Blog Post by MacLeod, in defense of my friend RedGlitter. This is not endorsed by RedGlitter. All opinions are my own, and if the person calling herself “Vegaroo” ever does see this, it is all my own words and thoughts, leave Red alone.
Discrimination is never funny. Yet some people still don’t realise that.
The Western Suburbs of Sydney has often been stereotyped in the media as the “wild west” the “badlands” the “dodgy” and the barely educated, full of knuckle-dragging, xenophobic rednecks, with an inability to pronounce a “th” sound. … Either that, or boring. They can’t seem to make up their minds whether they want to depict the Western Suburbs as dangerous or dull… If it is dangerous, then it probably isn’t boring.
What is even more surprising is when outsiders perpetuate these stereotypes. Classifying a whole range of people – several million, depending on what your idea is of “west”, is without a doubt discrimination. You are judging people without knowing them based on perceived characteristic. And all discrimination is hatred.
Imagine my surprise to see this post on Twitter recently
If the picture is not clear that tweet says: “Vegan food worth braving suburbia for: Fountain in Baulkham Hills”
Baulkham Hills is also known as Sydneys Bible belt, home to one of the largest churches in Australia – Hillsong, not only that, but the most recent median house price for Baulkham Hills is $642,000 and the median unit price is $492,500.
Yes, it takes a very “brave” person to go to the suburbs full of cashed-up evangelical Christians. Ooh scary, scary stuff. You might accidentally get prayed at with a hail of psalms. Very brave indeed. My heart bleeds that this inner city hipster crossed the bridge, and dared to venture to the wild, wild west (and survived to blog about it!). Did they let her back in to her Eastern Suburb enclave? Oh the jubilation her family must have felt at her safe return.
Her comment was a bit harsh, unnecessary, and a stereotype that people in the west thought we had long left behind in the 70s. After all, we are educated. In fact I went to school at Mt Druitt, I have a science degree. I live in a nice house. I am not on social security. I don’t own Ugg boots. I served my country.
The idea that only people in the inner cities are vegan might come as a complete shock to most vegans, well those who live in the inner cities, and the fact that we do have some restaurants that don’t come with a bonus drive-through window and plastic sporks might also shock some narrow-minded people who like to make judgments about millions of people they don’t know.
I would be really disappointed if I ever found out that the “bravery” required was a consequence of the large number of non-Anglo, and people born overseas that live here.
When RedGlitter pointed out that this wasn’t a fair assessment, “@vegaroo I didnt realise there was something wrong with suburbia” the person calling herself “Vegaroo” tried to explain:
If the picture is not clear that tweet says: “I mean, anyone outside the CBD lives in a “suburb”, right? Just some are more exciting than others.”
So, by way of explanation of needing to “brave” the dangerous suburbs, she says some places are more exciting than others. Is this another way of saying “F### You Westies, you’re boring as hell”?
Ah, now it all makes sense – this inner city trendy wasn’t braving the dangerous suburbs, she was braving the boredom! How do several million people manage to live in the suburbs without killing ourselves just to brighten up our days? How do we wake up each morning, go about our daily lives and not simply stand still and gaze in awe at the brilliantly exciting people who live in the east.
Millions of people choosing to live in the suburbs without feeling the need to pack up their McMansion and flee to the bright lights and never-ending excitement of the Big City, I’m sure would come a surprise to some, but there are a handful of us who actually like it out here.
She went on to further explain…
And this one:
If these two pictures are not clear the tweets says words such as “misunderstanding…. tongue in cheek… (inadvertantly) offensive… good-natured teasing“.
It is only good natured teasing if the object of your bad joke also thinks it’s funny. I’m sure you will find examples of lots of people who think your discrimination is funny, but as a vegan, you would know that billions of people also eat animals, and that doesn’t make it right either. People don’t always see discrimination when they are the ones perpetrating it.
Yes, and here is some more good-natured teasing for you, my dear narrow-minded, petty, judgmental, hateful, patronising vegan friend, I always think it is hilariously side-splittingly, thigh-slappingly funny when people presume to make judgments about others people, describing it brave to visit them and then describing them as boring, based on something as trivial as postcodes.
And, yes, when you presume to make judgments about people, I always find that (inadvertently) discrimination and when you think you are doing them a favour by joking about that discrimination, I find that (inadvertently) patronising.
And then in the final post of breath-taking insular self-centredness, came out with this gem in response to someone else…
If the picture is not clear that tweet says in part ““we vegans need to stick together”“.
Laughable, just because someone calls themselves vegan, does not mean that I will automatically give them my allegiance. I am vegan because I don’t agree with discrimination. Discrimination against people of different ethnicity is called “racism”, discrimination against another gender is called “sexism”, discrimination against animals is called “specism”, and apparently to some vegans, discrimination based on geography is called a joke.
And while animals exist for their own reasons, and not for food, clothing and entertainment of humans, people in the Western Suburbs exist also for their own reasons, and not to be the punchline of bad jokes of people who think there is some sort of bravery required to venture into the suburbs.
Twitter should be a place of happiness not hate, positive people not judgmental people. I have stopped following you on twitter, so feel free to spread as much (inadvertent) discrimination as would give you laughs, because thankfully, I will never see it.
This is my last word on this subject, except for this last thing, I think your hypocrisy is outstanding – you are petty and patronising, judgmental, and narrow-minded, discriminatory and nasty and insulting, then with amazingly breathless insularity say “we vegans need to stick together”. You hurl the insults freely then ask for the allegiance of others because they share veganism with you. Maybe it is best if you don’t come to the Western Suburbs anymore, you can keep your patronising over in the East where your kind call it humour.
And, while I never saw you called hateful, at least on twitter I did not, I do think ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION ARE BASED ON HATE or Fear.
And if anyone at all, ever reads this, it is all just “good-natured teasing” no (inadvertent) offense intended.
For more information on who this person is… http://twitter.com/wonderyort