To ensure we’re all talking about the same word, I looked it up in my dictionary.
Discrimination is defined as follows:
(1) treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.
(2) the power of making fine distinctions.
(3) something that serves to differentiate.
We all know what is meant when we say someone is practicing discrimination. Generally what we’re trying to say is that some douche-nugget is being racist, sexist, or otherwise exclusive. We’re saying that treating people like ASS because of the way they look, or the way they think, or the way they screw, is naughty, bad, and wrong. Agreed?
But based on the definition, we are awfully liberal with our use of that word. Discrimination is more than just judging others based on skin color, sexual preference, religious practice, age, etc. Discrimination means making fine distinctions. Like, for instance, when you voice your opinion about ANYTHING with which you disagree.
You are totally discriminating.
To some degree, I think it’s safe to say we all practice discrimination. We have to. Discrimination is how we decide we like sweet tea versus unsweetened tea versus no tea at all. Discrimination is merely another way of saying, “Developing ones opinion.”
A connoisseur of fine wines is said to have discriminating taste, because s/he is able to pick out the individual flavors. The distinctive attributes. This individual isn’t an asshole for knowing one wine from another. Yet discrimination was definitely at play.
Discrimination gone wrong…
What sets me off on a rant is when discrimination means being cruel to someone because they don’t agree with you on a topic. Or when discrimination means excluding someone because they don’t match up to your picture of the perfect person. Or when discrimination means emotional or physical harm toward someone who you’ve never even met.
Those who expose their breasts while nursing in public believe discrimination is in practice when they are asked to NOT expose their breasts. And those who do not wish to be exposed to the sight of the naked breast believe discrimination is in practice when they are asked to look away, or when they are asked to address the issue of nursing with their children on the nursing mother’s timetable. Both parties feel put upon. And it’s become a huge argument. To the point that there is name-calling, exchange of personal insults, and threats.
I have boobs.
As a mother, and as a mother who nursed both her children, and as a mother who nursed both her children in public, I feel qualified to talk on the subject, regardless which stance I take. My opinion matters — and given that it’s one of my most commented-upon posts, I’d say it matters a lot.
I am still just a rat in a cage…
I feel as though all the arguments spinning around are nothing more than a beautiful cacophony of song — an ode to discrimination in all its glory. Everyone is a victim. Everyone is hurt and angry. Everyone wants to be left alone. Everyone wants attention. Everyone wants everything. Just listen.
I want freedom to move through all the spaces
To love or shun all the scared, angry faces
I seek a corner in which to hide my weary soul
A ravine in which to disappear like a rabbit hole
I miss the chair in which I rocked myself to sleep
I buried a treasure chest in which I used to keep
The gold of a river, a forest, a plateau
I want heights and depths, and you — I want you so
More than lace, or rain on the hottest day
I want you, but I want you my way.
See? Even in chaos beauty can be found.
“I want you my way.” Who doesn’t relate to that?! Accepting my husband — the man I most love — as he is, rather than as how I want him to be, is a challenge. And if it’s this difficult with someone I actually care about, then of course it’s going to be super-duper difficult with someone I not only don’t know, but actually dislike.
You’re not a bitch. You’re not a bitch. You’re not a bitch.
For example, I’m finding it really hard to locate the beauty in a woman who told me I ought to have my husband piss in my mouth for the opinions I spoke on the issue of exposing your breast in public . I’m sure she’s a lovely person. I have to believe that. Because otherwise, why get up in the morning?
Discrimination hurts all of us —
— even as we each continue practicing our own personal brand. Yeah, even me. I choose to avoid hanging out with racist swine. ← See? I just called racists “pigs”. Not very nice of me. And I’m not even sorry about it, either. I’ve always stood for equality — even way back in high school — and now it means even more because my kids are mixed race. I’ve been up and down that hill. Again, I feel qualified to speak on the topic.
Back in middle school, I had a friend named Rachel who sneezed the cutest little snuffles you’ve ever heard. Sounded like a cartoon kitten — her sneezes were just that sweet. Very soft, high pitched, and spelled out: “A-chew-ie!”
One day, as our class quietly walked single-file past the high school classes toward the art room, Rachel sneezed, and the teacher instantly turned with a scowl and shushed her. I got this incredulous look on my face, which read something along the lines of, “You’re shushing someone for sneezing? Are you fucking kidding me?” I spoke up to similar effect, although minus the cursing because I hadn’t perfect my potty mouth yet at that point in my young life. Speaking up — standing up for my friend — won both of us detention. The saddest part of the whole thing? Rachel wasn’t even bothered in the slightest by being shushed for sneezing.
To this day I still can’t figure out how the teacher didn’t get her face clawed off by my mother, who never stood for such nonsense. I wish I could remember. Sadly, the only thing I took away from that incident is this: Sometimes your friend is going to lie down and take the beating, and you really have to ask yourself, “Is this the time to stand up? When the person getting smacked around isn’t even unhappy about it, is it worth detention?” To me, the answer will ALWAYS be yes. Because at some point, it becomes less about a stupid sneeze, and a victim not minding abuse. At some point, it’s about defending what’s right — the point of the matter — because next time it could be ME on the other end of the shushing. Sneeze discrimination is no laughing matter.
I would die for your right to be stupid.
Would you return the favor?
Readers don’t always, or even often, seem to agree with me on particular stances. But that’s okay. Because that’s the beauty of (a) America, (b) public forums, and (c) my blog in particular. I will never block comments or remove dissenting opinions. Because I believe we have the right to speak up — to stand up for for ourselves — when we see discrimination. You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t even have to be nice to me. Isn’t that lovely? I give you permission to be as pissy and argumentative on my blog as you wish. We don’t have to like each other. We don’t have to be friends. We can practice discrimination. And maybe, someday, we can actually talk about it.
AtoZ August 2012 — A Month of Controversy
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.