Originally Posted by Ravenesque
[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]It should be encouraged that those who lie at the center of privilege and normativity step out of their comfort zones to understand that which is different from them. It is a regular occurrence for those who on the margins, for those at the periphery, to make the trek from their comfort zones the majority of the way in order to be accepted. "I'm different, let me learn the normative language and mannerisms you know and teach you to accept me." This is not acceptable. At the very least there needs to be a meeting in the middle now.
It is a positive act to expand one's knowledge outside of oneself, one's comfort zone. If I do not understand something I seek to find the meaning behind it as it stands for various peoples, cultures and perspectives. This opens my mind to the multifaceted nature of the world.
Unfortunately what is encouraged is that no effort be made to broaden horizons if an individual doesn't understand something. In fact fear is reinforced and not explored as the covering emotion it is. An effort to make whatever is unknown conform to what is known is often pushed.
Seeking to be one with the mainstream causes fractures within alternative communities along lines of morality. This is why we have some within the LGBTQ community seeking to distance themselves from polyamorists (and even step on poly people) using the same arguments that were used against them by the mainstream.
I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized. I also need to make a trek from where I am to meet people where they are at. How do I do that? By living my life without apology or trying to fit in.... living my life in honesty, openness and staying calm and understanding that others are not where I am... keeping my frustration and anger over other peoples agenda in check.
I have made some amazing friends who consider themselves mainstream and who I consider them so also. The feed back I have had over the years has been that they are grateful to me for "inviting" them to talk about stuff they don't understand. Making the space for them to ask me hard questions... I have not judged them for their difference and have not seen them as across an ocean of stuff that they just don't get. Instead I've been inviting and accepting of what they don't know and have asked if they are interested in knowing. Assuming they want to know really. sometimes I have been blind sided with "fuck off" but often times I have been seen as novel and interesting. Someone to ask questions of and someone who will answer any question... just by being me and willing to put myself in situations where I step out of my own comfort in order to make a difference. I think being "inviting" while not giving up what is important to us is more appropriate than saying, "that's not acceptable"
Actually, I find many people in activist communities to be more closed off to discussion than those in mainstream society... sad, but true for me. I used to identify as an activist for years. I don't openly identify anymore although I still think my heart is there. I don't because I don't want to be thought of as someone so radical that I am unapproachable. Which is often how mainstream people see activists. Quite often activists are so damned angry they miss the real opportunities to make change in the world. Anger is blinding it seems.