Recently, The Amazing Atheist uploaded a compilation of himself and a few other atheist/skeptical YouTubers entitled: “Questions White Men have for SJWs!”
…it’s about as nuanced and intellectually stimulating as it sounds. (Click the link to watch it, if you dare)
Now, I actually tried to upload a video with an off-the-cuff response, but that didn’t go so well. It wasn’t very good quality, and there was a lot of backlash from TAA fanbrats (and really, who needs that?). A common criticism was that I evaded a lot of the questions asked in the video. First of all, full disclosure: in general, I do not consider disingenuous and/or intellectually dishonest questions deserving of thoughtful answers. The video is a parody of several videos by Buzzfeed. However, there is one key difference; the Buzzfeed videos did seem like an earnest effort (if a misguided one) to start a conversation about stereotypes about race, gender, sexuality, etc. The video this post is responding to…had no such intention.
But for the sake of proving that I am capable of trying to converse and inform, here are more thorough answers to those questions:
- Why do you claim to speak for LGBT people, women and ethnic minorities, but when LGBT people, women and ethnic minorities disagree with you, you harass them?
Disagreement =/= harassment. Though I understand the confusion since you feel content to verbally abuse people who disagree with you. I am a queer black woman, and I have issues with the anti-racist, LGBTQ+ rights, and feminist movements (mostly regarding the lip service mainstream feminism pays to issues affecting women of color, and similar goings-on in the other movements), but I’ve not come across any harassment because of it.
- Do you realize that your war on language through political correctness has made you bedfellows with true rape culture, in other words, Islam – the world’s most misogynistic ideology?
Well, first of all, I’m an atheist, and as such, don’t consider myself “bedfellows” with any organized religion (and I personally find the Abrahamic religions some of the most misogynistic religions in the world; this includes Islam, but just as much Christianity and Judaism). With that said, I don’t know that I’d consider any “war on language” going on; my college degree is in English Language and Literature, and I understand that language is fluid. As such, language changes over time, and some words become less acceptable. Would you ever call a black person “colored” to their face? All right then.
That being said, just because some words are considered less acceptable doesn’t mean you “can’t” say them, or that you’ll be thrown into a camp if you do.
- Do you want women to be equal, or do you want women to be a protected class? You can’t have both. If you expect society to treat women as equal with men, why don’t women have to take responsibility for their own safety?
Ah, but, my dear Knight in Shining Tuxedo, we do take responsibility for our safety (walking home in groups, carrying mace, pocket knives, etc., taking self-defense classes, etc.). But it’s not a woman’s fault if she gets attacked and sexually assaulted because she wore a short skirt or didn’t have mace. I don’t think saying that much means I think women should be a “protected class.”
- People with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, anorexia, or eating disorders who want a safe place to talk about their issues without being judged.
- People of color who need a safe place to meet with other POC to talk about tough issues without being shouted down.
- LGBTQ+ people, especially young people who are questioning, or not yet out, to meet and talk to gain support without having to worry about being outed or publicly shamed.
- Alcoholics Anonymous or other addiction recovery groups, wherein groups of people struggling with addiction can get support and maintain anonymity.
None of these spaces exist because people are “afraid to leave them,” but rather to gain support safely.
- How can you possibly justify the idea that it’s somehow racist to disagree with Black Lives Matter, and yet it’s not racist when a black person tweets something like “kill all white people?”
#BlackLivesMatter is a specific movement with a specific goal (calling attention to police brutality against the black community to bring light to racial profiling and systemic racism). If you disagree with the notion that this is a problem, you might just be uninformed, but being willfully uninformed (because you just don’t care) is what’s problematic.
I don’t really know of anyone who wouldn’t find a tweet that said “kill all white people” problematic, but a somewhat threatening tweet (probably from someone trying to act like a “tough guy” behind a computer screen) is hardly on the same level as systemic racism and police brutality.
- Here’s a question: Are you aware that the present is not the past? I’m not kidding. Are you familiar with the concept of linear time? Because you seem incredibly comfortable traveling back through time to talk about how bad things were for women, or black people, or whoever. And then by using some form of SJW magic, you then claim or imply that those problems in the past exist today. Are you aware that this trick that you’re doing is not working? Why do you think that would work?
Ah, the argument that racism, sexism, and other oppressive systems are in the past, and thus don’t matter anymore. Well, first of all, things that happened in the past can and often do affect the present (and the future, if no change happens). Why else would we be taught about history in grade school through university? But more importantly, racism, sexism, etc. are not in the past. Oppressive systems still exist and still affect people here in the present.
- Do you really thing you can spend your entire life in a state of perpetual emotional immaturity? Do you actually imagine that you’ll be able to stretch out your adolescence for your entire existence?
Yes, because apparently, wanting social justice for all is emotional immaturity, right?
- There are 13% more women in college right now than men. So if the whole goal of feminism is “equality,” shouldn’t we have some men-only scholarships in order to equal everything out?
A quick Google search could reveal that men-only scholarships do exist, not to mention the fact that there are various reasons more women than men are currently enrolled in college (certainly not because of any systemic inequality).
- If feminism and egalitarianism are both for equal rights, then why does one start with a gendered prefix, while the other one is entirely gender-neutral?
Well, let’s first look at the definition(s) of egalitarianism:
- a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
- a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people
Well, it sounds like an admirable philosophy, one that I don’t think needs to be at odds with that of feminism. And the reason feminism has a gendered prefix, as you put it, is that feminism, as a concept, started out as advocacy for women, who were not, at the time, seen as equals to men (and it’s debatable that we are there yet, to be honest). Kind of like how #BlackLivesMatter is a direct response to police brutality disproportionally affecting black people and other people of color, hence why asking them to say #AllLivesMatter or talk about black-on-black crime is generally frowned upon.
- What do you hope to gain by bringing back racial segregation?
So, whenever I ask people about this one, they’ve pointed me to links (often to right-wing slanted sites) about black students wanting safe spaces that are black-only. We’ve already gone over the purpose of safe spaces, and it’s hardly analogous to “white” and “colored” bus seats, drinking fountains, etc.
- When my grand-uncle was dropping bombs on London, did your grandparents get out of their bunkers in the morning to protest with signs that read “#NotAllNazis?”
Well, my grandparents were young children of color living in the US during WWII, so…no
But furthermore, I don’t even get the point here…
[UPDATE-8/2/16]: As it turns out, the question is meant to equate modern-day Islam to Nazi Germany…yeah, not a good analogy in the least. For one thing, air raids done over England by Germany in World War II, that was the Germans bringing the war to the English. The United States is occupying countries in the Middle East and Asia; we’re bringing the fight to them, not the other way around. Secondly, it’s a poor analogy because according to this Pew Research Center report, the top five countries with the highest Muslim populations are Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. The US is currently bombing seven nations, and only one of them is in that top five. Thirdly, what does any of this matter? Muslims are not equal to Nazis. Most Muslims in the world are peaceful, decent people just trying to live their lives.
Yes, and many white people have learned it. It doesn’t make them bad people; we come up in a society that favors whiteness, and people, regardless of skin color, can internalize this white supremacist mindset.
- How can you possibly say that the phrase “All Lives Matter” is somehow racist? It sounds like something the Dalai Lama would say.
In all seriousness, it’s considered racist because the phrase “All Lives Matter” isn’t said in earnest, but rather in response to #BlackLivesMatter, which is a specific movement with a specific goal, and it’s insulting that there are white people trying to make it about them.
- Would you rather be right or popular? It seems like your primary objective is to score social points and get public validation. You speak publicly in the same way that people write their dating profiles. Stop trying to demonstrate how awesome you are, and get real.
How big of you to anticipate the whims of your bogeymen here. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought you guys were pro-free speech and anti-censorship. I would think you would be fine with people expressing themselves publicly however they want.
- So if a drunk man sleeps with a drunk woman, the woman is incapable of giving consent, but the man is?
I don’t know of anyone who claims this seriously.
People under the influence of a drug are incapable of giving consent, male or female (it wouldn’t be valid if you signed a contract or other agreement if you were under the influence of a substance of some kind, after all). Let’s make that perfectly clear. But more importantly, I feel that it’s important to establish that there is a difference between two people who are both drunk (or high, or whatever else) having sex and a sober person taking advantage of a person who is under the influence of a drug.
“…alcohol consumption by perpetrators and victims tends to co-occur; that is, when one of them is drinking, the other one is generally drinking as well… Rarely is only the victim drinking alcohol. This finding is not surprising, because in social situations (e.g., in bars or at parties), drinking tends to be a shared activity. However, this finding complicates researchers’ efforts to disentangle the unique effects of alcohol consumption on the perpetrators’ versus the victims’ behavior…”
“Although alcohol consumption and sexual assault frequently co-occur, this phenomenon does not prove that alcohol use causes sexual assault. Thus, in some cases, the desire to commit a sexual assault may actually cause alcohol consumption (e.g., when a man drinks alcohol before committing a sexual assault in order to justify his behavior). Moreover, certain factors may lead to both alcohol consumption and sexual assault. For example, some fraternities encourage both heavy drinking and sexual exploitation of women…In fact, many pathways can prompt a man to commit sexual assault, and not all perpetrators are motivated by the same factors… This article, therefore, describes several different ways in which alcohol consumption by the perpetrator and the victim can encourage sexual assault”
- Is it really easier to spend your life attempting to pacify the world and subdue all around you instead of accepting that you are the person that has to change?
Again, you’re addressing a group of people assuming that not one of them is capable of independent thought; as if their all one big hive mind…
Furthermore, what do you want “SJWs” to change? Do you know every single person you’re seeking to address?
- When I’m singing along with rap music, is it okay if I say the word “nigga?”
Sure. If it’s a lyric in the song, go ahead. Might I suggest, though, not doing that out loud if you’re visiting Baltimore or certain areas of DC?
I’m just looking out for you…
- How do you reconcile your opinion that gender doesn’t matter, or even exist, with your need to invent new genders each day?
First of all, let me point out that, despite what you might think, the people you call “SJWs” don’t agree on everything. So using the phrase “your opinion” is quite disingenuous.
As far as gender not mattering, I think it depends on what you mean by that. For what should gender matter? Jobs? Family structures? Social interaction?
As far as gender not existing…I have no idea where you got that from. I did, in my search, find a debate about this on debate.org. It’s quite an interesting debate, I must say, with most of its participants thus far (69%) agreeing that gender does not exist. Many of the answers from both sides seem to have some merit, so I’ll link to it so you can check it out.
As far as “inventing new genders every day”…who’s doing that? Really. You’re being disingenuous again.
- In your version of equality, will white men ever have a voice in society, or will white men always be too privileged to participate in discussion?
There’s no one’s “version” of equality; equality is equality (I guess this is yet another reactionary attempt to accuse “SJWs” of wanting an Orwellian fantasy come to life). I should add that not every social activist agrees about equality; such people will point out the difference between treating all people equally and treating all people fairly. This is probably closer to what I believe; I don’t think we’ll ever be truly “equal,” but we can make a more just world to live in.
And spare me this “OMG, won’t someone please think of the white men??!!1!” nonsense (and you guys accuse “SJWs” of playing the victim). Everyone is allowed to participate in a discussion, but this video is just another example of a group of people who don’t genuinely want to participate in a conversation, but rather are more content to talk right over it.
- What makes you think that the power of censorship that you are so desperately trying to establish now will at no point be used against you?
Once again, criticism IS NOT CENSORSHIP. Disagreement IS NOT CENSORSHIP. Calling someone out who you feel is out of line IS NOT CENSORSHIP.
This is really beginning to frustrate me, as it often does when reactionaries do this. It’s all about projection, really…
- Why is it that if a woman dresses sexy or even topless in public, you support it, but if a female video game character is dressed sexy, then you want her clothed more modestly?
A woman who dresses “sexy” or topless in public is doing that by her own choice (I prefer jeans and T-shirts with skulls on them myself, but who am I to pick at others’ wardrobes?). Female characters in video games (and, more broadly, all forms of visual media) is…a bit more complicated.
Consider the way female comic book heroes are often dressed; sometimes not wearing pants/having legs covered, often bare arms, high-heeled shoes/boots, loose flowing hair, and so forth. Not really great choices for women who are supposed to be superheroes (or at least action heroes of some sort). Dressing Wonder Woman in essentially a bathing suit, Starfire in a short skirt and midriff-baring top, Raven without pants, and so forth, isn’t an act of viewing the women as heroes; it’s a marketing choice that goes back decades. Sure, male superheroes are buff and wear similar tight-fitting spandex, but characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash are marketed as heroes first; their aesthetics are secondary, at best.
I don’t think the problem is as simple as just dressing female characters more “modestly.” The problem is more that, as far as we’d like to think media has come, male characters are still often the ones defined by actions, whereas female characters are defined by their appearances first, with maybe personalities to give an air of progress.
- What is your favorite song to sing really loud when you’re confronted with a different point of view?
This one. That usually makes them go away.
- Why are you afraid of dissenting opinions? Your continued attempts to silence all opposition, either by smearing them publicly, or labeling their content as hate speech and having it removed, only serves to insulate your bubble even more and maintain your echo chamber. It also prevents you from taking on new information and hearing different points of view. Different points of view that are sometimes superior to yours. Which tends to happen whenever I talk.
Gee…how very humble of you…
I’m not afraid of dissenting opinions. It’s perfectly possible (and, preferable, in my opinion) to express a dissenting opinion in a reasonable way (no name-calling, no ad hominem or other logical fallacies, actually calmly stating your view and reasons for it, if needed, and so forth). And what’s this talk about “silencing all opposition”? What qualifies as that? Is it when feminists or people with whom you disagree block you from social media? That isn’t stopping you from stating your opinion; you’re still free to do that till you’re blue in the face, but it doesn’t obligate that person to be your audience.
And weird how a video that’s literally a group of men who all agree on the exact same subject is now going to contain a question calling people out for echo chambers (by the way, the comments section of this video is largely full of people who agree with it. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black).
- What is reverse racism? Like, what the actual fuck is it? It’s just racism, right? I mean, am I going crazy here? Am I taking crazy pills?
Reverse racism (or “racism” against white people) is not a thing, the same way classism against the wealthy is not a thing, and nor is ableism against able-bodied/neurotypical people a thing (at the very least, they don’t exist in the same way; white people are not any worse off because of “reverse racism”). Sure, people of color can hold prejudiced views of white people, but such a thing doesn’t exist in a systemic way that makes white people’s lives any worse just because they’re white. This is a great source to learn more.
- Do any of you people actually remember all the pronouns? You know the list, right? The one with 76 fucking genders.
For the record, I don’t consider pronouns like “zie/xie” etc. all that necessary, considering that the singular “they/them” suffices just fine. However, I am not in any position to tell a non-binary person (or really, anyone) what pronouns they can or cannot use. And for you to mock it just because you don’t get it, or it’s unfamiliar, or whatever else is just plain juvenile and mean. Grow up.
- Why do you feel entitled to control what artists and entertainers are allowed to express? Why do you think your sensibilities should be placed above the sensibilities of actual creators?
Criticism =/= an attempt to control creators. I am a content creator (writer, artist, and YouTuber) myself; criticism comes with the territory. Most creators understand that, and know to take criticism with a grain of salt, but also with some humility.
- Have you ever considered that using the terms ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ as haphazardly as you do to describe everything under the sun that makes you feel uncomfortable devalues the word to the point that it actually hurts the people who actually suffer from real sexism and real racism? Have you ever fucking thought of that?
Maybe the problem isn’t people calling things that make them uncomfortable “sexist” or “racist.” Maybe the problem is that people bringing these things up makes YOU uncomfortable. And, let me, a black woman, tell you something: “real racism” takes many forms other than a group of hooded people burning a cross or a person calling me “nigger” to my face. “Real sexism” takes more forms than just female genital mutilation, child brides, girls sold into sex slavery, or any other thing you think only takes place in other countries so you don’t have to really pay anything more than lip service to it.
How do you think I felt being told as a little girl that my coarse, kinky, natural hair was “ugly”? How do you think I felt when I worried about my thighs being too fat when I was nine years old? How do you think I felt when I was twelve and was told I “sounded white”? How do you think I feel thinking about my biracial niece and nephew growing up in a world filled with bigotry against children who look like them? How do you think it feels to hear of another woman your race and age being pulled over for a traffic violation, getting taken to jail, and turning up dead shortly thereafter? To think of calling your mother and telling her “if I die….I did NOT kill myself…tell the boys I love them…”…?
That’s when I feel devalued. That’s when I feel hurt. Did you ever think of that? Probably not…that would take some empathy…
Finally…no, I will not drink bleach. But I do think I need some chamomile tea after this. Until we meet again, friends…