Saturday, 25 February 2012

Your shock is a privilege - We Can't be Shocked by a Daily Occurrence

*deep breaths* my temper is frayed on this one. I’ve just come across a blog post by a straight person who is most displeased that the GBLT community is not more up in arms and outraged by the group beating of Brandon White in Atlanta. She wanted to see more outpouring of… I don’t even know what. Outrage, grief, anger, shock? She judges us for not reacting more forcefully to the gay bashing and not paying more attention to it.

And I wish it was just another failed ally pulling this privileged shit, but sadly, she’s not alone.

What did you expect? It was a brutal gay bashing? Yeah then and every other day of the week. You don’t get it. blinkered straight folks, this isn’t unusual or freaky or weird or shocking. This is a normal day. This shit happens every day. Every bloody day – and yes as bad and much much worse.

I have yet to publish a bad news list that didn’t contain shocking violence. Mob attacks, stitches, beating, broken bones, concussion, rape, rape with objects, burning people with hot water, setting them on fire and, of course, murder. Beatings, stabbings, shootings, burnings, arson. Over and over again.

And in my list of links for the next round up which I’ll get to once I have the strength for it I have at murders, mob attacks, mass arrests and a 16 year old kid with a broken jaw. And that’s just a brief scan of the links in the folder.

NONE of these cases get vast amounts of attention from the GBLT blogosphere or GBLT news sources. They’re reported on once, maybe twice and then we move on. If developments happen – like suspects caught or a court case develops, it is reported on – that’s about it. Even murders rarely get massive outpourings of shock and horror from us any more. There’s too many of them for more and we’re too inured to violence for a greater response.

What do you expect? Us to run around shocked and appalled? You can’t be shocked and appalled every day. We can’t live our entire lives in a state of hyperventilating panic. Sure, the hyperventilating panic overcomes me more often than I’d like, this is why I take my pills and visit the therapy blokey. But how do you expect us to function if we’re shocked, enraged and grief stricken every single time we’re the victim? It’s ok for you, you only have to dip your little toes in for some outrage now and then, then step back away from the pool when you’ve got other shit to take care of. We can’t, we don’t. I do not have a single gay male friend who hasn’t been beaten or attacked at least once. And once? Is the exception.

And this is just a fraction of the anti-GBLT violence out there.  A tiny fraction. Most isn’t reported because local, national and international news rarely gives a damn. A lot is missed by our community because we’re not everywhere and we don’t have the resources to see all. And even more goes hidden because the victims crawl home to bleed or stagger to hospitals and lie to friends, family, the medical staff and police because too often we can’t trust any of them. This isn’t even a tenth of what happens, not even a hundredth. In fact, the only reason we heard about Brandon White at all was because it was recorded – he himself said he wasn’t going to report it except the video was already out there.

But a blinkered straight person sees one video and is oh-so-shocked and is outraged that we aren’t pouring out in droves of fury over it? Get over your fucking privileged self. You get to be shocked because of your privilege. You get to be outraged because of your privilege. You get to be so upset about the violence because of your privilege.

The only reason this attack made ripples in the straight world is because it was caught on camera and you finally caught a slice of what it’s like to be us every bloody day. Otherwise this attack would have been as obscure and under the radar as every other mob beating of GBLT people that happens around the world over and over and over and over again. But you expect us to start squealing because you’ve finally noticed? You think you are qualified to judge whether our reactions are appropriate or not?

Don’t you dare chide us for not being all shocked and horrified about something that FINALLY burst your precious, safe bubbles when this happens every single day for us. Wake up and learn or get your nose out – your judgement is ignorant, unneeded and most certainly not wanted.