Stef (firecat) wrote,
Stef
firecat

Recycling my electrons (and why it's not really about intent and taking offense)

I made this post on a mailing list, but it got rejected for being off topic (which was reasonable) so I thought I would recycle it here for the benefit of the choir. :)

Context: Someone announced a dating event. Some people criticizing the event because it was open only to people looking for opposite sex dating partners (plus the original announcer didn't mention this). Then other people called the criticizers PC. One of them complained that many people these days go out and look for things to be offended about, and they don't pay attention to intent, and intent is what really matters.

So I said,

Intent isn't as important as you think it is. And neither is offense. You are confusing "assuming malicious intent and taking offense" -- an individual response to an individual behavior -- with the broader situation of trying to change societal norms that are wrong and harmful.

If something is normal but harmful, then a person don't need to feel malicious in order to cause harm. They just have to go about their business, unaware of the harm they are causing. In order for society to change, people have to be made aware of harm they are causing and bepersuaded to change. That's uncomfortable because no one wants to change unless it was their idea. But if you believe that a fairer society is a good thing, then it is necessary.

Also, a person who calls out a pattern of harm isn't necessarily offended. They might just be trying to do their part to make society fairer.

Just to make it crystal clear: It is no big deal that this particular event excludes queer people. But it is part of a larger pattern where queer people are excluded from other things that matter a lot, such as marriage rights. It's a good thing for people to stand up and say "Hey, look at the pattern," when they see it. Because otherwise a lot of people won't realize it's even there.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/811954.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.
Tags: opinionated rants, polyamory, privilege, queer
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