I am not saying that I have faced discrimination on a daily basis like women, homosexuals and PoC have. Nor am I trying to belittle the (very justified) struggle of those groups. However, to say that they are the only groups that suffer from discrimination, or that they are the only groups against whom discrimination matters, is nothing short of stupidity and blatantly ignores facts. In my lifetime (and within the last month, even), I have been discriminated against for all of the following reasons (and more):
- my faith
- my physical appearance
- my combination of race and gender
- my neurological condition (Aspergers)
- my psychological condition (severe social anxiety)
- my intellect (the stereotype of nerds being bullied exists for a reason...)
Since so many people seem to believe the misconception that white males never go through any problems in life, I'm going to use an example that has happened on several occasions just within the last month:
I have been in numerous conversations with a variety of people on the subject of bullying and discrimination in our society (with a particular focus on school life). In many of these conversations there has come a time where the individuals involved have shared their own experiences of being ostracised. During both primary and high school, due to a mix of my Aspergers, my intellect and my introversion, I was the target of intense bullying and didn't have a single friend as a result of it. This experience, which lasted for several years, left me with severe social anxiety, depression (which included a couple of near suicides) and an inability to trust people, all of which I still battle to this day. Upon sharing this back-story in the conversations about bully, I have been told on several occasions that, despite it not being the reason for my struggles, as I am a white male my experiences of being discriminated against and ostracised were either not real or not valid, and that by simply claiming to have been discriminated against I was insulting and devaluing the struggles of women and homosexuals.
Yes, women, homosexuals and ethnic minorities are (by far) the most widely discriminated against groups in western society, and by all means campaign for equality because it is a brilliant cause. But my plea is this: don't ever act like you are the only people on this earth to have been ostracised, and don't try to tackle discrimination with counter-discrimination (eg saying that something controlled by a group of males is evil, but something controlled by a group of females is fine) because it doesn't help anybody.
And above all: don't EVER say that it is impossible for someone to have struggled if they aren't from one of those groups, because you have no idea what they may have been through. Equality isn't only for women, homosexuals and ethnic minorities. Equality is for everyone who has ever been discriminated against for things that are out of their control and, yes, even for the very small handful of people who haven't