It’s interesting to me how quickly people respond with “But I don’t do that” whenever a generalization is made. The compulsion to constantly reiterate “Not All ____” is strong in many people. There is a natural need to refute negative opinions, especially if you fall within a group that is being targeted.
Here’s the thing though – no one is targeting you specifically. And if the generalization doesn’t apply to you, then be grateful and move on. You do not need to defend yourself if you’re not guilty of the act, and you especially do not need to go out of your way to make it known.
“White people are racists.”
“Not me! No one I know is. #notallwhitepeople !!”
“Men are rapists.”
“I never raped anyone. #notallmen !!”
Congrat-u-fucking-lations! Consider yourself a decent human being and know that you aren’t the one being talked about. But there are millions of other people who fall into the category of “men” and “rapist”, “white” and “racist” that the generlizations are true. Overwhelmingly so.
If you have a problem with generalizations, there is something you can do about it: attack it. But don’t attack the people MAKING the generalizations — attack the people who CAUSE it. Are you a man and don’t want to be associated with rapists? Then talk about rape culture with other MEN so as to lessen the number of assaults. Are you white and tired of being lumped with racists? Well guess what — you can learn about critical race theory and work toward dismantling white supremacy by teaching other WHITE people about it. Call out racists when they’re being racists. Call out sexual harassment when you see someone (man or woman!) being inappropriate.
If it makes you uncomfortable that you can’t seem to disassociate yourself with these generalizations, then you’re in the right spot. You SHOULD be angry that there are a lot of scumbag men and a lot of racist white people in the world. But what are you going to DO about it?
The answer isn’t, and should never be, to argue against the people who are telling you that they have been hurt – multiple times and in multiple ways – by those particular groups. Because then all you’re doing is shifting the blame to the victim. It shows you’re not really interested solving the problem. Your “woe is me, boohoo, I hate these generalizations” don’t do anyone any good. Hold the OFFENDERS RESPONSIBLE. Don’t sweep it under the rug because it’s easier to say or do nothing. That’s how we got into this mess.