I’ve seen the idea of unity come up a lot this week. I’ve written about unity before, but I have some more words to write about it since it seems to be such a big thing.
A particular call for unity stands out to me:
“We’re all on the same page. We should be working together.”
I don’t think we are on the same page. I’m not even sure that we’re reading the same book!
- People, who call for unity, suggest that we volunteer our time when we call out organisations for their rubbish, harmful, hurtful fundraising or awareness campaigns. Why should we volunteer our time? Why do the Real People (TM) get to be paid for “helping us” but we’re supposed to do it for free?
- People, who call for unity, want to put us into boxes – both literally and figuratively. Literally, they want to put us in boxes! Figuratively, they say things like “well, if you just worked harder at fitting in, then we could accept you.”
- People, who call for unity, want very, very different things than we do. They may think that they want the same thing as we do. Very often, they’re trying to solve the same problem – the problem of our lack of acceptance in society. But, the huge difference is that their proposed solutions are the opposite of ours.
They want unity but they don’t want to work with us. They want us to work with them. They want us to stop being so angry when we demand the rights that we deserve as humans. They want us to stop talking out against the harmful stuff that they’re doing because they have good intentions, and they think that they know best how they will help us. They don’t want to listen to what we want. They want to tell us what we should want.
How can we possibly unify with them?
And, yes, I have intentionally othered those people by insisting on calling them “they” because that is what I hear about myself and my friends on a regular basis. If you’re reading this, you might not fall into the category of “they” because there are a number of parents and professionals that do listen to us, that are on the same page as us because they’re reading from the same book as us. But, those brilliant parents and professionals: I’ve never once seen them call for unity. I’ve never seen them tell us what we should do or say, or how we should do or say it. I’ve seen them supporting us by telling people to listen to us. So, if you want to call for unity, please consider what you’re asking us to give up first. Please consider why unity cannot happen until people start listening to us. You don’t have to always agree with us, but listen to what we’re asking for. Listen to what we’re saying and then maybe you’ll understand why we baulk at the idea of unity.
If you’re still unsure of why I’m saying that we’re not that interested in unity, please start with this powerful piece of writing.
So, no, we’re not on the same page.