Yesterday I said on Facebook and Twitter, “I identify as someone who automatically mistrusts anyone who starts a sentence with ‘I identify as’.”
When I saw that some folks took that as a dig against transgender people, I regretted saying it that way. But, by then, the discussion below my comment had grown so long and convoluted, I thought it would be kind of mean to delete my statement, since it would delete all the discussion about it.
What I was saying was meant as a personal observation about myself rather than as a statement intended to convince others to feel how I do about the phrase.
It’s not just the phrase “I identify as” that makes me mistrust someone who uses it. “I identify as” is one of a class of phrases that trigger me in that way. I could have said the same thing about folks who use words and phrases like “SJW” or “snowflake” or “cuck.” Or people who say “cis-gender” or “heteronormative” or “white privilege.” But none of those words would have made the joke work.
What bugs me about words and phrases like these is that I feel like people who use them are trying to sell me something. Not for money. But they’re trying to sell me a whole package of ideas of which these words and phrases are a part.
I get annoyed when Buddhists do this, too. They’ll throw in special words that only other Buddhists understand. Like they’ll call something “skillful” or they’ll talk about “practice opportunities.” Or they’ll mispronounce Japanese words like gomashio and mokugyo or misuse other Japanese words like soji and sensei.
The point of using words like these is to signify that the user is in-the-know about the entire spectrum of stuff from which these words and phrases are drawn. They’re trying to see if you’re one of “us” or one of “them” by how you react to the words and phrases.
These kinds of words also very often tend to try to define large classes of people in derogatory ways, much in the same way as racial slurs do. They’re not really people, they’re SJWs, snowflakes, and cucks, or they’re those whose hold heteronormative views favored by cis-gender folks who can’t check their white privilege.
The words themselves often carry hidden insults. At the very least they carry the notion that those who don’t understand the terms are less intelligent that we who do.
Anyway, that’s what I meant. I’m sorry if any of my transgender readers were offended or thought I thought less of them.
As for the rest of you, you’re a bunch of baka-yaros.
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September 7-10, 2017 Retreat in Finland
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September 15-20, 2017 Retreat at Domicilium, Weyarn, Germany
September 22, 2017 Talk in Munich, Germany
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October 1-4, 2017 Retreat in Hebden Bridge, England
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