Society values kindness, hard work, intelligence, empathy, sympathy, and charity for obvious reasons. But who we expect these amiable qualities from, ironically, isn’t equitable. In other words, society is more prone to
expecting demanding these qualities from minorities, namely immigrants and trans people.
With DACA coming into light recently, I’ve heard the stories of numerous Dreamers desperately trying to prove their worth. Many of the stories detail working several jobs whilst pursuing higher education that is paid for out-of-pocket. Why? Because normally, society would perceive this as borderline heroic, rather than characteristic of lazy, job-stealing criminals that we (and our president) have stereotyped immigrants/POC as.
America continuously demands receipts for the value of immigrants (other marginalized peoples), because it is already assumed that everyone else has potential, especially cishet white males.
In regards to being transgender, knowing that most people will automatically perceive you as some mentally deranged pervert causes many to exhaust themselves proving this wrong. And in the case of those who cannot (as it is harder to amount to anything as a minority, not because of any ineptness, but because of systematic oppression), they’re faced with constant opposition for merely existing and are at an even greater chance of falling victim to a fatal hate crime.
I am a well educated person. I am perceived by many as intelligent. I am currently pursing a career involving science who will have some tangible use to society. I do actively care about others and have spent a lot of time and money in regards to human rights and animal welfare. And these are the things that will get me through life because this is where my value currently comes from, not from being another human being or a potential friend or neighbor.
It is because of these things that I have any level of power. When I would hear some ignorant asshole disgorging hatred against fellow queer people, I would have to be the one to shut it down because often, I am the only one who garners any iota of respect.
And though I am certainly not opposed to using my ‘image’ whenever possible to shutdown hatred, I sure as hell shouldn’t have to. In that, queer people who actually are mentally ill/uneducated/lazy deserve respect and a voice. They shouldn’t have to be any more astounding than your average lazy teenage boy to not be murdered for existing.
The same goes for immigrants (and no, not all of them “chose” to come here) and POC as well. They shouldn’t have to work harder than anyone else to be given basic human rights and respect, nor should they have to be Harvard graduates to not be seen as “thugs.”
If we aren’t killing or deporting white men who rarely show up to their virtually optional jobs, and electing draft-dodging cis guys who literally lack fundamental knowledge on reality as president, then we have no excuse for demanding so much of minorities.
White cis America needs to stop holding minorities to ridiculously high standards, whilst trying to prevent us from even reaching those standards, when it typically can’t even reach those standards either without having to face oppression.
And even when minorities do amount to something, it is still never enough to fully protect yourself from prejudice.
Despite how many transgender biologists or psychologists I am acquainted with, they still regularly encounter random unqualified strangers who insist that they are unnatural dangerous freaks who “chose” to be this way. Even though these same people would likely never risk humiliation by asserting that any cis biologist’s or psychologist’s education was invalid.
Despite the fact that Malia Obama is polylingual and was accepted into Harvard University, many people still erroneously attribute this to affirmative action, nepotism, or claim that her farther merely paid her way in. She has never shown any aspect of ignorance, and there is no logical reason for anyone to believe that she isn’t good enough for Harvard. Yet because she’s the black daughter of a liberal, she’s inherently seen as idiotic and, on numerous accounts, a drug addict. Many have even gone so far as to demand her “gpa scores” be public information. “Gpa scores.” Yeah.
And despite Laverne Cox, former Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, and Carmen Carrera all being trans women who have been involved in activism or charity, none of them have been able to avoid hateful comments or ignorant assumptions.
Fortunately for them, navigating life as a minority is a bit easier when you’re a billionaire like Jennifer or a celebrity with many adoring fans like Laverne, but when even they face public scrutiny, it only leaves that many more average POC/trans people aware of just how hateful our society as a whole is.
If you’re going to criticise someone for being lazy, or call someone out for being ignorant, or insult someone in any way….you can do so without bringing up the fact that they’re an immigrant/queer/poc. And you should have the ability to realize that the latter things do not control the former: If an immigrant is lazy, for example, it’s obviously not because they’re an immigrant.