any other race by mispronouncing their names or “valuing whiteness.”
Though I know there are actively racist teachers out there, most White teachers mean well and have no intention of being racist. Yet as people who are inscribed with Whiteness, it is possible for us to act in racist ways no matter our intentions. Uprooting racism from our daily actions takes a lifetime of work.
I’d just like to say that my children, blond and blue-eyed, have their father’s Swiss last name that contains far too many vowels for American tongues, and not once did they ever have it immediately pronounced correctly by a new teacher. We always knew if someone said their first names and then began to stutter, they were calling on my children. Clearly, we too, have been discriminated against and my children’s very education was greatly placed at risk.
Heaven forbid that someone tell a joke or make a comment that a woman looks nice at work. It’s sexist and destroying her chances at success, dontcha know?
While overt sexual harassment can make headlines, this study suggests that daily sexist jokes and comments made by co-workers can also chip away at a woman’s well-being. It’s not all bad news, though. According to the researchers, their findings can be used to spark progress: If employers recognize the detrimental effects of the more subdued, pervasive sexism, women may be motivated to make formal complaints and organization-wide actions can be taken.
This little gem is full of “isms” without calling them “isms”.
Microaggressions can be based upon any group that is marginalized in this society. Religion, disability, and social class may also reflect the manifestation of microaggressions. Some of these examples include the following.
• When bargaining over the price of an item, a store owner says to a customer, “Don’t try to Jew me down.” (Hidden message: Jews are stingy and money-grubbing.)
• A blind man reports that people often raise their voices when speaking to him. He responds by saying, “Please don’t raise your voice; I can hear you perfectly well.” (Hidden message: A person with a disability is defined as lesser in all aspects of physical and mental functioning).
• The outfit worn by a TV reality-show mom is described as “classless and trashy.” (Hidden message: Lower-class people are tasteless and unsophisticated.)
The most detrimental forms of microaggressions are usually delivered by well-intentioned individuals who are unaware that they have engaged in harmful conduct toward a socially devalued group.
Be careful when you do try to be inclusive, because if you don’t do it right, you could be guilty of “tokenism.” Somewhere there exists a fine line between making a person of a race other than white enough of that race without being so much of that race that you must certainly be mocking or stereotyping them.
There is nothing wrong with that, in theory – except that it signals to the industry that it’s acceptable to represent the growing racial diversity in American through what advertising executives like to call “ethnic ambiguity”. Minorities featured in advertising, the sentiment goes, shouldn’t look too black or brown, or sound too unassimilated or uneducated; instead, “acceptable” diversity in advertising remains middle class, unassuming and nearly invisible by being as close to “white” as possible. The problem is that, when racial difference is represented in this way, we aren’t actually acknowledging diversity: we are homogenizing it. These diverse-but-not-too-diverse advertisements create a false promise of racially normalized society.
But when you include someone’s ethnic identity, be careful not to include it too much or in any way that might be seen as insulting, because then…racism.
There are a plethora of myths out there about black people, but the question is, which ones are actually true? For years, the black community has been inundated with oxymoronic myths that just continue as the years go on.
As well, you must also take care not to use ANY of these phrases, because it’s just another way you’re secretly insulting a minority. (Even when you’re referring to someone who is NOT a minority, although I’m not 100% sure how that works.)
Now, many words act as substitutes for the slur that, more than any other, has come to define race relations in America. These words are united by a hurtful message: Black people don’t deserve to be treated with respect or regarded as fully human.
Whether it’s commentators implying that Michael Brown deserved to die because he was a “thug,” or civic leaders peddling racial welfare stereotypes, coded racial language seeps into mainstream conversations far more than most people assume.>
It’s an easy, yet insidious way for the speakers to prompt or stir up an audience’s negative biases against black people.
Individually, these instances might seem insignificant. But taken collectively, the common use of these coded words — words otherwise assumed to be free of any political or historical context — serve to reinforce stereotypes that stem from a sordid history of slavery, segregation and unequal treatment under the law.
White people can’t even MENTION race without getting a smack on the hand for it. Because discussions of race are racism (there’s that ism again) unless the race discuss-er is of the accepted race.
Heaven forbid that you think someone of another ethnicity is cool and try to wear the same things or do your hair the same way. Then, you are guilty of “cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriation is when white media trivializes and adopts aspects of other cultures without proper recognition, representation and respect. At least, that is how we can currently define it in 2015. Because really, that’s the main issue right now.
Journalists, tv hosts, bloggers, artists, lend me your eyes! I give to you a sure-fire guide on how to avoid cultural appropriation. All you have to do is simply ask yourself these questions before you publish or submit your potentially problematic posts/stories/segments.
You can easily be guilty of cultural appropriation without even knowing it. For example, white people getting a tan is considered by some to be an affront. Those people who go to Jamaica and pay to get beads in their hair? Also offensive. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Racist.
If you thought maybe you understood the current political correctness over the umpteen-hundred genders and that you could just use the grammatically incorrect they/them thing to avoid being publicly pilloried at work, Slate is here to tell you that you’re wrong.
In liberal circles, they/them pronouns are largely considered the safer default option when you don’t want to misgender someone. The problem is, putting a stranger in the “they/them” gender category is still putting them in a gender category. This practice requires the assumption that any gender-nonconforming person cannot identify with a binary gender—in my case, woman. It may seem paradoxical, but this is still misgendering.
People who ask to be addressed with they/them pronouns tend to identify as nonbinary, or outside of the gender binary. Agender, bigender, and gender-fluid people all technically fall under the “nonbinary” umbrella. As a result, nonbinary-identified people exist all over the spectrum of gender presentation. Yet the general assumption in progressive circles seems to be that nonbinary people are white, skinny, female, and gender nonconforming. This creates issues for any nonbinary people outside of those categories, as well as for people who meet those criteria but are not, in fact, nonbinary.
To be clear, getting they/them–ed doesn’t upset me because I think there’s something wrong with being nonbinary. There are commonalities between all gender-nonconforming experiences, regardless of identity, and I do feel a certain solidarity with my fellow gender outlaws. Still, being a woman is integral to my identity, and it hurts when people in my own community assume I am not one because of the way I style and dress myself. I have done a lot of work to become comfortable with my own womanhood. (source)
Just face it. Even when you try, you probably cannot win the pronoun game.
And by the way, I have a couple of transgender friends who made a decision to transition as adults. I refer to them by the name they request and I have no problem with adults who don’t necessarily conform to the majority of Americans. I don’t think it’s nice to attack and insult people because they’re different – just treat people like people.
But if you’re different, you’ve gotta stop attacking the well-meaning people who don’t understand. Especially if they’re trying but perhaps getting it wrong. You have to stop trying to turn a misunderstanding into a criminal offense.
Our melting pot is boiling over
It seems to me that the most marginalized, discriminated-against person in America right now is the white male. Because of his so-called “white male privilege,” he’s passed over for promotions so that the more politically correct candidate can receive it. Because of his “white male privilege,” he has to be even more careful about what he says and how he behaves. Everything about him is vilified.
Why does it have to be like this? Why does there always have to be an enemy? This is the problem with too many “isms” and too much butthurt. The pendulum always has to swing and whack someone else in the head. This just creates a larger divide and stokes the fire under our melting pot of a country until it boils over and makes a mess on the stove.
As parents, we teach our children not to be sore losers and throw the checkerboard at their opponent’s head when they lose. Unfortunately, that lesson is getting erased through our media and public school system.
In life, the odds are rarely all lined up in our favor. Overcoming them is a measure of success. Throwing a hissy fit about those odds is, however, now held up and applauded. If it was a kid, you’d just take the game away until the child could behave.
When I worked in the male-dominated automotive industry, I certainly never wanted a handicap just because I had ovaries. That’s not how you gain respect from your peers. It wasn’t easy to get to the top of my field, but when I did, it wasn’t because I performed poorly but got the job anyway. It was because I deserved it. If you’re busy whining about “microaggressions”, where is your self-respect? Getting ahead despite the odds is far sweeter than a handout to shut you up because you’re a baby.
I know that some folks will read this and say that I don’t understand their struggles. That’s true. I have never been black or Latino or gay or blind. But we ALL have struggles.
And don’t use this little rant to justify being an a$$hole. You don’t need to be nasty to people who are struggling. This train goes both ways.
When will people stop searching for things to be outraged about?
I’m personally outraged by the misplaced outrage. Why not take responsibility and make it impossible for anyone to pass you over because your performance is so incredible? Instead of using butthurt as fuel for your social media whining, why not use it as fuel to excel? Why not use it to propel you to make the world a better place?
Do you want to even things up in America?
- Go help someone.
- Teach an illiterate person to read.
- Feed a hungry child.
- Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn.
- Treat people kindly regardless of their differences.
- Treat people gently when they don’t understand but they’re trying.
Stop focusing all of your energy on crying the blues and expressing your butthurt. Focus that energy on making the world better. Be a shining example of your minority or trod-upon group instead of a wailing beacon of warning.
At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to silence people (because I seriously am – I just can’t take it anymore) …