Sunday, 11 August 2013

So you're a minority who said something fucked up?

Our example? Someone last night tweeted:

"Yes. When you HARM people, sometimes the conscience you try to reject turns on you. You get sick. Your health worsens."

I saw it and responded to it immediately pointing out that it was problematic, the response to that was even worse, but first I'm going to explain why it's problematic.

Firstly, there is a huge problem with people believing that disability and illness is caused by things people do, if you're fat, it's your weight even though disability often causes weight in reality, if someone thinks you're an asshole, then they often see it as "karma". That statement reinforces this notion even if the person didn't intend it to do so.

It also reinforces the notion that there are deserving sick people who became sick through no fault of their own, and undeserving sick people who are responsible for their own illness because of what they did even if the person didn't intend it to do so. Neither of those notions need feeding, they're a massive pain in the ass as it is. Plenty of people get sick for no reason whatsoever and some of them are assholes.

The person claimed it was a known psychological phenomenon? That is bullshit of the highest order. Some of the examples given like Ulcers were complete basic bullshit 101. Ulcers? Aren't caused by psychological issues, they're caused by Bacteria. The only thing that being conflicted or stressed can do? Is lower your immune system making you more likely to develop one, IF and only IF you already have the bacteria, no bacteria, no ulcer.

Secondly, it's basically unprovable that physical illness is caused by specific actions, there have been a few dramatic cases where Somatoform disorders were caused by psychological issues, however the reason is usually pretty clear cut, being things like extreme long term abuse or severe psychological stress. You cannot get this from just being an unthinking asshole.
Most illnesses or disabilities have multiple causes. Someone can have the gene for something and may never develop it, someone else might not and might develop it. Illness is a complex entity at best and ONLY a psychologist/psychiatrist would even have a chance at knowing enough about someone to venture a single psychological cause for their illness and they probably wouldn't because they know better.

Thirdly, the whole science of illness caused by psychological stress, is pretty damn shaky at best, and yes problematic in and of itself, often used as an excuse to label and drug patients whose illness or disability is rare or unusual enough that the first three or so attempts to figure it out end up drawing blanks. It is seriously over diagnosed and not at all common with many people 'diagnosed' with it later being discovered to have been misdiagnosed and actually having a physical reason for their illness or disability. It has been studied for thirty years and the experts still can't agree on it. Lay people who know nothing about the condition or about the research certainly should not be using it to draw lines between being an asshole and being sick.

So yes, it's problematic, and really triggery to people who've been subject to it wielded by people who didn't understand it. I spent over a decade misdiagnosed, untreated and dismissed because a doctor read a study in an area he didn't understand and when the first blood tests didn't show any obvious cause, he put me down along with most of his patients as being 'hysterical' (He was sexist and did it primarily to female patients) and diagnosed somatoform disorder. That involved a lot of pain and stress, so yes, I'm going to speak up when anyone feeds the socialised myths that many would be doctors take with them into medical school and then into their surgeries, and that many older doctors have picked up in place of 'hysteria' as a medical diagnosis for "patient is female and no obvious problem can be found".

The response though by an able bodied person and others upon being asked not to feed these ideas?

First they ignored that I was articulating my experience of my oppression in favour of claiming they didn't say anything of the sort/context/I didn't understand. As painful quite frankly as it is to get that from someone who has a lot of privilege, when it comes to someone who knows what it is like to be treated like that? It's extra hurtful and frustrating. I expect the cis, able bodied, white guy to pull that behaviour, but I also expect the person with more than one minority to remember what it's like when privileged people don't listen to them over their oppression.

If another minority pulls you up about something you said that affected them? You should treat them as you would have others treat you when they say something that affects you.

Then they claimed I was being bigoted against them, for what? Asking them not to shit on me? If that counts as bigotry now, the entire SJ movement is screwed.

Then more parties waded in.

I got accused of being selfish and not caring about the other person's oppression. This is funny since what the other side was basically saying was "Shut up, we don't care about your oppression". I do care about that person's oppression, enough that I tamped down the pain, anger and trigger enough to explain that it was problematic and to remain relatively polite in the face of their ignorant behaviour, when what I really wanted to do was to let it all out, and burst into tears on top of that. Those notions cause me serious pain, and to be blunt, was the situation reversed, I have no doubt that the other parties would think nothing of expressing all their pain at whatever shitty thing I said by ripping into me hardcore.

I got the "Boot!straps" lecture, aka "I can deal with it, so should you" from one party who didn't have any physical illness. Seriously, it was just a cascade of every type of shitty behaviour many social justice advocates complain about when privileged people do it to them, only done by people who were supposedly my compatriots.

My point? If you are oppressed and find this shit frustrating when it's done to you, don't do it to others. If you do? You're being a hypocritical asshole and need to go back to SJ 101 until you are no longer one.

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