I’m writing this as we’re still getting news of the attack in Westminster, and it is heartening seeing people attempt to only share confirmed facts, and the camaraderie that is springing up in the wake.
There is also a lot of shite swirling round, and a lot of that comes from fear.
Fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, fear of the status quo being upset.
It only took 10 minutes after the news initially broke for some numpty blaming “dirty muslims” to cross my twitter feed. 10 minutes.
Because in the end, that’s all bigotry is: fear that your privileged life is about to disrupted in some way, and you’ll have to think about someone else for a change.
White people are racist because the world has been set up to favour them, and having to admit that their success and comforts are built on the oppression and subjugation of others makes them uncomfortable.
Straight people are homophobic because gay people scare them. That and they seem to have this opinion that because someone is gay they fancy everyone they come in contact with.
Cis folk are scared of trans folk because we upset the gender binary theory and make them address things about themselves they don’t want to.
And yes, it’s not all of these people who do these things, but it’s enough. And even if they’re not actively participating in the oppression, the fear of confronting people on their bullshit makes them complicit.
Fear is absolutely necessary: it saves us from dangerous situations, can stop us making silly decisions, and some people enjoy being frightened, be it by films, games or literature. But fear also causes many of the problems in the world.
I wouldn’t blame any individual for this though, because these fears and biases are taught, be it directly or through omission. I had to fight with a lot of internalised homophobia and transphobia I had learned from my da when I was coming out. No one is perfect, but we need to do better.
We can’t let the fear rule us.