Progressive Condescension

I have been sitting on this piece for awhile. I struggled with finding the right words to describe my feelings. The events that took place in Orlando have brought me back to this piece, and a discussion we do not have often enough.

A few months ago I  was on the regional rail train seated behind two middle aged white women. I was anxious about the meeting I was heading to, so I was not interested in their conversation, which was loud and inconsiderate of the rest of us on the train btw…

I digress.

Eventually, once I was unable to tune them out, I noticed they were gossiping about their neighbor and her kids. At first I thought to myself, this is pretty rude.

And then I heard the following:

“Well you know the youngest one came out as gay, right?”

“Really? How is the family dealing with it?”

“They seem fine, Lacey really seems to be taking it in stride.”

“Well, she has always been very progressive.”

I have heard conversations like this several times in my life, and for some reason this time it infuriated me…and here is why…

  1. Accepting your child for who they are and whom they love should not be considered progressive.
  2. A parent supporting their child’s right to make their own decisions should not be considered progressive.
  3. Showing support for marginalized groups of people should not be considered progressive.

ALL OF THESE THINGS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED COMMON SENSE AND A BASIC RIGHT

The fact that they are not considered basic rights is completely condescending, and it pisses me the hell off. This condescension is borne from inequitable morals our society is built upon.

If you read this blog regularly, then you know that I am a woman of faith. That faith may be a bit shaky at times, but it is a part of who I am. I get so confused because, having been raised as a Christian, I am aware of what the Bible says, and the #1 rule is to treat others how you want to be treated.

This is a theme that is present, in some form or another, in every major religion on the planet. So, I am always flabbergasted when someone persecutes others in the name of their god. I am floored when someone is given kudos for having an open mind. I look in disbelief when people are congratulated for championing the causes of those in need.

What the hell is wrong with us as a human race?

I ask myself this question often. Mainly because we treat each other so egregiously every day, all over the world. And, when we do this we are blatantly sending a message that the victim’s LIVES DO NOT MATTER.

Over the years those of us who understand basic human rights have made enough of a ruckus to make the rest feel the tiniest bit of responsibility for others, as well as the tiniest bit of shame for the way our world operates. With this awareness, spurned by events like the Civil Rights Movement, terms like Progressivism have become commonplace in our nation’s political vernacular. And, apparently the vernacular of the privileged class when describing members of their “team” who make themselves outliers by respecting the choices and rights of others.

I took the liberty of making a short list of topics/rights/ideas, considered progressive throughout our nation’s history…

 

Ending political corruption

Child labor laws

Business regulation

Improving working conditions/general labor laws

Women’s rights

Marriage rights

Right to education

When we call these things progressive, what we are really saying is that these ideas go against the grain. Believers in these ideals are taking a risk by challenging the status quo. Which means that if you are not progressive, you either don’t care, or you affirm that quotient.

I say this all to say, please do not call me progressive. I find it condescending and offensive. I am a normal person, who thinks normal things, and supports people living their lives how they wish. If your actions are not physically or mentally harming to others, your actions have nothing to do with me. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. I am a member of this village, and I will continue to speak up, out, and on behalf of others.  When their voices are stifled, and when you try to stifle mine….

Julia

Progressivism, a social and political movement borne from the response to the economic and social problems rapid industrialization introduced to America.

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