Ever since last November, my social media spaces show me all sorts of narratives of “other.” That’s not what the writers call their stories. Their stories are about how Quality One or Quality Two caused people to treat them differently, caused them to feel pushed away, downgraded.
I am a person of privilege, of all sorts and in indecent amounts. But I, too, know something about being othered.
I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit this week. Because I’ve been being othered quite a bit in the last week and a half.
I’m “a brain.” I’m “that hip young kid.” I’m “a tech wizard.” And the ones saying this to me say they’re “just a” <whateveritis>.
I think they believe they’re being kind. And complimentary. They are nice people, who are kind, and look after widows, orphans, and the alien among us. Except for me,
who’s been turned into an alien, and pushed subtly out of the ring.
Because whether I am or am not those things is beside the point. By pointing it out, by making a statement, they make it clear that I’m something they’re not, that I don’t belong where they are busy belonging.
I wish they could say, “I didn’t follow what you said,” without transforming the dynamic into a superior/inferior setup.
I wish they could say, “Thank you; I’m glad you’re sharing your skills.”
I wish I got to be part of the group, too. Instead of being set apart,
being something other.