This is our truth, tell us yours
When marginalised groups attempt to express their anger or a critique of the dominant culture you can be sure that within seconds someone will say, not all cis/white/western people are like that. It is quite rightly derided by those who it is aimed at. I am a cis white woman, but I do not feel the need to get defensive at things such as #fuckcispeople or #solidarityisforwhitewomen. They are moments for me to learn, to try to endure that my privilege does not silence others, and me being me, to make intersections and linkages in my head.
Incidentally since women as a whole are not marginalised, and in some ways are very privileged, I don’t think the same can be said of the all men are X statement. This weekend I have seen all men are potential rapists, all men think women can be bought because of page 3, the only reply is not all men to such fuckittery, but I digress.
The tags and memes some people find offensive, are it seems to me, punching up not down. They are born of a world that doesnt want to listen to the experiences of women of colour or trans people, and thus anger at the status quo and those with power (in the tags mentioned white feminism and cis people) is not only understandable but should not be policed by the “Not me” objection.
This punching up, or down. seems vital when someone objects to a generalisation and is brought into sharp focus by the debates (if such a rational word can be given to what is normally name calling) between atheists and people of faith. Recently I got accused of having poor reading comprehension when an atheist trying, and failing to be clever tweeted that “Christians” should read the bits of the new testament concerned with poverty and humility. Apparently by suggesting many of us did I was the same as someone saying but what about the menz.
The fact there are huge parts of Christianity fighting for those in need, that things such as water aid and the Jubilee Dept Campaign would not exist if people did not read those apparently unread parts of the New Testament is not the main course of my annoyance though. The insistence of some of atheism that one form of Christianity, AMerican, right wing and concerned with sex far more than seems good for them, is the only form of Christianity, means it is the go to sector for comments and soundbites. Something similar seems to happen in Islam. Despite the many muslims I know who are happy to talk about the nuances of their faith when the TV wants a muslim voice they instantly go to the most extreme. This creates a dangerous racist belief that all Muslims believe the same.
SOme atheists seem to think they are punching up when they attack the various world faiths, with little to no evidence this is the case. They are not a margenlised group, and if you belong to a part of faith that wants to engage, learn and debate your voice is raely likely to be heard.
I actually get quite confused, if they were concerned with creating a more tolerant, compassionate world then allying with those Christians like me, and I am not alone, would supposedly make perfect sense. We may not be listened to by the media that likes its religions extreme, but we are working actively to change things. Sadly a better world does not seem to be int he minds of the people who simply want to mock others for believing what they do not.
For some atheism seems to have become a faith of its own, with its similar battles between moderates and fundementatlists, those whose beliefs are personal and private and those whose beliefs are shouted from the rooftops, with the unbeliever to be stoned by the dawkbros for heresy. In this climate the good people who believe differently can do seems to not matter, just as a few hundred years ago the good those who did not share a faith could do was dismissed.
So next time you see someone say, not all Christians, or not all Muslims, are x,y,z, before you leap to assume they can’t hear the criticism, perhaps consider why it is important that there are distinctions, that those of us fighting to make our faiths better are silenced by the mainstream enough. It matters that when someone says all Muslims are terrorists, or all Christians hate gays that we be allowed to say no, they dont, to stop the fact our fight from being erased.