Beth Bernobich

by johnathanknight

She’s a writer, published by Tor, and she seemed nice enough.  I came across her on a writing site and was mostly impressed with the way she made an effort to give back to the community.  It was normal to find her critiquing stories by newer writers, and I applaud that kind of involvement.  So I followed her for a while on social media.  I took note of her tweets, and I read her occasional facebook post.

But most of what she had to say outside of the writing arena didn’t capture my attention.  Have you ever met a negative person?  Do you know the type?  The complainer.  The person who seems to have a migraine every day of the week and is hell-bent intent on letting you know.  She used her skill at writing to explain every throb and pain in her life, and she wallowed, and she mewled about all the people who ever let her down.  Well, it’s really not fair to say all the people who let her down.  It was all the men who let her down.

Over time, my opinion of her matured.  Originally, I looked up to her, thinking well of her.  Then I frowned as I found her mostly annoying.  And now, well, it finally occurs to me that I’m so sad for her.  My opinion may only be worth as much as the next fellow’s garbage, but I’m convinced she doesn’t actually hate men.  I don’t think she trusts men.  She fears them, and inside, I’m guessing she’s small, vulnerable, and uncertain.  Like a lot of us, really.

And that makes me sad.  Sad, because this kind of feeling doesn’t come from nowhere.  Life can be terrible sometimes, and sometimes having the fortitude to weather it means we have to leave a jagged piece of our esteem behind.

Anyway, what’s the point of this blog post?  Recently, I disagreed with Beth on the subject of white privilege.  She directed a tweet at me…

@JohnathanKnight If you really care about women and minorities, stop wailing about “points of view”. Listen and learn. @jimchines

…but I didn’t respond.  So, in a small way, this is my response, inelegant as it may be.

Notice the way I’m directed to learn.  Is this a back and forth conversation or a lecture?  There’s something disturbing about fanatics, about folks so convinced they’re right that they refuse to challenge their thoughts.  Consider this for a moment: how easy is it to listen yourself when you’re so anxious to teach and lecture?

In an equal world, I figure folks are capable of both listening and disagreeing.  Believe it or not, I’ve listened.  I’ve considered, and I’ve heard.

And I disagree.