I think you make entirely valid points. I do not understand what it is like to be a member of a marginalized group. I cannot possibly understand. I don’t remotely have a grasp on the situation. I’m just some guy, and my perspective is severely limited. This sort of article may not be helpful, and I’ve noticed that when I address cultural issues in this way it gets a lot of attention and some people may see it as reassurance they don’t need to challenge their own assumptions.
I wrote this under the assumption that political attitudes are broadly subservient to people’s cultural/emotional needs and environment. The people of color/black distinction is a good example of this. If I asked a random white person what the difference between those two terms was, they would probably assume that poc is just a “politically correct” version of black. I’m not rereading the article, but it seems as if I may have made that exact same mistake. The reason this happens is not necessarily because people actively refuse to understand the concept, but because nobody in their community talks that way and they don’t get exposed to it.
An idea I want to get out into the discourse is that leftism needs to be more accessible. This is something I encounter all the time. Recently I was helping a friend’s family move and I told them I was working on being a political writer, and the first thing they did was joke that I need to make sure I’m “politically correct” and that it’s getting harder and harder to do that these days. The right is constantly pushing this idea and they do it because it’s actually an incredibly effective thought-terminating cliche.
The right has pretty much nothing of substance in their platform, so they are constantly pushing to their constituency the idea that the left does not like them and will not accept them unless they fit an extremely narrow definition of what it is to be a good person. A lot of these standards are extremely confusing for people who are not deeply entrenched in leftist cultural spaces and may even be somewhat confusing for those who are. People do not feel like they are able to engage with the material because they feel like they are not allowed to. People who do not understand the language feel excluded because that is a function of language.
I agree that part of this process is causing cognitive dissonance. People need to be challenged and pain is essential to growth. But, when I wrote this article, it felt like every single week the top feature on the medium roundup was somebody embodying the type of person the right would use as an example to prove that the left would never accept them no matter how hard they tried. I was trying very actively to reach out to people on the right during that time, and when I looked at those articles in a way that embodied their perspective, it was not good. I wanted to address that, and I may not have done the best job.
I was originally not going to respond to your comment because it is very good and I didn’t think I had anything to add. I really appreciate the time you spent writing it out and being so thoughtful with what you said. I think these issues are very important, and I eventually decided to respond because I think it’s important that we discuss them.