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  • Jamie McCarthy

Just Because We’re Tired of Hearing About Something Doesn’t Stop it From Causing Harm.

29th October 2016.


Bored Now

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how we get bored of unpleasant things? How empathy only lasts for a while.

We can extend our understanding to someone who was sexually abused when they’re younger, but when that same thing causes them to play out or up in some way when they’re older we just call them criminals.

Same with poverty.

Same with racism.

Or historical abuses like slavery, or the British genocide of Irish people in the period so inaccurately labelled ‘famine’ … the criminalisation of deviant sexualities, the heavy policing and punishing of non-conforming gender identities, the stigmatisation of mental illness, disability, sexism … the list goes on and on … things that take many generations to heal even when there has been a positive move towards healing, let alone when it’s been ignored. Yet, we become bored of it:

‘Oh, haven’t they got over that yet?’

‘They’re just a drug addict.’

‘They don’t help themselves – nobody else can do it for them.’

‘Going on about it just alienates people.’

‘We can accept refugees when they’re children, but the adults need to take responsibility for themselves.’

‘They’re flooding our country.’ (Bored of the fact that ‘our country’ had a hand in making them people who need to seek a new safe place to be – ‘That was ages ago – they have to start taking responsibility for themselves.’)

We get bored, bored, bored … we want to forget … we want to make the person suffering and in pain a ‘bad person’. The boredom leads to blaming people for their bad situations:

‘That person is mentally ill’ – nothing to do with the fact that they’re coping with an insane situation.

‘Why can’t they get over it? – They really just need to get hold of themselves and come to their senses. Stop blaming other people. The first step is empowering yourself – taking control of your life.’

We lose patience, we get bored when people have never been given the resources or the support to do such a thing can’t empower themselves. The historical deficit is ignored in favour of being bored … bored of those whingers who can’t get their lives together. Who can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Of course, I know one a one-to-one level it’s hard always to remain understanding when someone’s personally causing you some kind of harm: I’m not suggesting that on a personal-level any of us could be that ‘perfect’, but on a societal level we need to develop a longer-term, deeper view of these things – we need to stop ‘being bored’ of the long-term effects that abuse and exploitation of any kind have on people. Just because we’re tired of hearing about something doesn’t stop it from being there – doesn’t stop it hurting.

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