Thursday, 29 November 2012

Labels.

No, not the kind I tag these posts with.

The ones that we all give each other.

In case you haven't worked it our yet, I am ever so slightly opinionated.

Q'uelle suprise!!

I am pretty out about my politics/atheism/feminism/humanism and any other isms I find interesting.

But here's the thing. I've realised that being 'out' means that people who don't agree with you simply often dismiss you.

Oh, she WOULD say that, she's an **insert ism of your choice**.

Thereby rendering the message null.

Up Here, anti-intellectualism and reverse snobbery seems to be endemic. Faux News is taken as gospel. If it was on MSN, then it MUST be tru, ya? By inviting debate, I seem to only invite ridicule.

It fascinates me that people who have the balls to leave their country of origin, and live in a place which teh interwebz describes as 'the most dangerous place on the planet outside a warzone', cling to their racial and gender stereotypes so firmly.

I have, whilst having Vop sitting on my lap, been told that "you can't train locals", that ALL Nationals are 'lazy", that women up here 'deserve' the violence because they drink/cheat/fight back.

And, trust me, I don't auto-launch into femiNazi mode (well, I did when a WWW* man refered to PNG Nationals as "lazy fuckin' kanakas" within Vop's hearing), I do try, I really do, to counter arguments like the above with calm and facts and logic.

I might say "Really? On what do you base that?" or "Can you prove that?"

At which point, you can often see the internal dialogue mirrored in their eyes.

"Oh, she's SUCH an atheist/feminist/foodie/kanak-loving hippy."

 And from that point on, any rational discussion is moot.

I am guilty of it myself sometimes, I admit it. I've been in awesome discussion with someone up here to find "Dear Goat, I bet (s)he's a religious nutter/Bob Katter fan/Birther Conspiracy lunatic with opinions like that", but I TRY to be aware of that internal filter and still allow positive discourse to flow.

However, interesting discourses/potential friendships I have been involved with have ended thus when my politics/feminism/atheism has come up:

You worship Satan because you used to be Pagan. (In a discussion about why I have a pentagram on an incense holder.)
Easter has nothing to do with Estrogen, Jesus named it. (in a discussion on the etymology of words)
You only post stuff about abused children because you're an atheist and you hate religion.
You're only interested in Domestic Violence up here because you're bored with no job.

and my personal fave:

Why are you adopting Vop? You're an atheist. You don't care. Not like a Christian does.

They haven't always ended friendships, but they HAVE ALWAYS ended discussions.

At home, friendships were forged over gallons of wine  years of commonality. People change, grow and sometimes the friendships don't last. But in my late 40's I have a circle of people who might not share ALL my beliefs, but there is a core of like-mindedness that cements the relationship.

Up here, the gene pool of potential friends is small, and because we are all human, we yearn to bond. To mingle. To have friends.


Being dismissed for having opinions is one thing, and certainly nothing I haven't experienced in MANY other countries, but Up Here it comes at a cost.

You get that most 1950's of damning labels.

You get

A. REPUTATION.


WWW = PNG expat slang for White With Wallet.

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