For the past several days I have envisioned a masterfully crafted post on microaggression. It would be supremely insightful, and rise to the top of search engine results far and wide. That post isn’t going to happen.
Partially it’s because I’ve burned most of that oil on Facebook. And partially it’s because I don’t care enough.
The 2016 gist, for a white male like me, is that my societal privilege blinds me to the subtle prejudices in my words and actions—prejudices that are so insidious and ingrained that I don’t even know they’re there. Because I have a melanin deficit and a penis, my world view is inherently damaged enough that I am effectively prevented from fully understanding the perspective from which I interact.
I reject this notion utterly.
For one thing, I expect people to deal with me based on how I treat them. If no overt prejudice has been apparent, then the presence of subtle prejudice should be considered less, not more, likely.
For another, there is no bottom to this line of thought. There are no explicit criteria to satisfy. We never know when we’re done. We don’t know what the ideal looks like, because the means, not the end, is the point. So hand-wringing malcontents can beat us about the head and shoulders with our “insensitivities” forever, with no relief.
When we manufacture discord with open-ended rhetorical witch hunts, we minimize genuine progress. We once had real problems in this country with skin color and sex. Mostly, we don’t anymore.
When you take me to the mat over a perceived slight—one for which it takes you any longer than one minute to explain the offense—then the problem just might not be mine.