What exactly is wrong with progressive bloggers? Scratch that. I don’t care what’s wrong. All I care about is getting people to stop being stubborn and to try doing something constructive once in awhile. What do you blog about? Do you focus on sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, or all of the above? (I’m deliberately leaving out bloggers who focus on disablism, since they have haven’t indulged in all the horseshit expressed over the last several weeks.) If you blog about those subjects, have you been engaging in neverending “discussions” about how crappy other progressives are? Have you been posting divisive statements showing your superiority to everyone else?
Events unfold like this: a blogger attacks a group of people who also fall under the progressive umbrella. A blogger in “group A” deems members of “group B” as stupid, hateful, aggressive, and worthless. Since the two groups have many common interests, it’s inevitable that someone from group B will find the post attacking group B. Word of the post spreads among members of group B, and the members go to the post and leave comments protesting the lousy characterization of them.
The next part of the interaction is where we all behave as if we’re in junior high school. Let me be clear: there are important issues and points of contention that need to be discussed between groups. I’ll repeat this because it’s so important: important issues that progressive groups disagree on need to be discussed. Discussion almost never happens. Instead, members of both groups dig in, and they argue their side of the issue. They do not listen to what members of the other group are saying. No progress is made, no understanding results from the argument. People continue to say things about the other group that are simply untrue. Meanwhile, more time has been pissed away fighting each other instead of fighting oppression.
Raising your voice to protest awful treatment of a group of people is a core value of progressives. But in this climate, responding to offensive things said by others is a futile gesture. You will not be heard. You will become even more furious, your blood pressure will take a beating, but you won’t be able to educate others as to why what they’re saying or doing is wrong. What’s the point in trying?
It’s my hope that people who are natural allies will start working on understanding viewpoints that are not their own. We don’t have to agree on every issue to work together. I hope that we learn to treat each other with respect, because that’s the only chance we have for fighting the monstrous conditions in which all of us live and die. What do we really care about? Do we care about fighting for people who are suffering, or is it more important to tear down another group that shares at least some of our goals?