Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mundane stress

While doing my daily blog catch-up at work (being able to read while working - one of the many reasons I love my job), I came across this really cool post on Feministe. The poster, Piny, talks about the phrase "mundane stress," something I've actually never heard of.

Mundane stress was a term coined to describe the effect of the thousand thousand ways in which people of color are told that they are worth less. It seeks to create a concept of racism and its attendant trauma more sophisiticated than your average Law and Order episode. The theory behind it has since been expanded to cover marginalization of other groups.

Later, Piny goes on:

What does happen all the time [to those with gendervariance]? Well, our families disown us, or make us ashamed of who we are–abuse and estrangement are much more common than involuntary committment. We are harassed verbally and physically at school, at work, and on the street. We get beaten up. We get raped. We get ignored. We lose custody of our children. We worry about whether or not we will be able to have children. We fear for our lives and safety. We are denied treatment by doctors, therapists, insurance providers, and the prison system. We are punished for developing the only coping strategies available to us. Bureaucracies of all stripes divert us into the wrong place at the wrong time. We have to lie to our doctors in order to receive responsible care, or go without care altogether. We get fired and denied employment. We face housing discrimination. We cannot use shelters or treatment programs. We cannot use public bathrooms. We cannot obtain accurate identification. We hear joke after joke after joke after joke. We exist on teevee only to murder or get murdered. We kill ourselves. We get killed. Our parents blame themselves for us.

Some of these threats are obviously deadly. Some of them are “little things.” Most of them are mundane. Most of them are not necessarily hateful, but the result of a simple lack of understanding on the part of the straight world: a failure to think. They occur in situations that might otherwise feel comfortable and harmless, in places as supposedly safe as home or as boring as the DMV. Fighting discrimination, more often than not, isn’t about confronting our archetype of monstrous evil. It doesn’t take an army of doctors wielding syringes and straitjackets to kill someone who’s already vulnerable–let alone make them miserable. [link]

I thought this was a pretty neat post and worth reading.


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