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LTE: Exploring the extreme irony in demeaning others

 I would like to address an Op/Ed published in the Nov. 23 issue of TNH.

The author seems to think that social justice issues like micro-aggressions and gendered pronouns are “ridiculous,” and just couldn’t wait to find someone’s hurt feelings “silly.” While I agree that many issues today can be a bit somber, there’s no humor to be found in the real oppression that others experience.

Privilege is a touchy topic, and it’s only slightly ironic that those who would call out others for being ‘over-sensitive’ are so incensed by the idea of recognizing their own privileges. It’s only logical to draw the connection between not recognizing systematized oppression, and having the privilege to have never experienced it.

 If we refuse to acknowledge the oppression others experience, we are by default supporting that system.

Once our eyes have been opened, as mine were, we realize how ludicrous it is to claim that something like peoples’ choice in language doesn’t ‘really matter.’ When someone is experiencing oppression and stereotypes in the form of micro-aggressions on a daily basis, it’s easy to see how other issues can seem abstract.We can make huge progress against an issue like climate change through legislation. The problem is: we can’t legislate acceptance and open-mindedness. While everyone celebrated the nation-wide recognition of same-sex marriages, there are still close-minded individuals who would deny people their rights.

The yelling and name calling needs to stop. Protesters need to respect their peers, and the privileged need to stop discounting the oppressed. It’s a tough balance to strike, but nobody is going to accept that these systems of oppression exist by having it screamed at them. Maybe we can work toward having a more constructive social dialog about social justice, rather than just chasing the story for a laugh.

Tyler Hampton, Senior

Environmental Science

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