When I went back to school in 2010 to pursue a second bachelors degree in Sociology I had no idea that the degree would change my perspectives so drastically. I have always considered myself to be open-minded and eager to learn new things. I have tried to think critically about everything that comes across my social media feed or email inbox. My thoughts on sex and gender were never fixed in the binary, but taking classes in the field gave me an even wider grasp of these concepts. It opened my mind to further variables of sex and gender. With this new information, I was able to define terminology that I had previously been oblivious to. This is what learning is about.
Unfortunately, there exists a contingent in our society that feels it not only unsavory to learn new things, but actively pushes away concepts that do not fit within their limited worldview. In discussing sex and gender, there are those online (and in real life, although not as vocal as the online voices) who make it their job to troll people who have opened their minds to these new concepts. In attempting to explain that there are variations in gender, these same trolls often refer to open minded people as snowflakes. They bemoan the new era of political correctness and long for a time when they could say anything they wanted without being called out for being insensitive, uninformed, or straight up bigots.
This last bit is interesting to me because political correctness is, in fact, not new. Courtesy and understanding are not concepts that have just popped up in the human vocabulary. They are actions that have been available to all humans for many millions of years. We have always had the capacity to understand each other and the differences that make us great. We have always had the brain power to learn new concepts and internalize new ways of seeing each other. We have the ability to move forward with compassion and not stay stuck in our old ways of seeing the world. It is possible to learn and grow into more whole human beings by seeing the differences in each other. And although the human brain does have the capacity for all this and more, the fallback position of laziness is also always available.
One thing you can be certain of is that trolls treasure laziness higher than civility. They yearn for a time when the world was less politically correct, but their definition of political correctness is skewed toward how they wish to behave. They want to be able to be sexist, racist, homophobic, classicist, etc. without push-back. They want to be able to walk the streets and look down on those they do not see as equal to them, without someone telling them they are wrong for doing so. They want to live in their privilege without being called out. They want to actively hate others for their lack of privilege and never suffer any societal consequences. They want life to be “their way or the highway” and anyone that disagrees with their assessment of life is a mere snowflake.
In the past, I would simply ignore these fuckers and move on, but since November 2016 ignoring them is no longer an option. People that abhor political correctness and intellectualism have taken control of our government. They have commandeered the highest office in the United States. They are dismantling all the policies that do good in our society and replacing them with policies rife with religious rhetoric and blatant bigotry. In order to make our union as perfect as it has the potential to be, we must continue to fight the anti-PC segment of our population. We must engage in discourse concerning EVERY human, not just those that the anti-PC group prefers. We must continue to teach and learn about our differences and hold these wonderful variations of the human condition up for those in power to focus on. We are one human race, but we are each different in our own unique ways. Difference does not disadvantage us.
So, the next time you are presented with a new concept, please keep your mind open to learning. And if you are referred to as a snowflake, wear that title with honour, for it means that you are fighting the good fight for ALL of us, not just those that are the same. No one human is any more or less important than any other human and knowing more about each other can only make us stronger as a people. Those of us that value education and openness must push down the anti-intellectualism of the ’45’ era. We must continue to rally, online and outside, for the good of all. And yes, that even includes those that refuse to learn and grow. For one day, they will be in need of an open-minded friend as well, and the social justice movement will be there for them. That’s what it is all about, after all.
Peace and disruption, always!
Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)
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