It feels like time to call our current situation the new normal. After all this is probably how our life will be for a while. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, nor how angry everyone is about our current world.
It isn’t that anything has specifically changed. Ok, so we didn’t have a Covid pandemic before and hadn’t been locked in our houses for months. But the racism, homophobia, transphobia and everything else existed before. Maybe though, the pandemic is helping people find a way to shout out about what they believe in. It is sad though that people have had to be persecuted and to die for these causes. It is a tragedy that we live in a world of casual bigotry and that the voices of the few are given so much more space than the many. I know I’ve been quiet on these matters, but now I need to find me a new normal.
Focusing on the issues
Last week I listened to one of @annestaggwrites daily podcasts. I try to listen when I can. This one covered J.K Rowlings recent transphobic utterings and subsequent announcement about having been abused. Anne described and explained ‘peak white feminism’, that women like Rowlings centre themselves around an issue to the exclusion of all others. It struck a nerve because when I had read some of what Rowlings had said I actually ignored the trans bit and focused down on the idea that only people who menstruate are women. After listening to Anne it dawned on me that I had done exactly what she describes. Centred myself as the wronged when I am in such a place of privilege.
I’ve been trying to read and listen to and about more LGBTQ voices. In particular to those that relate to gender and transphobia. I know I still have a long way to go and accept I that being a white middle aged woman who is financially secure and in a healthy relationship means I have many more privileges than most.
I think it is often difficult to see the bigger picture when we feel personally affronted. It’s easy to say “why should black lives matter?” After all, everyone’s life should matter. And that is right. But I’ve known for a very long time that some people’s lives matter more than others. In the early 80’s I was introduced to the Black report. Published in 1980 it highlighted that inequalities in health had widened since the start of the NHS in 1948 rather than narrowed. Those living in poverty often had low level jobs, poor diets and housing conditions. Their life chances were limited and they were more likely to die younger. Families were stuck in a cycle of poor education, poor jobs and poor health. That report was suppressed and subsequent reviews of poverty and inequalities have not been acted upon.
Black Lives Matter
Since 1980 there have been numerous reports about various aspects of inequality. One of the most recent by David Lammy relating to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system. It highlights that people from those communities are more likely to live in poverty, to have done less well at school, less likely to have been to school, and disproportionately more likely to have been to prison.
It is pretty likely that if the Black Report were published today the outcomes would be the same, but more of the individuals would be from a black or ethnic minority background. Issues of inequality are one thing of course, but blatant discrimination goes that one step further. I suspect many of the white men protesting in London this weekend consider themselves to be the oppressed and discriminated against. They fail to see that just being a person of colour disadvantages an individual before you take any other issue into account.
Listening to every voice – The new norma
It would be so nice if everyone’s voice could be heard equally. Sadly that isn’t the case. If you have to preface an apology with the word ‘but’ then you clearly aren’t listening. I am proud of my fellow bloggers such as Quinn Rhodes and know ze is finding it difficult to be one of the few trans voices. I know too that ze needs us CIS people to be more open about our support. As a white, heterosexual sex blogger I’m going to try to do just that. But also to listen, to hear and to learn. Everyone’s voice is worth listening to, but only if you are willing to listen, hear and learn in return.
This must be our new normal.