Thursday, July 25, 2013

048 : The truth about equality.

So, I don't really use Facebook. Meaning, I have about 5 friends. I maintain only these friendships because Facebook is the most effective way for us to communicate; either due to long distance or lack of a text plan or in order to receive invites to parties (yep, some people can do that only through Facebook). But the truth is, I really don't like Facebook and all the time spent there makes me like it less. Take for example what happened these last two days.

An image with a blurb pops up in someone's feed and that person adds their opinion:

ageism02

In this case, it's an image of an old man, with a cane, in restraints, being escorted by a cop...and the person's opinion is, "This just seems outrageous to me...what did he do Officer, shake his cane at you? Tsk."

There is a blurb and a link to this article which really says nothing. This article doesn't really explain (or link to) whatever "Moral Mondays" are and doesn't really talk about the man's actions in the protest. I mean, it appears there are some ongoing rallies happening in Raleigh because the residents don't like the current government, but this article is super fluffy...and the source is not really well known or reputable.

But what happens is the picture of the old man gets passed around, and someone posts their opinion, shaming the officer. Because it's Facebook, the poster's opinion is often taken as some sort of truth and then the commentary follows:

ageism

As far as Facebook commentary goes, this is probably the most tame, and I'm probably the most vehement. (I plan on deleting my comments after I write this post, because I hate having this sort of participation on Facebook.) Basically, I say that many people were arrested and this guy is just one of them...so this is a propaganda piece...and it's doing it's job of creating sympathy for the old man, derailing the actual issue, and not really covering anything important.

Now, I'm stupid, because I always think that when I point out the obvious: this is ageist propaganda (and outline why), that people will go, "Oh yeah, I didn't see it that way. You're right. Let's learn about the actual issue." I think I just assume that people are smarter than they behave on the internet and that they're actually posting things in order to learn instead of posting things for...I don't know why, actually. It's part of why I hate Facebook, because I don't understand the behavior of the participants. But that's not what happens. Instead, someone comes back with "respect your elders" and that's not ageism.

Which leads me to my actual point, because I was raised to "respect my elders," and I only just now realized how stupid that is. Statements like that, the kind that brainwash you into a certain type of behavior, are really awful and not equal. I mean, if what we're fighting for is equality...

Right now, I'm just going to assume that you all do want equality, whether or not you align with a particular movement.

...and if we want that equality, then we don't get to make exceptions. We don't get to say every other protester at that rally should've been arrested (maybe not anyway), but that old man should've been left alone because he's old. But even more than that, we don't get to believe in "respect your elders," because that sets up an inequality. I mean, sure, if you see a person who is clearly less able than you, then give them that front seat on the bus...or open the door...but even that shouldn't be tied to age. Respect is something that everyone deserves. If we say "respect your elders" then are we saying that younger people or our peers deserve less respect? And what is the reasoning behind that, because maybe they didn't fight in a war or have a bunch of kids yet? We're just setting up arbitrary boundaries for acceptance of inequality.

The thing is, equality doesn't work with exceptions...whether they are age based or because of a mythical idea of privelege or any other reason we can come up with. Equality is just equality. Treat everyone the same, give everyone respect.

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