Discussion Thread: The Reverberating Effects of Bigotry

[Trigger warning; minor spoiler warning re: Precious.]

I saw Precious this weekend, and I'm currently in the midst of reading the novel on which the film is based. One of the most resonant ideas from the story for me is how humans so casually and cruelly make life more difficult for one another, without any thought at all about what burdens their targets already carry. Of all the extremely difficult and triggering scenes in Precious, the one I can't even think about without feeling hot tears begin to burn my eyes is the one in which Precious is walking down the street, minding her own business, and she is shoved to the ground by a group of bullies—for no reason other than because she's a fat, poor, black girl who happened to walk by. She lies in the dirt, face down, imagining she is somewhere else.

Bullying and bigotry cause victims to dissociate from their emotions, or internalize their emotions, or lash out in a continuation of the abuse. It can take monumental effort for humans to learn to successfully process such victimizations in real time and in a healthy way. Most of us, I suspect, never really learn how to do it. Don't let it get to you, the call of the privileged, is really not the same as recognizing that bullying and bigotry are intended to hurt you, acknowledging how fucked up it really is, letting that ugliness touch you, and rejecting the effort nonetheless.

I also suspect that most of us never look too closely at the bullying and bigotry we perpetrate against others, for flipsided reasons of self-protection and shame.

When was the last time someone, in the meat world, discriminated against you, stereotyped you, demeaned you, or otherwise negatively singled you out right to your face on the basis of your sex, gender, sexuality, race, ability, stature, shape, etc.? And how did it make you feel when it happened?

When was the last time you, in the meat world, discriminated against someone, stereotyped someone, demeaned someone, or otherwise negatively singled someone out right to hir face on the basis of hir sex, gender, sexuality, race, ability, stature, shape, etc.? And how did it make you feel when it happened? Did you make amends?

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