Do I have to have Down syndrome myself in order to be an advocate for her? I believe I would do her a great injustice if I stayed silent.
I believe what Christy Harrison has to say is valuable and don’t think it NEEDS anything or anyone else in order for it to be valuable on its own.
Is what she says made more valuable by other voices, perspectives and experiences? Yes! And this episode could have been better with more voices.
But on some level, apologizing for releasing an episode that features only Christy feels to me like invalidating Christy’s work simply and only because of her body size. And that feels wrong to me.
It is the lack of agreement on this very specific tenet of justice work that is the crux of the current disagreement. I believe every individual has a right to speak of their own experience and thoughts about any topic.
This is not about fat phobia. It’s not about me not wanting to center marginalized voices. (I do that all of the time on the podcast; it’s core value of both mine and the Liturgists).
This is about me not agreeing that a podcast can be inherently bad (regardless of its content) simply and only because of the nature of the bodies of the people talking on the episode.
The reason I don’t just PR this and say that I agree with these advocates to save myself from the mob of cancel culture is because I believe this sort of thinking that is prominent in progressive circles is a type of fundamentalism that actually hurts people more than it helps.
I believe it hurts because it makes people with platforms afraid to speak about important issues for fear of being cancelled. It hurts because it lends itself to tokenizing, fetishizing and dehumanizing people into mere objects of skin color, genitals, body size, ability...etc
I believe it hurts because it limits our conversations rather than supporting them. This sort of small thinking disconnects us rather than empowering us to hear, understand and love each other.
This is not the first time I’ve faced an angry group of people on Twitter. It probably won’t be the last. But I hope we can all use this moment to listen and to learn—to avoid fundamentalism and dehumanization on any side of the convo, and instead to lean into love as we disagree
Thank you to everyone who has commented both your critiques and your support. I’ve learned some things through this conversation and while I’m sad that people were hurt by this, I am committed to continue listening to, learning from, and loving all of you. 🙏🏽❤️
You can follow @michaelgungor.
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