So I was listening to the Savage Lovecast and aside from Dan’s awesome rant about the US’ grip on guns he also talked to Rachel Percelay from Media Matters and she revelled something I probably always knew but never articulated… the news and governments feed on our ignorance. Ms Percelay didn’t say it quite like that but…
She was talking about how Fox News has presented many, many (she had stats) segments about trans people and in particular about bathroom use laws and how not a single one of the 20+ segments had included a trans person in the discussion.
Seems that Fox News likes to keep the ignorance flowing by not actually talking to the affected people. They keep the stigma alive by presenting a biased view of a group of people and demonising them.
Our news and our governments are doing this all the time with anything they think we’re ignorant about and there are a couple of big things many of us are ignorant about… trans people and muslim people and well anyone who’s different from us.
The gays aren’t a big threat to society any more, we used to be… because we were demonised and we were told from a young age that there was something wrong with us so we hid ourselves from those around us. We were an unknown. Now that we’re out and loud and now that pretty much everyone knows someone who is gay you see less mass-media reports about how nasty we are.
We have moved out of ghettoised conclaves and we’re living in the suburbs and the rural areas. We’re your friends, neighbours, lawyers, doctors etc. Every day people now know us as just regular folk.
But trans people still hide for fear of retribution or fear that they’ll be treated like freaks. Muslims still tend to stick to their own communities because they are often vilified by society as a whole when they step beyond those boundaries. So we the majority don’t know them, we don’t interact with them daily and we’re therefore prone to ignorance and we’re open to propaganda about these groups of people. It’s something we need to make an effort to change.
People are complex creatures and it amazes me how easily we are misled. I am ignorant about muslim and islamic cultures. I am less ignorant about trans culture because I’ve actively looked into it, but I don’t ‘know’ any trans people, nor do I know any muslim people. But I have an open mind and come from a position where I was once one of these groups (and in some parts of the world I still am). I’m not willing to paint everyone of a sub-culture with the same brush.