Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Trouble With Diversity

I've been asked, several times by different people, why I haven't written more about Trump. I've been chastised a couple of times form not bringing a disability perspective to the phenomenon of Trumps rise from 'can't win' to 'did win' in the states. My only response has been, thus far, is that there are already a lot of people bringing a disability perspective to the slow and steady rise of hateful rhetoric about those Trump perceives as having a threatening difference. You know, anyone but certain white able bodied males. And besides, I remind them, I am not 'the voice' of all things disability and I have a responsibility, in writing this blog, to write only what I am moved to write.

It should be no surprise to anyone that I am appalled and frightened by the very idea of a Trump presidency. I was one of the ones who was not surprised that he won. I have seen how hate stir into action while love likes to steep. Love got up an hour late and the election, it was done.

But I want to write about my person Trump problem. I have a lot of Facebook 'friends,' most of them I don't actually know. Most of us are connected by our own relationships, personal or professional, with disability. So that means I have a very diverse group of people I'm connected to and whose posts I read in my daily feed. For the most part this is great. I feel up to date and informed about what's going on in Australia and the United Kingdom and, of course, the United States. I hear of things on Facebook before in the media, and more importantly I hear of things that are never covered by the media. The media has no special interest or drive to cover disability issues so this link for me is tremendously helpful.

What this diversity on my feed also does well is bring forward a wide variety of points of view. Most I agree with, some I do not, and that's lead to great discussions and I find, more often that I would like, I find myself recognizing my own prejudices or flaws in my line of reasoning. Good. I grow. So I'm not uncomfortable with divergent opinions.

But.

Now.

Trump.

There are those who post very pro-Trump messages and memes and who are really, solidly, behind the man and his philosophy of the 'forgotten people' of America. He's not talking there about gay people or women or people of colour or people with disabilities - we're the one's whose attention has pulled away from 'regular Americans' (here read white heterosexual able bodied people). To suggest that I'm not a regular Canadian because I am gay or because I have a disability is a slight that would bring me to fight. To suggest that there is a 'regular citizen' is to suggest there are 'irregular citizens' and that's the divide that I find terrifying. Being set aside, culled from the group, upsets me. But ... here I am, off track. But I get off track in thinking and talking about this.

What I was trying to say is that they post things that are pro Trump and I believe, anti me. I don't know how the reconcile those two things. But I don't know what to do either. I don't want to just unfriend people, I don't want to not hear their voices, but I've also found that engaging them isn't particularly helpful. You can't talk to someone who is already ready to scream.

I see their posts, read as much as I can and move on. I don't like the posts so I don't 'like' them. But other than that I'm just going on. I value diversity, but, my good heavens, that can be a difficult way to live. I guess you can sum it up by saying: The trouble with diversity is that it's diverse.

4 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

I just block them. Don't unfriend, but block their posts. Unfortunately, that means I don't see anything from them, because of their political views.

Some of them genuinely think Trump is better than Mrs. Clinton - because she was demonized, and didn't get that under control or couldn't. White people who feel entitled because they are white, and straight people ditto, and men ditto, are almost impossible to talk to, because they've made up their minds that they are BETTER.

That's the big difference. And the women think that if their men are better, then they are somehow better even when they're subservient to those men. And their preachers tell them that same message.

How they cope, being better, when a child comes out as gay or transgender or in any way not up to snuff is an interesting exercise in holding two opposite thoughts in their head at the same time, and often the older belief simply wins, and the CHILD is dumped.

Fortunately, some of those children make it to the coasts and find they are not unwanted for these unreasonable 'reasons' and can make a perfectly fine life for themselves. Unfortunately, the stuck ones seem to be turning to drugs in massive quantities.

It is sad, and unchageable, even with love - because the WRONG people would be loving them.

They're not bad people, in spite of all that, but they are living in an alternate reality, keeping their children stuck in it, and their wives, and pretending so hard it hurts to watch them.

I pray for them (and for some of us to be a LOT warmer and accepting - liberals aren't necessarily good at sharing, and we have the example of the white male computer-literate trolls who can't stand the thought of people who are not white males being allowed to program computers!).

But the problem will slowly go away as the numbers of those the white male entitled ones approve of become smaller and smaller in the overall picture. I hope this is their last hurrah - minorities won't be any more much sooner than we realize.

Belinda Burston said...

So true--we can't edit diversity. Everyone has a right to voice and opinion, and time will show the truth of the man better than any words can. Who knows, perhaps the weight of the presidency might sober and humble him. He will be kept very busy, and he's already into his four years. It isn't eternity. Meanwhile, we and the rest of the world watch, but not without anxiety.

Ron Arnold said...

Most of my pro-Trump friends latched on to him over one or two issues. Those issues were not "anti" anyone, but had more to do with bringing jobs back to the rust belt and not being taxed to death. I'm more worried about Pence than Trump. Trump is a wild card - but Pence, he has a track record as Governor of Indiana - and it ain't real pretty in terms of personal freedom and choice.

ecodrew said...

*sigh* I'm struggling with this too. I have friends and family supporting Trump's repeal of the ACA, who are as open to reason as a toddler with their fingers in their ears saying "La, la, la, can't hear you". They won't listen to how terrifyingly bad this (allowing pre-existing condition exclusions) would be for our family (1 kiddo who is medically fragile) and most Americans. I've tried to rationally respond a few times, but many who still support Trump are immune to reason. I've unfollowed some, blocked a few (racist, ableist, or sexist), and mostly just taken a break from FB.

It seems like Trump has done such a good job demonizing & blaming all society's problems on the "other", that his supporters don't believe there are actually human beings behind the pejorative labels. Oh no, it won't hurt your family or son, it's those crooks in dark alleys in some other country that Drumpf is protecting us from. *SMH* so hard.