A challenging opposition to what has been termed liberal doctrine is the fact that regulations such as affirmative action and diversity quotas, along with the atmosphere that liberal culture breeds, can uphold exclusive principles, and those that it excludes- mainly heterosexual white men- raise the concern that the restrictive nature of these regulatory requirements inherently abide by the principles of discrimination. While superficially valid, such an assumption fails to address the historical context of racial, gender, and sexual discrimination, as well as the reality that European dominated prejudices continue to devastate populations worldwide due to the aggressive manner in which they are upheld.
In an ideal world, the inequality of our society would not have to be countered by a retaliatory reaction. Currently, however, such reactions do seem to be the most apt way for us to combat the rampant injustice done to individuals that are not male, white, heterosexual, and of European ancestry.[i] Centuries of brutal colonialism have created a culture that consistently works for the white man and works against all those who aren’t, and even if a white male happens to be excluded due to their race and gender for a position at a university or corporation in favor of a non-white individual or a female, there are an endless amount of non-white individuals and females who are not only excluded, but are uneducated, underemployed, unemployed, homeless, and killed due to long-established prejudices that continue to predominate world culture; and something as rigid as an enforced quota, as effective as the me-too movement, as freeing as sexual liberation, or as justifiably founded as Black Lives Matter will not be able to level the playing field for groups that have been subjugated and suppressed for centuries.
Of course, many activists are aware that fighting a principle with retaliatory measures (i.e. fighting the exclusivity of patriarchy by creating measures or environments that exclude men) is similar to putting an open flame on a kerosene-drenched object. But in a world that works on assertion and dominance, those who desire inclusivity can’t always act upon idealized principles of passivity and empathy, as the mechanisms in power have historically favored dominant aggression over peaceful conciliation. Moreover, the rigidity of the human-made world makes it hard to make an impact when operating outside the system, especially a system that strives to maintain dogmatic adherence to strict ideologies and principles, and the most effective manner in which oppressed individuals can assert their voice and power into this rigged system is to group together, and unfortunately in our society groups tend to be inherently exclusive towards those that don’t share or conform to it’s particular values, appearances, and experiences.
Yet in order to fully abolish widespread subjugation and oppression, all sectors of society will have to work together as a sympathetic, non-retaliatory whole, not as separate groupings. But without regulatory laws, open dialogue about injustice, and group formation (peaceful actions that work within the current system) such a cohesiveness will be difficult to establish, and we will continue to only hear from select individuals, as the stories of those who have been subjugated will continue to be disqualified, derided, patronized, and belittled; left untold and unheard.
The fact that I am writing this as a college-educated, white-presenting female using language that can exclude individuals from partaking in the conversation is a perfect example of this.
And it is only compounded by the fact that our system is becoming progressively selective.
Despite rampant ideals of worldwide connection and inclusivity, this is the increasing reality:
We only hear from a minority of people in all aspects of society.
A minority of the population of writers.
A minority of the population of artists.
A minority of the population of singers.
A minority of the population of actors.
A minority of the population of entrepreneurs.
A minority of the population of workers.
A minority of the population.
Yet a majority of these are wealthy, primarily white males from the United States and Western Europe.
In order to breed a culture that is devoted to equality on all fronts, we need to abandon the belief that you are only worth being heard, seen, and read if you look a certain way and have already made something of yourself. We need to stop only listening to, watching, and reading the work of selected individuals. We need to stop requiring such extensive merits for baseline work. We need to stop demanding that you must have a resume full of experience or a substantial list of published works in order for you to be considered as a qualified candidate. Great work and great ideas are being formed by non-white, non-educated people. Great art and great ideas are being made by non-established artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs. But if we continue to uphold certain groups while undermining others, and the barrier of acceptance keeps on climbing, we will merely hear from select communities and individuals, and those communities and individuals will continue to keep grabbing the abundant amount of resources available in modern societies that we- rather than distribute to those who don’t have- just accumulate or throw into a pile of rapidly growing waste.
To accomplish this, we have to remodel this rigid ideal of dominating success and leave room for small artists, small business, and those who are often not given a voice to bring their ideals into the world. Perhaps this could incite a change from the ideology of today, a domineering ideology that has been made by a select and uniform group of domineering, like-minded personalities.
[i] (with an additional requirement of being wealthy, educated, and career-minded.)