“So Basically, Don’t Be A Dick?”

Something that has bothered me increasingly lately is the willingness of people to be unkind to and about others, whether online (directly or indirectly), face-to-face, via contact with others, or in other forms of communication.

When doing my diversity, equality and inclusion training at my new volunteer role, I said to the trainer “So basically just don’t be a d*ck?” While it is oversimplifying things a little, that is the general gist of what these three terms cover. Don’t judge people, don’t treat them differently as a result of those judgements, don’t assume you know everything about someone because you know a small part of their story. Seems simple right?

Apparently, it’s not. I am in a number of social circles as a result of my disabilities, and those of my son. I hear stories of bullying. I also hear of the cruel things that the families of people say about the children. “He’s not autistic, he’s just naughty. It’s your fault. You don’t give him boundaries” Every day I hear of PIP assessors making judgements on someone based on part of the truth. I myself was a victim of this after my first assessment. I walked 300 yards on crutches to the assessment centre from a car park. I was slow and took 4 or 5 little breaks, suffered severe pain throughout the walk, and it took me the rest of the day and most of the next day to recover. But the assessor noted that I had made the walk.

He looked at what he thought he knew, and manipulated the story to fit the narrative he wanted to portray. He ignored vital details. He saw a 25 year old woman, hair and make up attended to, dressed smartly, and refused to glance below the surface.

I also see a lot of hatred towards the LGBTQ community. Before I go further, know I am your ally.

I read an article about how using incorrect pronouns can be prosecuted under the malicious communications act. For those unaware, pronouns are words such as he, she, him, her, they or them – words that refer to gender. The person/arsehole who shared this article put something along the lines of “WTF the world has gone mad!”. I imagine he shares posts by Britain First too. I replied to the post and said “Well actually the people, who are brave enough to be who they are and to embrace a gender different to that which they are born, go through a hell of a lot to get there. Who are we to belittle or bully them in this way? It’s not a decision one makes overnight and they deserve as much respect as anyone else.” Or words to that effect, anyway.

The abuse I got was unreal. I was called a f***ing freak, made to feel like I was an inch high, and I ended up blocking him. To be honest, it was a long time coming. But all I felt I did was try to encourage him to see another side of it. Instead, he treated me in a hostile way. I bet his mother is so proud!

While these are pretty specific examples of bullying or discrimination despite a trait protected by law, generally the world is full of horrible little things. People disagreeing with a post by their favourite celeb, and so they tweet the celebrity telling them to go and kill themselves. People screenshotting conversations and sharing them with the intention of hurting someone. Women tearing strips off other women because they don’t breastfeed. Anti-vaxxers accusing pro-vaxxers of poisoning their kids.

Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one, but there’s no need to rub it in anyone’s face.

Me – original author unknown.

Everyone has a view of the world, it’s what makes us different. It’s mostly healthy. Discussing them is also OK, but remember to be kind and considerate of the view of others, even if you wholeheartedly disagree with every fibre of your being.

But you don’t have to say every damn thing that comes into your mind. I found this a few years ago and I wish more people applied these criteria.

THINK before you speak…!

It is also important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. Allow them to apologise. If you are the one apologising, remember that the other person does not have to immediately accept.

Why have I posted this? A few reasons. 1) Some people appear to need a reminder. 2) It is very close to my heart. 3) As part of my psychotherapy, I learned it is easier to be kind than it is to hurt others, and it is easier to forgive than it is to hold onto pain.

/ End Rant

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