But that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from learning why that is
We all have pet peeves. Some people get really miffed when others put pineapple on pizza. Others get irritated because their cat left a whole-other-cat all over their clothes because it’s shedding season.
Whatever the case may be, everyone has at least something that ruffles their feathers, jostles their jimmies, or flubs their flow.
My pet peeve?
I can’t stand when people broach a topic, fumble the nuance like an infomercial person, push out a misinformed hot-take, and act like their opinion deserves airtime by merit of existing.
It drives me batshit, and it’s the key reason I’ve been absent from social media for basically two straight months, choosing instead to bury my head in an MMORPG.
No heavy topic exists within a vacuum
But plenty of people like to think otherwise
Let’s use white privilege as an example. I don’t talk about this often, because amplifying key voices is what white allies should actually be doing instead of squawking like obnoxious white saviors.
But let’s just say this is the current topic at hand.
Let’s say someone — who’s a white American — grew up in difficult circumstances, and thinks white privilege isn’t real because they were never personally privileged.
The topic they present is about classism, which intersects with white privilege, but isn’t quite what is being discussed.
The topic at hand is not what hand was dealt to them (the white American), it’s what hand was and is dealt to PoC.
During a conversion with “hypothetical white American”, I’m going to want to bring up some nuanced topics, all of which are rather beefy.
Like the history of zoning laws and how they institutionalized systematic racism into the very fabric of how American society operates…
But that’s only just one point (of many) to bring up, and the hypothetical white American (especially if they center the topic on themselves) in this discussion probably won’t stay tuned for this explanation.
Even with sources, I will most likely be ignored.
Worse than that, I might get push-back on American history, which will evolve into me giving some rando with the media literacy of a turnip a master-class on shit they should’ve been taught in school.
Furthermore, if it’s not me educating someone, it’s PoC educating them, and that’s not really anyone’s job (especially not theirs).
A nuanced understanding requires media literacy and empathy, which people patently lack, especially at the moment.
Media literacy — and being able to engage with big topics in good faith — requires approaching stuff from a bird’s-eye view, and not getting too sentimental about one’s own personal struggles.
The answer:“I’ve always struggled, I’m white, therefore white privilege is fake” is an answer that lacks nuance, understanding of social constructs, context, history, politics, etc.
Takes like this lack the knowledge inherent to engage with the topic in question because they pretend what they hope to form an opinion on…doesn’t exist.
I suspect this is where the privilege comes in; because ‘person’ never needed to think about anyone else’s situation, the hypothetical white American…didn’t.
Ok, Kira, we get it, people on the internet make you Big Mad
It’s so much more than that
I’ve said before that if you can’t make a complex topic simple to understand, you probably don’t know enough about the topic to discuss it.
I still stand by that idea, but I also stand by the idea that nuance for complex topics is imperative to understanding what one is hoping to discuss.
In order to get to the simple one has to explore the complex first, and that takes research, thinking (gasp!), and even self-reflection.
Many internet-goers, not having the desire to do the legwork on their own, don’t put in the effort to level up their Media Literacy before they pop off shit-tier low-info hot-takes.
We see this all the time when people use #AllLivesMatter unironically.
They take what they see at face value, spread it around like the bucket of shit it is, and this has real-world consequences.
The real-world consequences fucking matter, and that’s why it pisses me off.
You have access to the greatest library ever created: The Internet
Having uninformed opinions on topics that impact others isn’t acceptable
If you choose to share your opinion on sensitive/nuanced/impactful topics, make sure it’s an educated one. I am literally begging you. If you can’t do that, make sure your opinion comes from a place of exploration and earnestness to understand.
Especially when face to face with people who hold more subject matter expertise than you do, or have the applicable experiences to understand something you don’t.
Go in with humility, realize you may be wrong, and be open to learning. Better yet, turn to Google first before you ask someone to explain something that has a lot of literature penned about the topic in question.
Furthermore, if you refuse to form opinions about weighted topics based on research, and refuse to employ nuance and flex context, your opinion isn’t valuable.
Lastly, if people tell you your opinion is wrong, that isn’t censorship. If they say you’re ignorant, that isn’t censorship. If they mute or block you, that isn’t censorship.
That’s a call for you to go do some more reading, because it should be abundantly clear at this point that you’re missing something.
Why do I say this?
Because sometimes stuff isn’t simple, but that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from learning why that is, and the time for entertaining people who can’t Google has long since passed.
If you’re reading this and are salty about it, you can choose to take personal accountability and inform yourself.