Insults to Discriminatory People
Instinctively, I dismiss those ideas. It's nothing alike. But then, I stop to think. Is it similar? Is calling a discriminatory person a hurtful word because they're discriminatory morally equivalent to calling the target of discrimination a hurtful word?
On closer reflection, I come to the same answer. No. But now I know why they aren't really the same.
Firstly, being a racist, a misogynist or a curebie means you are hurting others. When you show your opinions to other races, women, or disabled people, you hurt them. This is a fact. A big part of people's dislike for these terms seems to me to be an unwillingness to admit they are hurting someone. But that's why Native people have such high rates of alcoholism, child abuse and suicide. It's because they are harmed, systemically harmed, by racism. That's why women are more often depressed, more often victims of sex crimes, and make less money on average than men. We are also systemically harmed by sexism. And that's why adult autistics have such high rates of depression, why some autistic people wish they were never born, why prenatally diagnosed autistic people very well might never be born. We are systemically harmed by disablism.
Secondly, it is a choice, to a certain extent. Your beliefs largely depend on what you have been exposed to, but if you decide to accept that your beliefs are hurting someone and make a commitment to change, you can. You are born with your race, your gender and your pattern of abilities, and those are extremely difficult to impossible to change. I know it's possible to have facial surgery and bleach your skin, but you don't become a white person that way - though you may be able to fake it. Technically, people who've gone through a sex change surgery aren't exactly the other gender - they're physically in between, and genetically their natal gender. And there are no cures for autism, even though some autistics can learn to pass as neurotypical. It's harder than it sounds, too. Even I have trouble passing perfectly, and I'm only very mildly autistic. But even mild autism pervades how you think and by extension, how you behave.
There are some things very hard to change that hurt others. A good example is pedophilia. It's probably about as hard to change as being gay. And there are a bunch of ways people are working on preventing and curing pedophilia, and that's valuable research, for the sake of the children that pedophiles are attracted to. Your beliefs aren't easy to change, but compared to your sexual orientation, it's no big deal.
And one last thing. Autistics, black people and various other groups have chosen names for themselves, that offend no one. Curebies, misogynists and racists haven't. They don't seem to just want a different name - they don't want any name for what they are (except maybe 'normal'). I can't accept that. I need to be able to name those attitudes, and the people who hold them. That's how we can stop the harm these attitudes cause - by looking at it clearly.