Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not all people like the "not all" campaign

The "not all" campaigns really irk me. (ie. Not all men are wife beaters, not all Muslims are terrorists, not all police officers are racist assholes etc etc etc). Seems like, whenever a negative behavior makes continuous headlines (Ray Rice, ISIS, Ferguson), a "not all" campaign pops up around it. And, while the intentions are likely good (attempting to provide some sort of balance, let's say), I think "not all" campaigns can be detrimental.

The reasons the "not all" craze gives me hives are two-fold.

1. If you have to be told that "not all" of any group - sex, race, class, faith - is or is not something? Then you're a moron. Or at least behaving like one. Because no group of people is homogenous. NO GROUP OF PEOPLE IS HOMOGENOUS. Know it. Own it. Just because most serial killers are white dudes doesn't mean all white dudes are serial killers. Obvious. Easy. No one should have to point this out for you. If they do? Refer back to my "moron" statement.

2. It marginalizes major issues. Because while "not all" men beat their wives, some do. And it's a problem. And it needs to be addressed. Saying "not all" men do it is both obvious and not AT all helpful in the fight against domestic violence. You want to help battle domestic violence? Acknowledge it's a problem, and start helping victims. Start battling the ideologies that lend themselves to domestic violence. Lead by example. Teach your kids not to hit. Don't just go around saying "Not all men beat their wives." Because that - while accurate - does nothing to solve the problem.

The same holds true for all other examples. While "not all" Muslims are terrorists, radical Islamic militants are promoting a hateful doctrine and hurting people in many parts of the world. And that's a problem. And it needs to be addressed. Saying "Not all Muslims..." doesn't address or counter the teachings of ISIS. It doesn't save lives. So let's come up with something that does. Likewise, "not all" cops are racist assholes. But some are, and that's a problem - a problem that needs addressing and not just "not all" platitudes. The list goes on and on.

Look - if you're attempting to offer some sort of reminder that there's a danger in categorizing all people by the few, I get it. I honestly do. But a "not all" campaign doesn't solve any problem under the sun. It merely states the obvious and does nothing to rectify real issues. So instead of insisting you or your friends and family aren't part of the problem (because really, that's all the "not all" campaigns are doing - Don't look at me/my friends/my family! We're not wife beaters, terrorists, racist asshole serial killers!), how about conceptualizing strategies to help address these problems?

Because if we can raise awareness/condemnation of domestic violence and commence with stamping out the ideologies that promote it, then perhaps we can make major strides in eradicating the problem. And if the problem is gone then guess what - no need for a "not all" campaign. Same holds true for every example - rectify the issue, no need for the slogan.

I know "not all" of you are gonna agree with me. But then again, I didn't expect you to.

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