You’re too aggressive with your ideas!

This has been said about every minority that has every decided to grow a pair and voice their opposition to the mainstreams intolerance. There really isn’t a minority that hasn’t endured this accusation at one point or another.-Americans, long before even the civil rights movement, were often accused of being ‘uppity’ should they have dared to even suggest that white supremacy was morally questionable.

Suffragettes and the feminists that followed them also suffered this aspersion, the claim being that if only they were more patient, less aggressive and more understanding would they be taken more seriously. After all, few things are more unattractive than a hysterical woman.

The LGBT community too has been accused of being ‘too aggressive’ about their rights. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard conservatives and liberals alike bemoan gay activism for its flamboyancy and over indulgence in both political and social fanfare.

Current and copious examples can always be found in the comment sections of articles related to injustice against gays. Inevitably a story is run where some lesbian or gayboy dares to make a scene after being discriminated against and someone in the audience begins their comment with ‘I’m not homophobic but…’ and goes on to detail how this or that homosexual is being too intense, if only they would just calm down and let people ‘have their beliefs’.

It amuses me that, in the world of the mainstream and privileged, the ‘have nots’ are inevitably depicted as greedy and impatient while the ‘haves’ are coolly portrayed as rational and innocent bystanders to some group’s selfish need for political upheaval. The reality, however, is that the mainstream’s over-sensitivity to minority protestants is more a product of both their guilt and refusal to account for the status quo and how they disproportionately benefit from it.

Now it should go without saying that minority groups can make unreasonable claims and assert themselves in needlessly aggressive and plainly inappropriate ways. Feminists today are one such example of a group that unnecessarily depicts themselves as excessively beleaguered, even to the point of paranoid conspiracy theories and hustled statistics. Black activists have at times had similarly outlandish expectations, such as the notion that every institution or film represent the racial proportions of the nation as a whole.

But the reality is that in any nascent rights movement, or ideological shift, the minority is ineluctably depicted as abusing their air time. Atheists are particularly vulnerable to this. Believers both mild and maniacal popularly portray atheists broadly as impotent neckbeards with nothing better to do than call people stupid while arrogating an intellectual status to themselves.

If we’re honest, however, no one is louder, more aggressive, or more obnoxiously bumptious than the mainstream. Christians view atheists as caterwauling because they’ve never had to fight to have their voice heard in the forum of big ideas. Conservatives find gay marriage proponents annoying because it forces them to justify themselves, something queer people have been doing for centuries.

When you’ve been deprived of a voice, or in the least a readily receptive audience fully aware and likely aligned already with your viewpoint, it becomes important, indeed essential, to come on strong. The standard for minority positions will and always has been higher than for the mainstream, not least because the mainstream makes it that way.


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