Another blog has prompted some thought in me, and it goes something like this. The post in question was a poem that began with this line:
“The best thing about being a woman is you are a woman not a man”
My immediate reaction was that there was something distinctly “off” with that so I applied my acid test of reversing the statement to see how it looked. What if a man were to say:
“The best thing about being a man is you are a man not a woman”
Not looking great to me so far. So let’s push it further and apply the same sentiment in a different prejudicial context. What do we feel about this statement.
“The best thing about being white is you are white and not black”
Now that is just a corker.
I tried to have a discussion with the author, and the view expressed was that she was merely expressing her pride in being a woman. Hang on…the BEST thing about being a woman is simply that you’re not a man? I’m all for pride and assertion of your identity, but it’s rooted in what that is, not simply a sense of relief over what it is not. In effect, the above statements all say, “my identity is cool because I’m not over there with that bunch of tossers”. That isn’t pride. It is hate.
One of the return comments she made was this.
“I would hate to be a man for hundreds of reasons that are immaterial. Doesn’t make me a man-hater, my best friends a man.”
Does that sound OK? Again, let’s run those same thoughts through the filter of a different context. How do we feel about this sentence:
“I would hate to be black for hundreds of reasons that are immaterial. Doesn’t make me a racist, some of my best friends are black.”
If I were to say I would hate to be a woman, hate to be black, hate to be gay…those are statements of hatred toward those groups. End of.
I’m happy to be white, male, straight, it’s my identity. Not ashamed in any way. If I were black, gay and female that would be cool, they are great too and I would still be proud. That is the attitude of equality, compassion and understanding, the attitude required if prejudice is to be uprooted.