When it comes to stuff like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, I’ve found it’s usually way better to think to yourself ‘I don’t want to be’ than ‘I’m not’.

I.e. if someone goes ‘that thing you just did is ableist’, instead of going ‘I’m not ableist, I don’t hate disabled people!’ it’s usually a lot better to go ‘I don’t want to be ableist, I should rethink what I’m doing/saying/etc in light of that fact’. Because that shifts your thinking so rather than jumping straight into denial and attempts to defend your character, you’re instead more inclined to look at how your actions could be misrepresenting your intentions. Or whether you’ve overlooked something, been callous, or acted in ignorance.

“I’ve found it’s usually way better to think to yourself ‘I don’t want to be’ than ‘I’m not’.”

That’s just way more workable. Having grown up in the rural south in the mid-20th Century my head is still full of crap that was poured into it. About race. About sex and gender. About religion. About class. And while it’s easy enough to filter for the blatant shit — my parents were progressive and conscientious — and while I work pretty damn hard to mine out the rest, a week doesn’t go by when I don’t catch a stray thought and go “woah, where did that come from?”

I don’t want to be a racist. Or a misogynist. Or a xenophobe. Or a homophobe. Or any of the other social phobias I was indoctrinated with.

If I were to say instead that I simply wasn’t, then I’d have to argue that any inherited slip wasn’t “that bad.”

As intersectionality continues to grow, as it needs to, it will grow increasingly likely that anyone who says “I’m not” is probably going to be mistaken.