Marginalisation, discrimination, and the fear of being a hashtag

We’ve seen it happen countless times in recent years. A person from a marginalised demographic (usually BIPOC, disabled, or a combination of the two) is murdered by a figure of authority.

Usually the police, a teacher, or carer. They take lives with impunity.

The Internet is rightly outraged. Protests and riots occur. Online campaigns are started. Just like that, a persons identity is reduced to a hashtag.

This isn’t the fault of the outraged, the victimised, the disheartened. This is the fault of the perpetrator. Hashtag campaigns have shone lights into places that are often ignored. But still, the marginalised live in fear.

Fear of being killed.

Fear of being erased.

Fear of becoming another twitter trend.

No human being should have to live like this. Every human being has a fundamental right to life. In fact we have 30 human rights. I can’t name them all, no one ever taught them to me. It’s fundamentally wrong.

Marginalised groups are treated as disposable in a system that values eurocentric, able, capitalistic humans over all else. For me as a disabled person, I live every day acutely aware of societies disdain for me. Every part of the system is built in a way that says “you are not welcome here”.

I have a level of privilege thanks to my skin colour. I still face risks as a disabled person. I would hope that my chances of becoming a hashtag are reduced, but they are still more than my non-disabled peers.

When an entire life can be reduced to a hashtag, something is very wrong. We are all born with potential, more potential than capitalist society would have you believe. That potential can so easily be snuffed out and become just a name on the internet.

We need to dismantle not just the prejudice in the system, but the prejudice in ourselves that holds up a system that discriminates by design. Each of us harbours prejudice. To fix society, we first have to fix ourselves.

People complain about world governments like they are the sole perpetrators of a broken system. The system isn’t broken, it was built that way.

All the time that system exists, no government in the world will fix this situation.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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