I've been struck by nastygrammers several times in the four and a half months I've been live with social media. It's not surprising. I have strong viewpoints and express them directly. And let's face it, I'm brown, queer, and trans; my mere existence meets resistance. To not expect hatemail is utterly unrealistic. Yet, it is the type of hatemail I receive that is particularly vexing.
"Let me tell you how backwards and non-inclusive you are by saying..."
This is the kind of accusation I am saddled with from people I refer to as Beckys. A Becky will consider themself forward-thinking, progressive, liberal even, frequently voicing a belief in equality for All People, with an emphasis on All. Becky can intellectually acknowledge that there is some injustice in the world. Yet, the key defining feature of a Becky is the inability, or absolute refusal, to recognize when they are perpetuating the same discrimination they condemn. And yes, the name Becky is intentional. All of my nastygrammers have been White.
*Disclaimer: D.L. Cordero acknowledges that not all Rebeccas are created equally.*
Beckys come for me when I'm being Pro-My-Damn-Self, taking it upon themselves to feel attacked by my Pro-People of Color, Pro-Queer, and Pro-Trans stances. Keep in mind that I have not used "anti" speech, as in Anti-White, Anti-Straight, or Anti-Cisgender. But when I draw attention to the inequities that I've experienced, Beckys want to correct me using their gilded All.
Example A: There is nothing inherently beautiful about being transgender. We're all beautiful.
Example B: All lives matter.
Example C: Not all *insert identity here* are bad (I admittedly have been a Becky and used this one before. Thank god someone called me out on it so I can stop being such a jackass).
Example A is the most recent Becky-ing to hit my social media. This comment came in response to my vehement assertion that transgender people are beautiful while introducing my Trans-Proud series, DURING Pride month. Seriously, a non-binary person can't say they're beautiful during their own month without a Becky jumping all over them. Seriously.
Why you gotta be the center of attention all the damn time, Becky?
I am not fragile. I have been thrown out of people's houses for being Brown, been called evil and gotten prayer/exorcism hands laid on me by family for being queer, denied service for being married to a woman, denied medical care for not being 'trans-enough.' I've endured worst things than Becky. But Example A is just so petty, I can't stop myself from addressing it. To say transgender people are beautiful is not the same as saying cisgender people are ugly. To say Black Lives Matter, is not to say White people are trash. Come on, Becky, chances are you're college educated. Put all that book-learning to some use and self-reflect on the prejudices inherent in your protestations.
A metaphor to illustrate my point further. Imagine a table. It's a foldable, white, plastic table. I empty a pouch of pens onto said table and one of them falls to the floor. I pick up the pen so that it is no longer on the floor. Have I therefore indicated that this is the only pen that matters? Has my attempt at rectifying this wrong now made all the other pens worthless?
Sit down, Becky. The answer is no.
My metaphor is intentionally overly simplistic, because honestly, the Becky-ing is overly simplistic. Yet, what lies beneath the All speech is insidious--the intention to silence. Insisting that I say everyone is beautiful draws attention away from the undervaluing, invalidation and discrimination trans* people face. Countering Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter draws attention away from the very real violence and inequity Black people face. A problem must be identified and acknowledged if it is to be bettered. Being silent about it does nothing.
No, no, I insist, Becky. Silence on injustice does not resolve injustice.
I know what I am writing. I am not sorry. And I will not be quiet.
Ok. I think I've balanced my petty with enough substance to be satisfied now. In case you're wondering, I delete Becky comments from my feed, so you won't find them if you go looking. At least you won't now. Who knows? Maybe I'll become so well known that I can't keep up with deleting them. But right now, I delete Becky chatter because I want my media to uplift the underrepresented. I want the marginalized to be encouraged by my words, not reminded of the asshats that are hurting them. And I want allies to join in on the cause, able to find a place where they can uplift others too, not counter the Beckys all day.
So please, let's just take a second and reflect. Let's notice if we're being Beckys to somebody in some way. A blind spot is a blind spot only as long as you leave the blinders on. And be forewarned, Becky, the next time you come for me, know that I am a writer and I will succinctly and eloquently kill you off in my next Slay Saturday story (cough, shameless plug).