My opinion on The Heineken Ad couldn’t really fill out a full article on my own–my biggest complaint is how self-styled progressives were happy to accept the premise that merely being trans or black constituted an ideological position or opinion.
Which, to be frank, is bullshit. Heineken put the abusers and the abused in the same room and told them to build a table, and fucking liberals are coming out of the woodwork to pat the bigots on the back for acting like a human being while the cameras were running.
What the fuck do they think is happening when there aren’t any cameras around?
This is the danger of the feel-good “let’s just talk to each other” approach. It’s just a more cuddly version of that horrible bothsidesism that equates being called a racist with actual racism as reasons for hurt and anger. Both sides are not the same. The transphobe who agrees to have a beer with the trans woman is sacrificing nothing. She, on the other hand, is giving up a certain amount of dignity by breaking bread with someone who thinks she shouldn’t have the right to exist. She’s risking her mental and physical safety, volunteering for the hard emotional labor of arguing for her right to be a person. And with ads like this, that labor is being demanded of her with no consideration of how much it may cost. Worse, it’s heavily implied that if she were to walk away, it would make her just as intolerant as the bigot who views her with disgust.
Not all viewpoints are equal. Not all olive branches are earned. And it is not in the service of justice to demand emotional labor of marginalized people while praising bigots for doing the bare minimum to act like humans on a single occasion.
I know if I tried to have a beer with my critics some of them would just as soon crack me over the head with the bottle.
This commercial is the worst type of propaganda. It tricks you into thinking social problems can be resolved if only people tolerate their oppression just a LITTLE while longer. It pushes the idea that bigotry, sexism, and transphobia are just differences of opinion that are up for debate, and deserving of civil discourse and equal consideration. And it makes folks think that four minute commercials are a viable way to address societal ills that corporations have no interest in fixing.
If we could stop equating “being a minority” with “ideology,” that’d be great.