Bigotry is strange to me. From shouts on the streets to keyboard warfare, it seems to me that we’ve mostly as a society made amends with the fact that while not completely unambiguous, exempting bigoted behavior is accepted to be generally ‘bad’, and at best, undesirable.
This doesn’t seem to be the reigning trend on the more extreme corners of the leftward political spectrum however.
You see, there’s this seeming push from the far-left political current to assimilate a kind of Trump-esque behavior — an ill-advised application of unwitting, fully assumed, credulous behavior that focuses on the sociability of a certain interaction online, rather than the societal and cultural impact it generally tends to have.
Take John McCain’s death. It came on the heels of a terminal illness, the likes of which many of us have experienced either in person, or from a distance simply by the fact it has been one of the very few outwardly inherited constants in human culture. Wherever you are from, regardless of background, ethnicity, race, geographical or societal standing, cancer can indiscriminately set you on a straight path to the death bed. That much is understood. Leading off from that was a concerted effort from relatively moderate leftward and right-wing individuals (who for better or for worse, make up the majority of the electorate) to take McCain’s death not as a stomp on him, his family, or the American oligarchy, but more as a celebration on the progress we’ve made in medical research and specifically cancer research over the years, to where organizations like the IARC, and research institutions like Saint Jude’s, can take this as a wake up call to the greater good of mankind, and not as an invitation for unwarranted vitriol.
That’s what the message of social organizing should be at least to me. In that we’re all making compromises for the greater good — we might say to each other things we don’t really fully believe in the process, but that comes with the associated benefit that all of our concerted efforts towards a steady, and an ever-accelerating stride on a straight path to democratization of progressive politics is well under way. I, a relatively Democratic Socialist individual, can put my gripes aside and organize with a communist, an anarchist, even a conservative, if it means putting a dent into whatever upsets us indiscriminately, in something that is as common, and as harmful as cancer is for example.
However, that message takes on a more literal tone once we reach into the deep recesses of the ‘Discourse’ — as in really really deep.
The Discourse, is a term commonly used to refer to contentious subjects, which are more repurposed right-wing garbage for left-wing audiences, marketed as progressivism, and not the pile of gobshite it actually is.
Activism started taking on a more confrontational note. In which there’s not a lacking abundance of compulsion, righteous retribution, and self-righteousness tainting the whole conversation and making it a bigger mess than a swarm of #MAGA supporters debating who amongst interest groups are of lower tenure — no, it’s much worse than that.
In the area of compulsion, it seems quite obvious when you actually partake in any demonstrations of rebellion — which is ironically what most of them proclaim to do — against the more extreme forms of course-correction -or so it appears- culminating in this sort of weird mush of people who are usually white, telling you repeatedly why your conception of bigotry is wrong, and why it is that their reading that should be taken as the default.
I’m no stranger to this. I remember being lectured on the fact that I’m the Actual Bigot ™ while on the podium doing my very best to rebel against acts of bigotry, because it is deemed so by some people that if you confront bigotry in a way that doesn’t appease their societal models for how it interacts, influences, and affects people, you’re only further perpetuating — it is not only a reductionist and very simple answer to quite a more complicated question, but it’s exactly the type of thing I’ve come to expect from further leftward individuals at this point and time.
That is further fueled by an impulsion to a mixture of verbal violence, ‘slick talk’ and concern-trolling, coupled with a dash of gaslighting and erroneous cherry-picking that you expect Jordan Peterson proponents to do — not your average Joe, or Linda strolling around on the web only hanging on by a single thread set up by someone who couldn’t be any more clueless than they were in the first place — they couldn’t possibly be buggered to muster the energy for a more nuanced reading of a complex phenomena, and discuss it with the levity and decorum it requires; leading us full circle into another thing which I’d like to discuss, but is used as a pejorative around progressive circles: Class.
I’m not talking about the rich and the poor. I’m talking about Class; the act in which you elevate a discussion merely by the way either you, or your interlocutor treat the lower-case discourse with a more visceral, more grounded approach. No resort to cussing, pedantic patronization, or overabundance of unsolicited and unnecessarily passive-aggressive comebacks. There’s nothing but the topic, and the topic alone, to be judged by its own merits, and the space of two autonomous intellectual entities who have nothing but their facts, and their readings, to back up their point-of-view, and if so failure occurs, that’s okay, because they both know how to handle it as two cognitively aware civilized human beings.
That’s what’s supposed to happen.
But what does happen, and it’s not exclusive to any of the interactions I had, is that people will effectively self-proclaim themselves as ‘upholders of righteous say’ and will use that justification to dogpile you, since you don’t uphold the same standards of good behavior as they do. You’re wrong, and they’re right. And if you dare to speak a word of it, someone will outright ascribe an undesirable trait to satisfy their conscience — to them, it’s fulfilling a divine prophecy.
What the majority put down, and is up to them in whole social responsibility to establish order, and discipline, one tweet at a time. Except that’s a mental trick designed specifically to belittle your own learned experiences and feelings about bigotry.
Dogpiling is when a group of someone’s or some group’s followers direct a steady influx of unsolicited harassment towards an individual, or another group. Either in unspoken compulsion, or outright assholery.
What people don’t realize is that if I’m in a thread of an ongoing conversation on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, a chat board, or a forum, and someone slots in the middle, most poignantly to stir ruckus, it is not in their best interest to keep the conversation straight-forward. They’ll throw you curbs, red herrings, and outright speak on your behalf, because they know you’re not the type to crash a party whose host you have a personal grudge against, but you’ll tap out altogether. The same mentality of entitlement to people’s time and mental energy subsides in the left-trenders, where a seeming interest in getting people’s negative attention outweighs all the potential good that could possibly be salvaged from an already toxic and charged exchange. It doesn’t matter what merits do the individual points stand on, what matters is that: They generate likes, and reposts, and they bring in the oh so loathed, social capital.
Twitter, and Social Capital
Twitter doesn’t seem particularly interested in reigning in on the violence that takes place on its troubled parts. The whole social media platform is built on the strife for controversy, and that shows in its most viral tweets, and posts.
We all relish in people’s misery. That’s what catharsis comes from, and that’s why comedy and related tropes in media make us feel a certain giddy type of way. We love having our plight, and hardship being made fun of. But in that, there’s almost this lost sense of accountability for whatever gets posted on the platform under the guise of ‘anonymity’.
I for one, wouldn’t be all that terrified if someone posted my local address online. Because I’ve said nothing of hot enough caliber that I’m particularly worried about someone socking my teeth in for saying so and so online, but that comfort, and that reassurance isn’t afforded to everyone. And it begs the question whether Twitter has its own users’ self-interest at heart, or whether it just wants you to stay the longest on the platform, just enough to catch an ad or two, and pay for server space/bandwidth, without making your presence a financial burden. That’s what they stand to gain.
What people don’t seem to be getting is that in their quest to achieve ultimate ‘wokeness’, they give in the very same capitalistic urges Twitter encourages, not knowingly contributing to which that makes it unanimously the worst social media platform on planet Earth.
It’s quite simple if you think about it for more than two seconds. Twitter thrives in controversy, they’ve recently had to ban Alex Jones from the platform after rising pressure from both inside and outside the company. That’s not unheard of. But here’s the catch; Alex Jones brought Twitter much unneeded bad publicity because it seemed like they were the only social media platform who hadn’t made a commitment to limit his ability to spread misinformation. Twitter rebelled against the current, but in that, it enabled racism, xenophobia, and about the worst conspiratorial nonsense on LGBT+ people. What Twitter did, was completely predicated on that a commitment to Alex Jones would pay off in the long run, and wasn’t only a plea to the text that is the Constitution of the United States, but also an appeal to the masses— the wrong ones I might add.
What farther-left individuals on Twitter, are perhaps, unknowingly doing — though I’d not be so quick to give them the benefit of the doubt — is feeding into what makes this very platform a very toxic space. You’d be a fool to say that Twitter is somehow ‘a good website’. People need Twitter because they have to network outside their high school and college friends on Facebook. They want to explore the outer world with richer curiosity, and an everlasting well of new and exciting things to witness through the gift that has been modern consumer electronics. But what it has instead turned into, is a race to how fast you can scroll until you come across something that is not only gullible, but outright vomit-inducing at times. ‘Edginess’ is the pinnacle, of selfishness, and greed. And if people would have you believe that their presence in Twitter is otherwise, while talking big game about ‘societal pressures’, it seems like they’re either barking the wrong tree, or they’re being willfully naive.
Acephobia, and the ‘Societal Homophobia’ Dog Whistle
One of the things society compels us almost directly to do right after puberty is wanking. Now, that very sexual puberty could be sometimes triggered by said wanking — which in and of itself is a manifestation of our innate sexual desires. If you have functioning sexual organisms, you’re likely going to have to endure maturity, at a rate that could either be really slow, or frighteningly fast.
The thing is, while varied from culture to culture, you spend your entire childhood basically grappling with questions on how you came to be, and perhaps even be lucky enough to remember and witness the very birth of a fellow sibling; in what is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights a human being could ever imagine conceiving of. Both literally, and figuratively.
That question, undoubtedly lives with you throughout your adulthood — the prime age for creativity for all too many people involved in the literature we get to consume as individuals, as youngsters, teenagers, young adults, and fully matured adults if life obliges.
It is perhaps not very often whether we stop to think if we do much of anything without our own accord. That manifests ever so distinctly in the case of asexuality, in that it is perhaps the most rebellious movement one could make against society.
Our relationship with sex is very toxic, and the lot of us could stand a lot from acknowledging that when it comes to ace people’s livelihoods. The thing we don’t realize when we open the door for a problematic read of asexual culture, is that the fixation is always on the aspect that’s seemingly most problematic about the current. Surely perhaps, in my case, I’d be compelled to blow up a bomb in the middle of Paris, as a Muslim, because all I’ve been told is that it’s okay to kill infidels — except that I don’t, and I’ve never been taught that way in the first place, in spite of very prominent societal pressures on the part of Muslim parenthood dictating it as such, so why is that?
It’s simple: Ace people made a choice, not that of which concerns the state of their sexual attraction, but everything else surrounding it. Bringing them ridicule from all walks of society. Almost universal disdain.
Straight people, gay people, bi/pan people, and every letter in the “LGBT+” acronym, have subsections of acephobic people. That is perhaps the most debilitating thing about such an observation — the people who you entrust most with having your back would suddenly turn on you and judge your existence to be trivial — inheritors of homophobic legacy. The very same type of bullshit we’re accustomed to by white nationalists when they claim that “everyone is at least a little bit racist”, to make a point about bigotry being an innate trait to be unlearned, not one that should be learned, to be avoided.
The thing is, you can’t argue that asexuality ascribes to a societal view of sexuality, as in, only straight sex is acceptable and gay sex is gross AND and the same time, acknowledge they have enough agency to refuse liberally handing out their dicks and vaginas to whoever bids on it. The distinct difference between the two, is that one is demonstrably true — asexual people, are actually, largely asexual by all conventional standards — and the other, is baseless speculation predicated on the larger model of “internalized bigotry”, which seems to conspicuously only latch onto groups of interest quite unsuspiciously — not.
Here’s the deal folks. Just like ace people made their choice against compulsion, and temptation, I also made my choice to not be racist, to not be xenophobic, to not be sexist, to not be islamophobic, to not be homophobic or transphobic and… to not be acephobic. I want you all to remember that, whenever the conversation of compulsive bigotry is at the forefront.
Bigotry is a learned behavior from the remnants of a once more bigoted society, and our very ability to have evolved from such darker times in which the livelihoods of people would have been threatened by who they chose to kiss, to have invariably improved, is a testament to our ability as a species, to have grown out of old habits in service to social and economic progress. To which we are of utmost contribution, and to us, it is most certainly to our greatest detriment.
I chose to become a better person, just as my abusive dad chose to become a horrible person. There is nothing inherently different about me wanting to do good, that would’ve otherwise been tainted by his ability to do bad, when he, on the other hand, just as bad as he is, could arguably have the ‘slightest hint of decency’ within him. But that’s an illusion, because our perceptions of people, as defined as they are, are deceitful, and are mostly comprised of superficial characterizations of public perception rather than an accurate, and a true-to-life representation of who said people are — being arguably the most abundant fuel for bigotry there could possibly be.
Sex is gross, sex is icky, and our inability to recognize that amidst all the sometimes overtly sexualized literature we consume on a daily basis, in the form of novels, film, our daily conversations, our tendency to think jokes involving genitalia are innately more funny, or even the slightest hint of delinquency on our Twitter feeds, is a living testament outlining our inability to separate what we think sex is, from what sex actually is.
You can relish in the joys of sex as much as you want, but an essential part of it, is understanding that most of the joy, you or anyone else who enjoys sex as much as I do, is the ‘want to do’. Consent is involved, and anything shy of that, even in marital relationships — is straight up rape.
So why is it, that when we project our own preferences on other people, like when straight people do all the damn time to LGBT+ people, it is considered acrimonious, but when any and all straights, allies, or gay people do it to ace people, it’s considered a mere difference of opinion?
How many more years ago, do we have to go back, before we realize we are repeating the exact same patterns in public discourse that have been used against black people, against gay people, against Muslims, against First Nations, and in some cases to this day, still are referred to as ‘a reasonable retorque’?
I’d have to wonder the amount of oblivion one must be under, to completely sweep it under the rug, and not only do that, but actively work to antagonize people who are repulsed by this — a marginalized group at that.
Asexual people deserve as much courtesy as any other, and I will absolutely not make the compromise many are urging me to make, and settle for nothing less than absolute and true equality. I do not negotiate the terms of progress with regressors. My one and only interest in such a case is to see ace people thrive, and prosper, and to see the likes of acephobic scum to perish, and wither away, never to return.
If you think it’s just as courteous for you to mock me on my allyship towards ace people, as they are ‘supposedly’ infringing upon your sexual pleasure; let me spoil it further by saying I hope what comfort comes from it is unfulfilling, because whatever little bit of it you have, is built on the suffering of those to whom it isn’t of great interest.
‘Your sex’, becomes second-tier for me, when your antagonism towards ace people overshadows the pleasure you derive from it, transgressing it well into compulsion territory. Which ironically, is what you’re accusing the very society you so loathe, of doing. I’ll leave it to Talib Kweli to end it, as he put it best:
Footnote: For the sake of convenience, I called all people on the asexual spectrum ‘ace people’, but as I’ve given it away, there’s a whole spectrum you should be aware of. Click here to learn more, and keep on learning!