one thing I don’t think people realize is that in arguments about human rights, it’s not about trying to persuade the other party. it’s not about them at all. they’ve already made up their mind.

it’s about persuading the audience.

if I call out my teacher on being homophobic I’m not trying to change his opinion. I’m trying to convince any closeted kids in the room that they’re not the monsters he’s made them out to be.

if I argue with my aunt about how racist she’s being it’s not because I expect to change her mind. it’s because I’m hoping to god my cousin’s kids hear and learn that maybe skin color doesn’t mean what she says it means.

people will try to hush you and say “they’re not going to change their minds, don’t bother” but it’s not about them. it was never about them.

I never realized why I kept fighting, even knowing that most people won’t allow themselves to understand.  That most bigots would rather be stubborn and blind than proved wrong.  Yet, I just kept coming even when I knew they wouldn’t hear me.

Thank you.  I feel suddenly less frustrated.

And that’s why it’s important to remember that you don’t need to convince the other party to feel like you’ve won. Just making sure that other people heard you is winning for all of us.

It works too.  The first time I heard someone defend some one’s sexual orientation was my aunt yelling at my cousins for being little homophobic assholes.  It was really comforting and I started to be more sure of myself and feel like maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with me.  maybe I wasn’t horrible because I liked girls and boys.  I was 11. 

as a white girl growing up surrounded by white people, i first really found out about racism from a black american woman beating her head against a wall in a livejournal community, trying to explain to belligerent racists why affirmative action was necessary and not discriminatory against white people. i followed her to her blog and read about racism. hell, i  found out about feminism through the lens of black women critiquing white feminism which was the best way i could have come into that i think. that seemingly fruitless battle by a stranger changed my life and made me who i am today. i will forever be grateful. 

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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