and I just want to ruin all of your fun. All of it.
So here’s a post from Harriet J from about a year and so ago. I just came across it last week and it’s taken a little time for it to sink all the way in on me. I mean, it resonated the second I even saw the title, but how deeply it resonated didn’t click until later.
This is one of those things I’ve been feeling and trying to deal with for quite a long time. It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s much easier to go along with things society finds okay. It sucks being the person that points out rape jokes aren’t funny. It sucks being the person that no one wants to really engage with because they’re afraid you’re going to ruin all their fun by pointing out all the stupid isms they traffic in, probably unknowingly.
One of the things that sucks the most is, often, I don’t even want to dwell on the statements. I would just like to point it out, and just once, I would like to point it out and not have to fight about it. Just be like “hey, I find this problematic” and people be like “cool, I see that” or be like “I didn’t see that, why is it?” and I say “Cause this and this” and they go “okay.” and it’s over. None of this thing where I end up having to give history lessons for five minutes but it takes half an hour because the person I’m talking to doesn’t even want to entertain that I may have something valid to say and finds a thousand defenses to everything before I really even get a chance to speak up. It’d be nice.
I’m just getting to the point where, while I’m no longer surprised at these things, I’m still a little hurt over it whenever it happens. It’s still frustrating, but I’m okay enough now to talk about it. There was this long period of time where I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t have the words (and a lot of the times I still don’t) and was too nervous or scared to deal with the consequences. Now I’m able to disengage. It’s a valuable skill. It’s apparently frustrating to others, but it works. Someone says something racist, I say “hey that’s kinda racist” and they go into super defense. If I have the energy I may talk with them for a while. If not, or if after some talking I get tired, I stop. Abruptly stop. No more capitulating at the end. No “we’ll agree to disagree” stuff. I’m just out. If we’re talking in person and you notice me putting my headphones back in and as rudely as possible finding something new to listen to then opening a book or my Nintendo DS to start focusing on something else at the same time you can be reasonably assured that this conversation is over. All the way over. Because the fighting isn’t worth it. If stupid people are going to be stupid there’s no reason for me to raise my blood pressure while trying to deal with them.
One of the difficult things is figuring out where you set your limits. In situations where you’re forced to interact with people do you become the social outcast and have everyone call you a jerk when you just don’t reply to anyone beyond hello? It’s what I’m leaning towards, since having prolonged conversations with anyone is going to end with them thinking I’m a jerk anyway. There’s the thing where you do idle chit-chat until they say something stupid and then I immediately stop talking. Or they say something stupid and I call them on it and they get all huffy. Everything ends with me not talking to anyone, which is both bothersome and desirable at the same time.
The way society is constructed people who try to point out how things that are deeply ingrained in society aren’t always right or good are met with stiff resistance. This doesn’t just go for people I agree with, this is an almost anyone thing. You look at something that our society is just cool with and go “that’s not cool” people freak out. Either they have their self-identity wrapped up in it, they feel you’re calling them out, they’re defending a friend, a state of mind, or they’re just embarrassed about being dumb and double down on their stupidity.
I had an argument this week with someone that went a little like this (note: truncated version).
Me: I don’t eat at olive garden.
Them: Me either, not once I found out the vp was black.
Them: You know a real Italian wouldn’t hire a black person to run hings?
Me: What? That doesn’t make any sense.
Them: Real Italians only trust themselves.
Me: That’s bad logic. None of the cooks are Italians, none of the cooks at carrabas or macaroni grill, or another chain I don’t remember are either. Neither are a majority of the ownership groups for these restaurants.
Them (angrily): It doesn’t matter it’s bad logic it’s my reason for not eating there.
They doubled down on their ignorance, hard. Even when I tried to explain why that line of thinking isn’t very smart they just got angry at me for questioning them. The tone in which they said their first statement was that tone that people always give when they say something that everyone knows. The idea was that I’m suppose to go “yeah, I won’t eat at an Italian place where a black person has any amount of control of the business either.” When I didn’t, the conversation broke down.
This is just a small example of what happens in my life and why I hate talking to people. I hate being the guy who has to tell a woman that says “Women are dumb and bitchy and I’m cool cause I hang out with dudes and that guy has a vagina which makes him bad even though I have a vagina and I’m not bad, but I don’t do traditional vagina stuff, I do penis stuff so I’m better than every other woman ever.” that she’s being sexist. I hate being the guy that people give dagger eyes too when my answer to “Is J lo more like a christmas ham or a thanksgiving ham? what’s Eva longoria like?” is “I think they’re women and comparing them to food is kind of objectifying and not cool.” (Another thing that actually happened).
So really all I’m saying is don’t get mad when I don’t talk to you all the time, or don’t laugh at your joke, or question a particular line of reasoning. Just think, as frustrated as you are with me, I’m doubly disappointed in you. I want to like you. I do, which is the reason I call you out. If I didn’t I would probably just never talk to you in the first place. It’s just me keeping my mental mind right.