Intersectionality on Diversity

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Before we start: This is not an opinion, this is some sort of an discussion I made. Tbh, it’s not even essay/discussion. It’s more of a question I have to you guys, the readers. While diversity has been one of the main principle in my country, the application is very different from the theory, in a negative way. Since diversity is also a main topic recently, I really want to know what do you think of the things below. If you’re disagree or want to give your thoughts, please do it in civilised manner that will not offend anyone. If you feel offended by someone’s comment or parts of this post, please let me know and I’ll take down the comment or try to clarify my point. Thank you for reading this super long disclaimer.

Now let’s get started.

Diversity has been source of heated debate lately, especially within the book community. Earlier this year, there was this discussion about The Song of Achilles. Some people said that TSoA is problematic because [SPOILER] it killed both gay main characters[SPOILER ENDS]. Other argues that since it’s a retelling of greek myth, changing the ending would be disrespecful to the greeks, and the deaths are caused because they were at war instead of because they were gay. This thread explains more.

I understand both sides of LGBT people and the greeks. On one side, LGBT community has really high death rates, and it could be harmful and triggering to read TSoA, not to mention the existence of the “bury your gays” trope. On the other side, TSoA is based on Illiad, a story that is well-known as a tragedy, existed since before time, and changing the ending would be really disrespectful to greek culture. This thread explained exactly what I want to say.

This is what I want to discuss about today. When talking about diversity, most of the times, rarely we discuss cross-dimension aspect of diversity. There are a lot of diversity: cultural, religion, race, lgbt, and many more. When it intersects, each side will have their own points. Each group has rights to have their stories heard. So does picking one side making you not a diversity advocate?

This could also happen in real life. Not all countries are as liberal or as open-minded as the US. Many are still conservative and under heavy influence of either values/religions. You support diversity. You do. But you also believe in your faith or values or whatever it is you’ve known since the beginning of time. They shaped you to be who you are. They are the things your family, society or country surrounds you with. And it make you can’t support some groups of diversity, even though you support the others. Does that make you an non diversity supporter?

We easily label someone -phobic just because they are undecided or wavering about their support toward certain groups. The definition of -phobic, according to merriam-webster is “of, relating to, or having an extremely strong fear or dislike of someone or something“. These people aren’t being hostile or (physicaly) harm anyone, they are just unsure about their stance. They will support the social rights, because hey, the quality of your work, rights to get health care, ability of having a family and rising a kid aren’t defined by who you are. Regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, religion, or ethnicity, everyone deserves to be treated the same. Those undecided people will stand up for you, but deep down they are unsure. So are they not diversity ally because they do not support one group, even though they support the others? Does that mean they are a -phobic?

There are also some people chose to be indifferent. They aren’t actively disagreeing, they don’t join rallies, do violence, and many more. They only passively disagreeing, which can also counts as passively agreeing since they won’t voice their opinion anyways. As my friend said, one can just stay silent because they do not want to cause harm to their fellow humans and society or they can stay silent because fighting for diversity like say, LGBT, is something that is prohibited in their religion/ value. They just do nothing. Does that making them a non-ally?

To conclude, my questions are: Is diversity is an all or nothing stand? Does supporting one group but being indifferent to the others will make you a non-diversity ally? Does being undecided make you a non-ally? What should we do then when we come across two opposite spectrum in diversity?


15 thoughts on “Intersectionality on Diversity

  1. Well I’m a Classicist, so there is no way I would say that a book about Patroclus and Achilles could end any other way than their tragic deaths. I just think that reading shows a terrific misunderstanding of art in general- let alone how nonsensical it is in the context of Greek mythology (spoiler alert: people die in pretty much every tragedy). Sometimes I can be fair and say both sides have a point… but on this, there’s just no way.
    But otherwise I really agree with your stance in this post- just because someone is not an “ally” does not make them an enemy by any stretch of the imagination- it is too easy to label someone as “phobic” rather than listen to their point of view and understand they usually don’t mean any harm- and actually does more harm than good. I think it is worthwhile to give someone the benefit of the doubt unless they are going out of their way to harm others (and I think there are pretty strict circumstances when this is the case- ie being violent- rather than just saying something we may disagree with). And who knows, maybe if people are more tolerant of diversity of opinion, people will be won over.
    Sorry for the long comment- especially for going on so much about Greek culture- that’s a subject I’m very passionate about!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a classicist, but I’m also passionate about mythology and I agreed- it’s a tragedy for a reason. And yes, maybe if we try to listen to them and tell them level-headedly instead of attacking them, people can change their opinion. I think we all can agree attacking and labelling someone -phobic actually do no good.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. For the specific case of TSoA, which I haven’t read, I lean toward the Classicist side of things because I believe retellings should remain true to the original story on certain plot points. When you’re dealing with a tragedy, it needs to end tragically and in a way that respects the original story. If it’s Cinderella, there better be a search for the girl who ran away from the ball. I also understand the comments about LGBT community’s representation, but this is a retelling.

      Otherwise, I agree with you about allies and the label “phobic.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is definitely an interesting question Tasya! I think it’s okay to take time to decide on what your viewpoint is, because it’s so hard to change what you’ve always grown up with or known. But people shouldn’t be demonised on the fact that they’re still undecided about it. Also spoiler warning for Songs of Achilles! Hehe.


    1. Exactly, thank you! It’s hard to change what you grow up with or doubt what you believe in, it can be a shock even to the person, so we shouldn’t be so quick to label and judge them. Yeah, sorry about that, totally missed it. Thanks for pointing it out, already edited, and I hope I don’t spoil you anything!😓😓😓


  3. Eeep, I really wish you’d done a spoiler warning for Song of Achilles…I knew one of them died, but not both so that’s kind of disappointing because I have that on my TBR and beings spoiled is disappointing. 😥

    But it’s a good discussion! I do think you can’t really support one sort of diversity or a minority group and not the rest. I feel like the crux of supporting diversity is saying that everyone is worthwhile and loved and human and deserves respect. So I can’t see how we could, like, support LGBT+ people but then not those with disabilities. You know? I think being an ally is about loving equally. SO YEAH. But I do think it’s complicated when it comes to active supporting at times, for like even personal health issues or risking losing everything from family/religion. So it’s not a black-and-white-one-answer-fits-all there, I don’t think.


    1. SO SORRY! I totally forgot😫😫😫 I’ll be more careful in the future Cait, sorry about that! That’s a good point about diversity being every human deserves respect and equal, but again like you said, it’s not really black-and-white straight answer especially when supporting it means a lot at stake.


  4. I personally feel like diversity is an all or nothing thing because diversity is about representing all cultural groups, sexualities, religions, genders and so on and so forth. It’s kinda hard to be an advocate for everyone getting representation, while being indifferent or hateful towards a group? I do get why some people struggle with accepting some things, especially when it has to do with a religion or ideology they were raised on. It’s hard to turn your back on something that has been so ingrained in you since childhood.


  5. I think that people have the right to take time to figure out their stances on things like LGBT. It’s easy to say, “Yes, you must support everyone and go out and fight for equality!” but the reality is that some people’s views on these issues are complex and sometimes being silent is okay. Now, obviously I don’t advocate being hurtful toward anyone or standing up for those who are, but I think that if you’re still figuring out where you stand (especially when religion and culture are involved), it’s okay to take the time to do that. One way that you can broaden your horizons is by reading books that show the POV of LGBT people so that you can understand them more.


  6. You pose some really good, interesting questions. If diversity is about including all these different groups and cultures and religions and values (that don’t always agree on everything), is it intolerant to force one group’s beliefs on another? Or to call someone who disagrees with you bigoted or x-phobic? That sounds like the opposite of diversity – like we’re trying to squeeze everyone into the same homogeneous thought box (you can think anything you want as long as you agree with me).

    I think there’s sometimes a conflation of “acceptance” and “agreement.” Believing that everyone has value and should be treated with respect doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with or support everything they do, right? (For a silly sports example, just because I accept that you’re a diehard Cowboys fan doesn’t mean I have to agree they’re the best and/or support them?)

    In the book industry, I think someone can agree that more diversity of reading options is good without necessarily agreeing with the content of every book published. Reading is subjective and people respond differently to different books. While the hope might be that everyone will pick up and love all these different books, people are allowed to like or dislike different things. We (generally) accept those differences for food, genres, film, religion and even politics. But if we want to draw lines in the sand and divide people into “us,” “them,” “other,” etc., there are certainly plenty of differences with which to do it. Great topic, Tasya!


  7. You pose really good questions, although I can’t even begin to try to answer them. I honestly don’t know. I definitely agree that people should be given time to decide how they feel, because being bullied into being for diversity kind of beats the point. And even if they support one group and not another, it’s still partly a win. It’s everyone’s personally struggle of beliefs, so especially if they won’t do any harm, won’t attack those other groups, it’s still better than nothing. I’m always one of those people who considers the smaller evil.


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