Online Editor Trever McKenzie lets conservatives know that they aren’t hated for their political beliefs and explains why there is animosity between the left and the right.
Editor’s note: To avoid conflict of interest, this article has not been considered for the featured articles.
In the previous two issues, two op-eds of very similar nature were published. Both addressed a phenomenon in which conservatives feel afraid to come forward about their right-wing beliefs for fear of criticism. Specifically, they are afraid of being criticized for being a conservative. I fully understand why they might fear something like this. Colleges are becoming more left-wing with every decision they make.
What I say next may be met with criticism or disagreement, but it must be said. Conservatives, liberals do not hate you for being conservative. I have a few right-wing friends myself. But there is a key difference between a conservative I am friends with and one I am not. My acceptance has entirely to do with their acceptance of me, my identities and my views.
Look at social media and you’ll find an abundance of comments by many right-wing citizens that openly criticize marginalized groups for their activism and existence. Minorities of all kinds are often the target of vocal members of the right. These attitudes are alienating in harmful ways. An overwhelming number of minorities are liberal because liberalism is a political ideology that validates minority existence and addresses minority problems instead of erasing both. One is hard-pressed to find a conservative equivalent.
I am openly liberal and I have conservative friends, but if one of them ever tells me that they think being gay is a choice or that they don’t approve of same-sex marriage, I will immediately cut them out of my life. I am allowed to discontinue our friendships because of your beliefs. As a human, I am entitled to have my identity respected and validated, and I have the right to defriend those who challenge the validity of my identity. Other minorities, I’m sure, feel the same way.
This is where I believe misunderstandings occur. Conservatives may feel that their beliefs aren’t being respected when liberals criticize the socially right-wing. Some might even think the criticism is unfair because they personally don’t attack minorities. Some conservatives may even feel that all liberals generalize all conservatives as anti-minority.
What may not be understood is that liberals are fully aware that there are conservatives who aren’t discriminatory. However, we are aware of the large number who are, and that’s who we criticize. So, no, conservatives, liberals do not hate you because they think all conservatives are horrible people. But you should be aware that your passivity toward, resistance to or opposition of the advancement of minority causes is not well-received and may not ever be.
For those of you about to get up in arms, remember that we are aware of the conservatives who don’t do these things. If you are 100 percent receptive to all minority issues, or even 75 percent, we don’t have an issue. For those that aren’t, honestly talk with yourself about where you stand on minority issues and ask why others might be unreceptive to those stances.
Do you think that same-sex marriage is wrong? Don’t expect sympathy from gay men, lesbians or bisexuals.
Do you think trans men and women aren’t their gender or that non-binary people aren’t real? Don’t expect sympathy from the trans* community.
Do you think immigrants shouldn’t be allowed in the country? Don’t expect sympathy from immigrants.
Do you think that POC don’t experience racism? Don’t expect sympathy from them.
Conservatives, we don’t hate you. Many of you are upstanding people. But resistance to minority issues is not going to earn you minority sympathy. We know our experiences and identities better than you, and trying to challenge them will not make us your friends. We don’t hate you for being conservative. We will, however, strongly criticize all regressive attitudes toward minorities. Minority identities and existences are always on the chopping block – don’t be the butcher or the bystander.
Trever McKenzie is a junior theatre major and the Online Editor for the Newswire from Higginsport, Ohio.