Recently, in two different spheres, I’ve seen the delightful little appropriation of social justice comments best summed up as:
But you keep saying gender and race shouldn’t matter, so you’re a hypocrite for promoting diversity!!!
The two spheres are the Labour Party reshuffle and sci fi/fantasy awards, just to cover the whole spectrum of my interests. And the people making these comments – who, honestly, I do try not to assume are white hetero cis-men – seem to think they’re very clever to point out this gaping hole in progressive/identity-politics arguments.
It’s bunkum, of course.
Yes, in the progressive utopia completely divorced from historical context, gender and race (and orientation and disability etc) wouldn’t necessarily be meaningful. They might not even be relevant. People simply may not care about the shade of your skin and simply not understand the concept of certain behaviours being categorised as “male” or “female”.
The two tiny problems with that are:
1. We don’t live in a progressive utopia
2. Even if we did, it would still have a historical context of racism, patriarchy, and general kyriarchal shittiness.
Now, I am kind of tempted to go on this big rant about that whole pesky historical context thing and how oppressed groups have actually been systematically denied the right to excel in many, many fields because of sexism and racism and so on and so on.
But there’s really no need.
Because the people whinging that “you SAID race and gender don’t matter!!!” only ever seem to bring this up under two circumstances: (a) when a line-up of [X] is entirely white hetero cis-dudes and someone points out that this isn’t representative; (b) when a line-up of [X] contains “too many” non-white non-hetero non-cis non-dudes, and people approve of it being more representative.
You’re arguing that race and gender (in these specific instances) shouldn’t matter … but you’re the ones fixated on race and gender when it threatens your privilege.
You insist that everything be (or IS) a meritocracy … when it supports your privilege. When you’re not the person at risk of being kicked out or ignored or unrewarded for your work because of your gender and/or race.
For some totally inexplicable reason, you don’t think gender and race matter when it means people like you dominate everything, but it does when you, for once in your entire existence, don’t get to be surrounded by faces and stories which reflect your life.
Shorter QoT? Your privilege is showing. And it’s kind of sad how suddenly you give a fuck about sexism and racism when it serves your personal interests and keeps women and people of colour down.