Pointing out small-scale problems does not diminish one’s capacity for tackling large-scale problems. In fact, small-scale problems are born out of the larger ones, they feed into the larger ones, they keep those larger ones intact and acceptable to mainstream society.

Every rape joke makes a rapist feel more comfortable amongst zir peers, and a victim less comfortable speaking up. Every racial stereotype on a TV show or in a macro on tumblr helps make every 3D person of color feel that much more 2D and invisible, makes that kid not want to speak up in class, makes that girl feel ugly, makes that bigot feel more welcome. Every “no-homo” in a music lyric or a standup act makes a queer person that much more afraid to be who they really are. Every “durr, that’s retarded” in general conversation reinforces a society where people with disabilities are dehumanized and reduced to an illness.

Every time some hipster wears a headdress or talks about their spirit animals, that contributes to a climate that makes it harder for colonized cultures to hold onto the few shreds of identity, of dignity, that haven’t already been stripped from them, assimilated and commodified, because it’s not like there is no history of this literally, tangibly happening to civilization after civilization after civilization. It’s not like it isn’t still happening.

If you don’t understand how these “small, insignificant, nitpicky” things can build on each other, can chip away at a person and a community, congratulations. You are goddamn lucky. But you should, you know, try to understand. Because you live in a world with other people in it.

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