“No one would do that!”

This happens a lot:

  • Someone is regularly subjected to a particular injustice or kind of social violence
  • They would not do that particular thing to a different group they aren’t part of
  • and are under the mistaken impression that *no one* would do that thing to members of that group
  • And then they reference that in their advocacy in ways that hurt that group

For instance:

  • “No one would say it’s ok to say the n-word, why does anyone still think it’s ok to call someone a f*g?”
  • This is bad, because racists call black people the n-word all the time. That word hasn’t gone away, and it’s not ok to ignore the harm it still does. 
  • “No one would ever tell someone with a physical illness that they just need to get over it, think positive, and stop taking medication. Stop doing that to people with mental illness.”
  • This is bad because people, including some doctors, teachers, and others with power do exactly that to people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. (Especially if they’re also fat, people of color, poor, or also have mental illnesses). And it’s not ok to pretend that this doesn’t happen.

Chances are, the thing you’re thinking of also happens to the group you’re thinking of. It’s a lot better to avoid those kinds of comparisons.