“It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life.”
“It happens, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“The world’s never going to just change, you have to accept it.”
This train of thought seems to be a recurring theme encountered in virtually all forms of discrimination. The general consensus is that society can’t be changed, and if it doesn’t like you, the onus is on you to conform – and if that isn’t possible, tough.
Let’s think about this for a second. A “society” is formed by its people. A society IS its people. It’s you. It’s me. It’s everyone we know. In years to come, it will be our children. In short, if you’re participating in society, you have a say (albeit a very minor one) in society. Together, those little pieces of power soon add up.
Change happens, and it happens more quickly than you would think. Evidently, discrimination is still rife across the world, but think about how the rights of women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT* community have improved over the last 50 years. Change HAS happened. And it can happen again. It isn’t likely to happen overnight, but it can happen nevertheless.
In the meantime, the often well-meaning people who tell others that they “have to put up with it” (even if there’s a “sadly” or “unfortunately” in there somewhere) are part of the problem. Imagine if everybody thought like that. The status quo wouldn’t change, because there wouldn’t be anybody to change it.
While I’m on the subject, discrimination is never the victim’s fault. Assuming that discrimination has to be “put up with” and instead trying to change those who suffer it is not okay. Don’t tell women not to go out alone to avoid being raped; instead, tell rapists not to rape. Don’t tell a homosexual couple not to act as a couple in public to avoid homophobia; instead, speak out against homophobia. If an autistic person’s stim is harmless but leads to bullying, don’t stop the stim; stop the bullying. (I know it’s a rather obscure example to use, especially next to sexism and homophobia, but it’s there for a reason). Don’t tell anyone to stop being themselves to avoid discrimination and/or isolation; instead, act to end discrimination so that everyone can be themselves.
The alternative is victim-blaming, and that’s just wrong.