Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm not a bigot, give me a cookie.

I get really annoyed at myself when I say something that's anti-(racist, classist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, et al), or I'm normal and friendly when I talk to someone who's different from myself, and something inside me goes "wow I did good there, I'm awesome." No, self, it's not awesome, it's decent. Fan-fucking-tastic, you treated a human like they were human. You don't get special points. It's good to be decent, but I'm appalled how self-conscious and self-congratulatory I sometimes feel about it.

Ah well. I suppose as ways to be an asshole go, it's relatively minor, and hopefully it doesn't show on the outside too much. (Unless I blog about it or something, and now everyone has to look at me funny. I swear, I'm trying really hard to stop doing this.) And being conscious of it is the first step, or something.

Avenue Q understands.


  1. It's a whole lot less assholish than expecting someone else to give you the cookie.

    But, still, yeah. I think part of what makes it problematic is, if you can pat yourself on the back for individual instances, it implies that they're unusual in some way. Which doesn't mean you're actively being a jerk the rest of the time; it could just mean your life is such that you seldom have occasion for it to come up - but there's privilege in that, too.


  2. Actually, I don't think you're being that self-aggrandizing.

    People are xenophobic by nature. Maybe, as cities/workplaces/whatever get more diverse, people of all races will get used to each other and it won't be a big deal; but we're not there yet.

    So it is amazing when you treat a (very different-from-you) human like a human, because you're going against this huge innate drive to stick with your own tribe.

  3. I'm with anon, and actually get much more annoyed by the "have a cookie" crowd.

    It's always been the norm to divide between "us" and "not us" based on fairly trivial differences. Consciously overcoming that can be a big deal, and internalizing the process to the point that you do it unconsciously _is_ awesome. Feeling good about yourself for it isn't merely justified; the good feelings further reinforce the behavior.

    Disparaging the impulse to feel good about yourself for doing good always strikes me as counterproductive and needlessly cynical. :\

  4. I've sent resumes to GLAAD and Lambda, and I worry that on some level I want people to think "look how open-minded he is, he'll even work with homosexuals."