On benchmarks (and who gets to set them)

This post was first published on my personal Facebook page and written in response to this insightful quote by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

And this is why setting what white people/men/rich people/straight people think about racism/sexism/poverty/homophobia (respectively) as the benchmark for what isn't acceptable simply makes no sense.

If you are white, you simply don't know what true racism feels like and what the subtleties involved are. So don't pretend like you do and just listen.

If you are a man, you simply don't know what sexism, misogyny or the many things it results in feel like. Not really. So don't dismiss them because you don't think they're real. Observe, listen and try to make a change.

If you are rich (or even middle/upper middle class) and have never been poor, don't pretend to know how big of an impact it has on every aspect of one's life. Try to empathise and pay your taxes and don't whine about it. Inequality helps no one.

If you are straight, you simply don't know how confusing and difficult it must be to be seen as different, often treated as less (or even wrong) just because nature - yes, nature - decided to have you love the same sex. So keep to yourself (what someone does in their bedroom is simply none of your business) and treat everyone with respect and humanity.

True empathy means challenging one's own perspective by putting oneself in someone else's shoes, even if it feels uncomfortable and puts your own privileges on full display.

On bilingualism (and why it's better)

On sorrow (in response to the 2015 Paris attacks)