John Scalzi twits about domestic violence:
Focusing on men instead of on aggressors like that is very politically correct, but the thing is that I don’t actually disagree with what Scalzi is saying here. After all, it is true that the domestic violence is committed by men significantly more often than by women, and I would certainly agree that the fact that we men are not often the victims does not mean that it’s not our problem. When he says that not all men but certainly too many of them are guilty of this violence he is clearly right, since even one would be too many. If anything, I would disagree with the only twit pictured that is not from Mr. Scalzi, since Molly Lewis gets carried away by her enthusiasm when she says that “ALL women have been menaced by men” (the caps are hers), unless she’s saying that in some kind of methaphorical way.
Anyway, I’m not disputing what Scalzi is saying here. It does bother me a bit, however, the insistence on putting the focus on men in general instead of on aggressors. OK, most aggressors are men, but there is a significant number of female aggressors too (actually, the numbers might much be closer than most people believe, but let’s not get into that debate: I fully accept that men are more likely to be aggressors). However, I, who have never committed a violent act towards anybody (I did get into a fight with another boy in grade school, but it was a very subdued affair just involving some shoving, and I was very relieved when it ended relatively fast -with me losing-), and who have never threatened anybody, do not appreciate being put in the category of potential aggressors, just because of my gender.
You know, that I dislike the excesses of political correctness does not mean I don’t agree with many of the issues that the PC-crowd defends. For example, there’s the stop-and-frisk practices of some police departments, where people of color (let’s use the PC term, even if the rest of the human population is not transparent) are stopped and searched because they are judged as more likely to be carrying weapons or illegal substances because of the color of their skin. People who defend those practices say, rightly, that the practice is efficient because a person of color is actually more likely to be carrying a weapon or illegal substances. In spite of that, I disagree strongly with the practice, because it unfairly targets a group of people because of their race, and this unfair treatment humiliates them.
Is it OK then to humiliate me by treating me as part of a group of potential abusers, just because I happen to be male? I am not and will never be an aggressor.
The PC-crowd would argue that the difference here is that I’m part of a privileged group (white men), while the victims of stop-and-frisk policies are part of a group that has a history of being discriminated against. They truly do have a point here. I honestly agree that targeting people of color as a group is worse than targeting men. However, is doing any of those things necessary? Can’t we just by default treat people with respect, regardless of their gender, race or sexual orientation, unless they actually do something to lose our respect? It’s not like we can’t talk strongly against domestic violence and about the need to get involved without resorting to that.
I’m just stating my opinion here, though. I don’t dispute in any way anyone’s right to speak in those terms, if they feel they have to. I’m not easily offended just because someone sees things differently.