The other day I ventured into an essay. God forbid that I read an essay here.
Dude, I read almost all of the essays here. Telling me I should just not read them I think misses the point of the whole exercise.
And I observed something written by someone trying to write about identity politics, someone with whom I have had extreme disagreements about the exact same subject in the past. I might have actually read the whole thing through at once, but I got trapped pretty close to the beginning because, like he has a habit of doing, the author assumed a power-over position. So I stopped before finishing to address it.
He didn’t intend to do so. At least I’ll give him that benefit of the doubt. The power-over position is so natural to some folks that they assume it without a thought most of the time. In what I thought was a crude attempt at humor, he decided that the alternative to use to the set of men and women, out of all the words available to him, was “hermaphrodites.”
I made a cultural faux pas at that point. I assumed a position of equality in order to point out that he was invoking his power and presumed to try to educate him about his choice of words. He spent the rest of our discussion trying to deny me that position of equality, to reassert his manhood and restore order in the universe.
Mind you, this is only my view, from the position as a member of a traditionally powerless group.