Monday, April 25, 2016

Lived Experiences Are Valid

I write a lot about my own experiences and personal observations on this blog. I think this makes sense, seeing as it's my personal blog. Which I created. With a URL that I purchased.

But one of the most common complaints I get from people whom I'm sure have no ulterior motive to come to my blog to bother me is that I don't back up everything I say with "scientific evidence." This is a common phenomenon, actually, experienced by many bloggers and writers who aren't cishet white men and who say anything that could be interpreted as criticizing cishet white men and the culture they've created.

I've had people demand sources from me on the most obvious and agreeable shit. I could say that more men engage in catcalling than women and some douchenozzle will come and say "source?" I could say that historically, more black people have been slaves in the U.S. than white people and somebody would demand a peer-reviewed scientific study backing that up. I've made statements that couldn't possibly be backed up by data and still people demand data from me. Someone will probably demand a source backing up my observation that people ask for sources on ridiculous shit.

It's the most annoying derail attempt as well as an attempt to deflect any responsibility to even consider what marginalized people have to say. And I know this because I've experienced it myself over and over, and even when I do provide scientific studies to back up what I say, you know what the next step is? The study isn't good enough. It's not a double-blind peer-reviewed replicated 5000 times study. Nevermind the fact that double-blind studies on sociological and cultural phenomena are impossible or at the very least highly unethical/illegal. Nevermind that no study in the universe is perfect, double-blind or not.

These people have no clue how science actually works. Here's a tip for everyone in existence - "scientific fact" is not a real thing. There is no fact. Only things that have yet to be disproved. Hell, recently scientists have found that some kind of warp engine-like thing that shouldn't work based on some very important laws of physics somehow works every time they test it in a vacuum. So.

Then there's the observable truth that every writer in the universe has written some shit about their lived experiences, but not all of them get pummeled with demands for scientific data. I hopped onto the New York Times website this morning and in the op-ed section easily found an article by a conservative old white dude talking about his observations and lived experiences among his conservative friends and in the Republican party.

The piece could very well be construed as an attack upon people who are very passionate about their politics and consider their values important enough to end friendships over. I wonder if the same people who are coming to me all concerned about sources also bother men like Peter Wehner in every one of his op-ed pieces, demanding sources confirming that some people end friendships over politics or that these occurrences are more common this year because of Donald Trump? Looking over the comments section for this article, I'd have to say no. HMMMMMM.

Maybe not every statement about a personal observation needs to be backed up by science. Maybe science isn't actually the epitome of truth. Maybe sourcemongers should find a better way to remain entrenched in their worldview, I dunno. I'm no scientist.

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