With respect to your good intentions and large heart, your experience in the world is vastly different than most people you would characterize as SJWs. What seems like overkill to you probably feels like literal life and death to some of them — and in some cases actually is. When was the last time you were terrified of getting shot when pulled over by the police?

I heartily applaud that you didn’t feel it necessary to mention the race of the guy who creamed your car. In that instance it was truly irrelevant. But in the larger sense, being “color blind” or “gender blind” erases the very real experiences of people who have had a different path in the world than you have. It presumes a level playing field when there isn’t one. It is not a kindness or a show of respect. Growing up Black in America does inform every aspect of that person’s life. It’s not the only thing, but it is integral. Same for growing up female. Trying to discount that is non-productive.

I was reading something about medical research today and how up until about 20 years ago most tests and studies were done on men and it was just assumed that women’s bodies worked exactly the same way, with a few minor nods to differing hormones and such. It said, “In almost all areas of research, men are understood to be humans and women are understood as gender or a special case.” Now take that outlook and apply it exponentially to every aspect of life where men, and White men in particular are considered real citizens and real humans (as was enshrined in our constitution) and women and people of color are some type of others. We may be doing better on that front than a hundred years ago, but that’s still a blink of the eye in terms of human society and a lot of that cultural narrative is still in play — as evidenced by medical research amongst other things.

This is not your specific fault as a White male, but neither can you address it or right it by your own worthy actions and outlooks alone. Large societal dynamics need to be addressed in large societal ways. Do I have all the answers about the most fair and appropriate way to do that? Of course not, but engaging in these conversations is a good first start, I think. It is a way for us to do our part in our little corner of the world.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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