About Those Arguments You Fall Back On…

There are some issues that trigger these almost-innate automatic responses from people in an attempt to undermine the issue. And it’s not always a clear political divide that separates the debaters from the original issue. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, at first I blamed it on cognitive dissonance (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change) but I’m starting to acknowledge it’s often due to being uninformed, so I’m going to to tackle these reflexive responses. And then I’m going to take off the Empathy Cape that helps me give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m going to RANT A LOT ABOUT THESE ARGUMENTS at the very end just because I need to vent a little, thanks.

And Now…My Rant

I will give people who use these arguments the benefit of the doubt if they listen to a lot of Fox News (which discusses Black on Black Crime and Voter Fraud in hour-long panels) or if they read a lot of male-dominated media (Example: Reddit is giving the Jeremy Priven story about false allegations – which may not even be false – much higher billing than any other recent allegations of sexual assault) and are therefore simply uninformed.

But…I’m going to put aside the benefit of the doubt for a second because it’s often a CHOICE to be that uninformed. And I can say this confidently because I spent the first part of my adult life CHOOSING to be uninformed. These are great statistics that fit into a narrative of a world view where White Men Deserve All Of The Statistically Imbalanced The Power That They Have. White men commit less crimes! White men simply deserve to be voted into office at MUCH MUCH MUCH higher percentages than they exist in the general population because they’re the best candidates. Women are fragile and untrustworthy! Blacks are violent and aggressive!

These false arguments outlined above with their lack of statistical evidence still uphold all of those ideas that help keep the status quo. White men still hold the vast majority of elected positions even though they are 31% of the general population. You have two choices: 1) either you believe White Men are Better and therefore they get to those positions based on merit (Which – for the record – is racist) or 2) you acknowledge the systems are stacked in their favor. And these false arguments above help support the idea that our system is totally a meritocracy and white men are succeeding at higher rates because they DESERVE it.

If you have used any of those three arguments above and find yourself resisting the statistics that counter balance those arguments, ask yourself: Are you trying to justify an unfair system? And why?

I am not saying we should not be concerned about incidents of black-on-black crime, or voter fraud, or false sexual assault allegations. I’m just saying that these things do not carry the statistical weight that some media give them. And we are using these arguments to continue ignoring issues that REALLY NEED OUR ATTENTION: Systemic Racism in our Criminal Justice System and Voter Suppression and Rape Culture keeping victims silent. Those issues actually remove the voice of our fellow citizens in two very tragic ways and those things – STATISTICALLY – need much more of our attention.

It’s scary to disrupt the status quo, and I say this as white person who benefits a lot from it. Not as much as my male counterparts, but still…the system favors me and some days it’s easier to just assume I deserve it. But the days are gone where I blindly accept my privilege without acknowledging the people whose rights were ripped away in the process. I think when faced with statistics that support the racist structure we’ve built our culture on? We all need to err on the side of “Disrupting The System” any chance we get.