Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Antiseptic stings

No I've not endured an injury or anything, just giving people an effective analogy.

Cause plenty of people are all for equality or for helping out the disadvantaged and discrminated against until it reaches a point or an area that they find personally uncomfortable.

But antiseptic stings when put on a cut.

A scab itches.

A healing wound aches.

When your body fights a disease you feel sick.

The pain the aches the discomfort etc is an inevitable part of the healing. It's how you know it's working! If your cut has gone numb you know there's a terrible problem but if it stings from the antiseptic then you know it's going to heal.

So then when people find some aspect of human rights makes them uncomfortable from same-sex marriage to transgenders in public toilets that discomfort is the awareness of something wrong, but it is not the equal-rights that is the something wrong but the previous acceptance of the injustice now being challenged that is the cause of the discomfort.

And that discomfort passes with time, like the sting of antiseptic, like the sore foot as it heals.

Do we ever think about how uncomfortable many white folk were when things were desegregated? Do we consider that just as gays and transgender people are falsely portrayed as predatory pedophiles so were innocent black people portrayed as cannibals and rapists and instinctive animals less than human. The discomfort those people felt when having to share their spaces with black people was real! But it was a shameful unjustice, based on lies. Still it was how people felt. And because of this no amount of how people feel now is an excuse to keep an inequality!

And men having to share their worklaces with women felt real discomfort, and when they had to share their education institutions it was real then too. And when Christians had to coexist with Jews and stop persecuting them again there was discomfort.

ALL equality results in discomfort because the undoing of injustice is discomforting, often even disstressing and painful. That should never be ignored or forgotten as it is far too easy in hindsight to dissmiss the concerns of people in the past as pointless while to consider valid the discomfort of people now.

So if you ever find yourself feeling uncomfortable about a rights issue do not use your feelings or comfort as judgement, it will betray you and lead you to injustice because justice and equality stings like iodine on an open cut!

Instead judge it solely by the philosophical principles of human rights. That is it's only valid measure!

If you want it to heal you have to expect it to sting a bit!


Oliver A. FP said...

Well said! Oh so well said.

It's the group with the most power and privilege that has the luxury of making a big ol' deal about how "uncomfortable" they are.

Everyone else is busy trying to keep their job, pay their bills, use the toilet...

Battybattybats said...

Thanks Oliver!!!

The toilet issue is a worry for me, I'm not sure how to handle it personally especially with the gaps in antidiscrimination legislation in my state.

I'm androgynous enough when in guy gear that mens public toilets are stressful too though.

And while disabled with CFS I'd rather not use the unisex disabled access toilets for fear of inconveniencing someone much more physically disadvantaged.

So how to practically handle the situation?
No clear answers at all.

Zoe Brain said...

BBB- thanks for making me feel uncomfortable about my attitude towards Transgendered as opposed to Transsexual people.

I'm still working on it, but you've given me logical reasons to go with the small voice in the back that was saying "Hang on... this isn't right...".

I still have a long way to go, as you know, so please keep on afflicting me with the discomfort I should be feeling.

Hugs, Zoe

Battybattybats said...

No worries Zoe!
We all run into some now and then because no matter how oppressed we are we all have some generalistaion we've made or ignorance or naiivite about something that results in some reflexive feeling we need to challenge.