Several weeks ago, I re-shared a photo from my Facebook timeline. I didn’t create the image, I simply passed it on. I passed it on for no other reason than to encourage people to think about their preconceptions. This image, and my sharing of it, were not understood in this way. Instead, people saw it as my contributing to sexism. That could not be further from the truth.
It was aggressively pointed out to me that the image was distasteful and inaccurate. That statistically (among other demeaning acts perpetrated by men) men commit more rapes that women. While this is absolutely true, the image I shared, and its message, were not refuting that. What it was refuting was the assumption that all rapes are committed by men. That if there is rape, it is assumed that it was committed by a man to a woman. These and similar assumptions make me very angry.
Why? Because people seem to think that stereotypes only go one way. That they only move down the totem pole, from the dominant presences to the minorities. But that’s not true, by any stretch of the imagination. Stereotyping is a two-way street. Women call men sexist. Racial minorities call white people racists. I’m a man who is white, and I am not a sexist or a racist.
We as a species need to cut that out immediately. I’ve long believed that the truth is not a generalization, it’s not what is widely accepted, it’s specificity itself.
I am an individual. Treat me as such. Treat others as such. Judge people not by their skin or their gender, but by their actions.