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comment by bioemerl
bioemerl  ·  2451 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives

I just modified my comment a bit.

Yes, every life lost is horrible, but these are 50 people I do not know, in situations all over the country. 50 people is a tiny number among 300 million. Their lives are absolutely important, but I don't care unless I am close to or know them, just like I don't care about the 50 people who die every single day of the year to murder alone. That's about two per hour.

The issues trans people face are bad, sure, but it's no societal plight, and I can't be asked to care about something that is so super tiny compared to the many other issues facing society today. It's 50 people.

Frankly, I said the same thing about the 4 who died in the London bombings. Yeah, people are important and all losses are bad, but the reaction people have to 4 deaths is like going into a crying sobbing fit when you realize the restaurant is out of mayo for your sandwich.

Lives are important, and should be preserved, but we don't live in a world where the resources with which we can use to improve ourselves and save lives and improve lives are unlimited.

I can save 50 lives by going out in my community and feeding the homeless. I can save 50 lives by joining a support line for suicide. If I want to see a sweeping social trend, it needs to be saving thousands of lives, even tens of thousands. Not 50. Cultural pushes like this should be against the ever-rising abuse of opioids, or against repressive practices that lead people to hide away their suicide, or other means, or for healthcare, or for a thousand other BIG issues that effect millions, not hundreds.

How many do I save if I devote my time and effort to changing perceptions on trans people? A fifth of a life? A hundredth? Zero?

All lives are important, but you are one guy in a sea of millions. We matter, but we really aren't very significant in the scheme of things.

    Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015

50 v 33,000

Yeah, those 50 matter, but if they matter just as much as everyone else than they really don't matter.

ButterflyEffect  ·  2451 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Really my issue with your analysis is looking at bulk numbers instead of proportions of the population, which end up being roughly an order of magnitude difference between the proportion of trans population murdered in 2015 (smaller) compared to the proportion of opioid users killed via overdoes in 2015 (larger). Does bridge the gap quite a bit compared to the bulk but, if you're judging your reaction based on number/proportion of people killed, opioids still "win".

bioemerl  ·  2451 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm a member of society, not the transgender community. I do not care if a group is getting murdered a whole lot more than other groups if that group has absolutely no impact on my life or any of the structures I rely on every day.

We can and should promote the social progress that enables trans people to live happy healthy lives. A lot of people are reduced to nothing because of how they are treated, and could be so much more than they could today. A change in the way society looks at them would solve those murders along with promoting and progressing the freedom of all people. I'm not saying trans issues aren't important in general, because the general progression of social views is a hell of a lot bigger than the trans community.

But phrase the issue to me as "oh no, 50 people died and because the trans community is so small it's like they have a huge portion of their group being murdered" I'm not going to care, because it just doesn't matter to me at all. Whoever they are, 50 people are 50 people, and the loss of their lives is not more significant because they are part of a minority group.

ButterflyEffect  ·  2451 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh, so you just have no empathy and don't give a shit about anything that doesn't directly impact you. Okay, exiting this conversation.

bioemerl  ·  2450 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have empathy, but empathy is something that is triggered when you look at someone sad and dying on the streets, not numbers and abstract concepts. Empathy keeps us from murdering one another, it keeps us helping those who are sick, because we feel their pain when we see them.

What you refer to is not empathy, but "social requirement to express empathy based on abstract concept." I will not claim to feel something I don't, and I think all of the people out there who work themselves up with all their "empathy" on things like this are telling a lie, and a dangerous one at that.

Until we understand that people really don't care when you present them with statistics like this, that our empathy is not this thing that persists in our entire world and thoughts, we will never recognize that we can't rely on it to kick in when dealing with the "big picture." We cannot rely on empathy. It can be overridden by as little as fear of standing out from your group, or the orders of authority. It can be turned to hatred and scorn that leads to genocide. We must rely on knowing how we think, how we act, and arranging our society so that it works as well as possible using that fact, rather than denying it exists.

Empathy doesn't back all human action, and it shouldn't. If it did, we'd have gone extinct long ago when we were starving in an ice age and refused to put our own lives over that of the cute animals we'd have to kill for meat.