Mystical Bigotry

Some memes just need to die

Image: blog_mystical_bigotry

All I see are stars, but some people see comforting stereotypes.

Walk up to someone who might self identify as "black" and tell them "Because you're black, you're good at sports and music, but are not very analytical." Dare you.

Or pick a religious identifier. Take someone who is Jewish and say to them "Because you're Jewish, you're good at math and are very industrious, but you have a tendency to be kind of greedy". How do you think that interaction would go?

I don't have to tell you that it's offensive to make wild generalizations based on someone being part of a group that can contain tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people. It's so obvious that I won't elaborate any further.

And yet... recently a woman who had just met me had absolutely no hesitation about telling me that I am creative, artistic, but prone to being overly sensitive. She told me these because of the month I was born in, a month in which around 580 million other people were also born.

Astrology is not merely nonsense that doesn't actually exist, the practise of it is mystical bigotry. Like any other form of stereotyping, it allows people to create lazy identifiers for the people around them. This accomplishes the same things that all bigotry does, which is to simplify the world so that people don't have to actually get to know people and deal with the complexities of individuals.

"I would never go out with a Scorpio". "That's such a Gemini thing to say!". "I generally get along better with water signs..." All things I've heard said by people who play along with astrology.

"Oh, but astrology is just for fun", people say. Whee! It's so much fun having you tell me who I am!

Imagine for a second that magazines and web sites had race signs, and gave out advice based on your skin tone. "If you're white skinned, you're more compatible with Asians and Latinos, but you should avoid relationships with blacks". Can you imagine the shit-storm that would ensue from such advice, even if the magazine openly admitted it was just for fun and had no scientific foundation?

"Oh, but astrology is too general when it's just based on the month" astrology fans say. "To really get to know someone, you need to get to know the day and time of their birth, and know the positions of the planets and blah blah blah..."

Finding out more information about a person is the right idea, but astrology fucks that idea up too. Finding out more about a person based on the more specific details of the star charts when they were born is like trying to find out more about a black person by trying to find out exactly what tribe in sub Saharan Africa they descended from. As opposed to, I don't know... talking to them and finding out who they really are?

"Oh, but people who take it too seriously are on the fringe. Most people who read it in magazines know it's not real, they just like to play along with it."

If it is a game, it's a game of simulated bigotry, and who the hell needs to practise that?

That's why the meme of astrology needs to die, even if it hasn't led to extreme societal divisions like other bigotries. It makes light of the idea that you can divide people based on wild generalizations. It makes not taking responsibility for your own interactions and blaming the course of your life on non-existant external factors a casual exercise while reading a magazine and having a coffee.

I was born in February but I am not a Pisces. Because everything about what defines a Pisces does not fucking exist . And I'm certainly not going to pretend it exists to humour the people who want to have fun by playing make-believe prejudice.

If you are determined to label me with your star chart presumptions based on nothingness, then I have a label for you too:

You're a mystical bigot.