Sunday, 24 January 2016

Picking your battles

Twice in the last week I've heard someone use "retard" in passing conversations.

And both times, I've let it go.  I've silently judged the speaker to within in inch of their lives, but haven't called them on it.

That's not because I've softened my stance that using that word and others like it is a hateful, hurtful and hugely clueless thing to do.

It's because, in both instances, I just don't think it was worth it.

In one case it was an amateur comedian doing a set into their webcam, for a YouTube video that had views barely into double figures.  (Don't ask why I was watching it, it's a long and not at all Aspergers-related story.)

The other was a random from one of several projects I'm involved with at the moment, whose presence I endured for one meeting and with a bit of luck will never have to clap eyes on again.

I'm pretty busy at the moment, but still only have the same energy reserves as when I was doing half as much.  That means I have to budget my effort sometimes, and I just don't think either of these jerks are worth dignifying with an education.  In both cases it's likely to have ended with a fight, and been unlikely to make any lasting change to those people's opinions.  (You know the sort, I'm sure.)

I think there's a tendency sometimes in activism-type circles to think you have to fight ALL THE BATTLES; as though if you don't have an opinion on every nuance of the autism community and every autism issue in the news you're Doing Activism Wrong and are unworthy.

Occasionally - back in the days when I used Tumblr - I've had other Aspie bloggy types have a go at me for not getting involved in their fights.  Usually it was US-specific things that I have no business getting involved in, or things that are completely outside my sphere of understanding or experience.  And one delightful individual who insisted if you weren't doing in-person placard-waving type protest you were pretty much The Enemy, even though there are any number of very real reasons why not everyone with disability can do that.

But we can't do everything.  There will always be one more jackass, one more troll, one more time-waster, one more not-like-my-childist, one more person wrong on the internet.

Sometimes, we have to decide which ones are worth our attention, time and effort.

And which aren't.