As most people already know the recent UK election handed an overwhelming majority to a racist, sexist, homophobic liar (these are not hyperbole or me being slanderous, they’re provable facts). This is not a post about the current political climate, but I will say that if you are a fan of Boris Johnson feel free to fuck off. Following this a lot of people are talking about how they, and everyone on the left “need to get out of their echo chambers”. Fuck that.
First of all, why? Yes if you are co-ordinating a political campaign you need to sell the ideas to the whole population. I don’t see why this needs to be reflected in every individuals day to day life. And honestly I don’t want to fill my life with people I have very little in common with, whose opinions deny my personhood, or the rights of others. It’s not like we’re unaware that people have different views, when you regularly get abuse hurled at you in the street it’s hard not to get the message.
But my central issue with the idea is that it comes from, and assumes, a considerable amount of privilege. Almost everyone I’ve seen saying this is white, middle-class, and cis. For marginalised people leaving your echo chamber might mean that your identity, your culture, even your right to exist comes under attack. These echo chambers are our communities, the spaces we’ve carved out where we can protect each other from the dehumanisation and hated we have to deal with in broader society.
Marginalised communities need safe(r) spaces to survive. Without protected spaces the distinct identities they have grown around can be destroyed, consumed, and overwhelmed. And for many members of marginalised communities, without this support structure they will not survive at all.
Many of us live in a world that constantly tries to talk over us, to scream that we shouldn’t exist. Sometimes an echo chamber is the only place for us to hear our voices.
- I’d like to thank Luna for helping me crystallise my thoughts on this. They’re a fucking powerhouse and do amazing things around the trans and non-binary community in Leeds.
- I’m aware I come at this from a lot of privilege myself. I write primarily based on my own experiences but I also try to listen to, and elevate, the views of people with less privilege.