Tuesday, 17 April 2012

My tall, straight, white friend

I had a great conversation with my tall, straight, white friend's short, teenage, black son over the weekend. We were discussing people who romantically prefer people of the same gender. I've ranted before about this classification of people by their sexual preference and recently about 'firsts' - being the first to do something and how silly the classifications can be.

In reassuring my young friend that if, along the way, he meets a guy who does it for him, then that it is A-ok I also broached how it was not correct to classify people according to sexual preference, even when introducing / speaking about them.

We don't say, "I'm having lunch with my friend tomorrow, the one who likes his wife to spank him" but we do say, "I had dinner last night with my friend, the gay one". What makes this ok?

Just as we say, "I went for a run with my friend this morning" and not "I went for a run with my tall, white friend this morning". A classification is not warranted.

I've just seen a post by First Ascent on Facebook. They're congratulating Sibusiso Vilane on his recent North Pole achievement. This completes his 'Three Poles' conquest (Mt Everest, South Pole and North Pole). The post reads:
Performance tester Sibusiso Vilane arrived at the North Pole Thursday 12 April 2012. This was the final hurdle to becoming the first black person to complete the Three Poles Challenge, having already conquered the South Pole and Mount Everest. It was Sibu’s Goliath Challenge. Well done Lion man...You are making the lizard proud!!!!
Obviously this post got my fingers itching. It's a neat achievement regardless of ethnicity. This is a terrible habit.

Looking at expedition stats on Explorers Web - you do get stats for oldest and youngest and first (overall, men and women) but you don't get listed for being the first Greek woman, Thai man, black, coloured, Asian, South African born or gay.

The achievement is an achievement and that really is enough.


Lobby said...

Generally people like to keep others in neat little boxes, defined by race, occupation, sexual preference, religion etc... because that is comfortable and easier to "process" despite the fact that one is defined by a sum of parts and not by only one aspect of your "make up" I guess we're all guilty of it in varying degrees.

adventurelisa said...

Lobs - you're quite right. It is something we have to be conscious of and in this way avoid packing people into boxes.