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Thread: Is there diversity of thought within the creative community?

  1. #1
    Through dangers untold... DLacy's Avatar
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    Is there diversity of thought within the creative community?

    I've heard a lot of calls for diversity lately. I've never seen so big a push toward 'diverse books', and agree that representation through literature is a great thing. But is the diversity we're calling for skin-deep? True diversity calls for different viewpoints, which means different backgrounds, different political views, different religious beliefs. That includes both liberal and conservative points of view. But I've noticed the creative community is unbalanced, including plenty of liberal views, but hardly any conservative. So, does that mean there just aren't that many conservative creatives or is the creative community not an environment that welcomes diversity of thought?

    If it's the latter, why? and how can we change it?

    [EDIT] To make discussion easier, I'll limit the terms to 'liberal or conservative voting patterns' and limit the 'creative community' to this forum, which includes writers as well as artists and hobbyists of all kinds of talents. With those terms changed, let's adapt the question too. Is it important to have an environment that fosters discussion of both views?
    Last edited by DLacy; 01-04-2017 at 09:01 PM.
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    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    In my experience whenever conservatives complain that they don't fit into arts communities, it's usually not a matter of people not accepting them. It's that they're just mad that nobody agrees with them.
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    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    But I've noticed the creative community is unbalanced, including plenty of liberal views, but hardly any conservative.
    That's a hard thing to quantify, isn't it? Are there stats to back it up?

  4. #4
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    There are plenty of conservative writers, but they're just as diverse a lot as those on the other side. For instance, some (not all) Christian writers are socially conservative when it comes to LGBT+ issues. Also see (if you must) the Sad and Rabid Puppies in SF/F, who are champions of the poor repressed white male viewpoint. Again, plenty of diversity and infighting among these groups, so if you're trying to sell a conflict between monolithic Conservative Writers vs. monolithic Liberal Writers you're going to have a hard time of it.

    It's also misrepresentation to claim that true diversity, which is a reaction to the mainstream, must contain mainstream POV or it isn't really diverse. The mainstream is already over-represented, which is why diverse voices are needed.
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  5. #5
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    Well, not to insult anyone, but quite frankly it may be the simple fact that conservatives are less likely to be creative - or more specifically, that artists are less likely to be conservative. In fact, where ARE the Republican authors?

    https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/...write-fiction/

    I'm a writer - I read the sticky that told me so! LOL. So, as a writer, I feel like it's my duty and obligation to experience as much as possible. I want to try new food, meet new people, ask them questions about their lives, see how they do things, what they eat, drink, and ​think. That's the hardest part of all. Figuring out how someone else thinks. What makes them tick, why they think that, what made them like that. Nature vs nurture. And you know what else - the more I learn, the less I realize I know. And that just makes me appreciate everything even more.

    My main point from that ramble is that I don't think my way of doing anything is the best. I want to move forward and embrace change with effervescence and excitement. And then I want to stick all that into a novel, of course.

    But in order to do this, I have to lose myself a bit. I have to let go, sometimes completely, of things I thought were right and true. There's a tribe of people in Africa who sacrifice cattle still. Who am I to judge - why is that less moral than killing the cow normally? (They do eat it.) There's a group of hunter gatherers who live totally egalitarian lives - men and women are totally equal and tasks are mostly interchangeable, beyond the fact that the women do tend to choose some activities, such as rug weaving, while the men were more prone to hunting. But the other gender would still do those other tasks and it didn't mean much. Then there's a smallish group of people in China where the women do all the work and the men laze - kinda like America, but actually preferred that way.

    So, sidetracking again, the conservative ideology dictates sameness. That's sort of what it's all about - staying with current traditions, customs, maybe even going back to old ones. New ideas may be toxic. Different ways of doing things could be bad. Let's keep doing things the way they are. Can you write as well when you're only coming from one viewpoint?

    I think the call for diversity is a good one. There should definitely be conservative characters, as well as liberal, authoritarian, socialist, Marxists, libertarians, and so on and so forth. And I think they should actually be given equal credence, you know, depending on the preferences of the author of course, even though I lean pretty strongly liberal. On some days, though, I lean pretty hard right, some days I'm a socialist, on some a libertarian. On other days I'm a flying pig.

    By the way, does anyone think this is actually from the fact that American universities are now strongly liberal? They used to be a lot more conservative if memory serves. Maybe folks from other countries can chime in - but I've seen people from UK, AU, and Canada, and those countries are more socialist than the US. Personally I don't think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterV View Post
    Well, not to insult anyone, but quite frankly it may be the simple fact that conservatives are less likely to be creative - or more specifically, that artists are less likely to be conservative. .
    Well, no. That's not a fact. It's your opinion. We have another current thread, started by me, concerning the conflict between fact and belief, with a lot of good comments in it. You might want to take a look at it.

    caw
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    Through dangers untold... DLacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    How do we know there aren't conservative 'creatives?'
    That's the point of this thread. It's kind of an experiment to see what people respond. It's based on what I've seen personally on social media and across a range of arts-based websites. I want to see who's antagonistic about it and who's genuinely curious like I am. I'm wondering which word, when it's searched, is used more comfortably and more positively. If people are more comfortable using the word 'liberal' to refer to themselves and no one uses the word 'conservative', but to diminish another person, that gives me my answer.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    That's the point of this thread. It's kind of an experiment to see what people respond. It's based on what I've seen personally on social media and across a range of arts-based websites. I want to see who's antagonistic about it and who's genuinely curious like I am. I'm wondering which word, when it's searched, is used more comfortably and more positively. If people are more comfortable using the word 'liberal' to refer to themselves and no one uses the word 'conservative', but to diminish another person, that gives me my answer.
    What?

    Are you saying you posted this to fuck with people and see how they responded? That's trolling.

  10. #10
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    That's the point of this thread. It's kind of an experiment to see what people respond. It's based on what I've seen personally on social media and across a range of arts-based websites. I want to see who's antagonistic about it and who's genuinely curious like I am. I'm wondering which word, when it's searched, is used more comfortably and more positively. If people are more comfortable using the word 'liberal' to refer to themselves and no one uses the word 'conservative', but to diminish another person, that gives me my answer.
    I can't quite see the point of this. How are you defining conservative and liberal? How are you defining antagonistic? How are you defining comfortable and positive? How are you defining diminish?


  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    But I've noticed the creative community is unbalanced, including plenty of liberal views, but hardly any conservative.
    I'd be interested in seeing some examples of what you mean. What does a liberal or conservative viewpoint in fiction look like? Do "conservative" books have to be about, erm, paying less tax? Or nuclear families?

    I'm seriously asking.
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  12. #12
    Through dangers untold... DLacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    I can't quite see the point of this. How are you defining conservative and liberal? How are you defining antagonistic? How are you defining comfortable and positive? How are you defining diminish?
    Like MisterV pointed out, people can be liberal in certain views and conservative in others, but for the purpose of this thread, I was thinking politically or socially. I'd personally prefer if people weren't pigeon-holed into one view or another, but this unpleasant, labelling thing is mainstream right now, so I was coming at it from that angle. I was comparing how people see both the views held by people with these labels and also the labels themselves. Some people have a very negative reaction to either the term 'liberal' or the term 'conservative'. Negative as in yelling and screaming and being very irrational. So, they can be antagonistic (likely to pick a fight) when they even see the word mentioned. That's not 'comfortable' for anyone, in my opinion. I define comfortable as "free to use the word without being scolded like it's a dirty word". Positive I define as "when they use the word others happily agree with them or at least consider what they say to be valid". I define diminish as "treated not equal to another view" or "used as an insult".

    I didn't want the thread to be so much about semantics as I did about the discussion of differing points of view. I didn't mean to confuse anyone.
    Last edited by DLacy; 01-04-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    In my experience whenever conservatives complain that they don't fit into arts communities, it's usually not a matter of people not accepting them. It's that they're just mad that nobody agrees with them.
    Fits my experience as well. Seeing the thread title, my first thought was, someone with a right wing ideology unhappy with the liberal academia. And reading this in the OP reinforced that notion:
    But I've noticed the creative community is unbalanced, including plenty of liberal views, but hardly any conservative. So, does that mean there just aren't that many conservative creatives or is the creative community not an environment that welcomes diversity of thought?
    I doubt we have any real measure of the political nature of authors as a whole. So is the question referring to the literary world, or just this forum?

    In the non-fiction book genre, there are more than a few political ideologies represented. Just watch CSPAN's Book TV every weekend (or streaming online) and you're just as likely to see conservative views including Alt-right views. See the thread on the controversy over Simon and Schuster's book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos.

  14. #14
    I also think this is a trollish attempt at argument and second what Marlys said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marlys View Post
    It's also misrepresentation to claim that true diversity, which is a reaction to the mainstream, must contain mainstream POV or it isn't really diverse. The mainstream is already over-represented, which is why diverse voices are needed.
    Additionally, saying that either conservatives aren't creative, or else the creative community isn't truly diverse, is a false dichotomy. There are more options than that.

  15. #15
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    I can't quite see the point of this. How are you defining conservative and liberal? How are you defining antagonistic? How are you defining comfortable and positive? How are you defining diminish?
    All these and also - how are you defining creative community? Your question is far too broad for any meaningful engagement.

    You'll need to define your terms.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Furthermore, if someone either liberal or conservative viewpoints sets out to channel their views into fiction, then its probably going to be pretty crappy fiction purely because its preaching a viewpoint rather than telling a good story.

    I read a book recently called Rebel, a historical fiction novel about a Northerner fighting for the South the American Civil War. One of the reasons I liked it so much was it pretty deftly avoided being overly political and actually showed another side to the War (mainly about the fact that the men fighting seemed to mainly be fighting for a "team" rather than a thoughtful and considered ideology. Quite relevant to nowadays given most people vote because of rusted on beliefs that don't necessarily align with what they really want or what would make their lives easier). I wouldn't be bothered reading a novel about a Northerner fighting the South, because how could it be anything but a fairly obvious story of progressives triumphing over slave owners? For the record I am a lefty, but I don't read fiction to reinforce my own views. The best thing about fiction is it is a chance to experience the world through another point of view.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

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  17. #17
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    Like MisterV pointed out, people can be liberal in certain views and conservative in others, but for the purpose of this thread, I was thinking politically or socially. I'd personally prefer if people weren't pigeon-holed into one view or another, but this unpleasant, labelling thing is mainstream right now, so I was coming at it from that angle. I was comparing how people see both the views held by people with these labels and also the labels themselves. Some people have a very negative reaction to either the term 'liberal' or the term 'conservative'. Negative as in yelling and screaming and being very irrational. So, they can be antagonistic (likely to pick a fight) when they even see the word mentioned. That's not 'comfortable' for anyone, in my opinion. I define comfortable as "free to use the word without being scolded like it's a dirty word". Positive I define as "when they use the word others happily agree with them or at least consider what they say to be valid". I define diminish as "treated not equal to another view" or "used as an insult".

    I didn't want the thread to be so much about semantics as I did about the discussion of differing points of view. I didn't mean to confuse anyone.
    This seems to be utterly pointless. I'm out.


  18. #18
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    Well, no. That's not a fact. It's your opinion. We have another current thread, started by me, concerning the conflict between fact and belief, with a lot of good comments in it. You might want to take a look at it.

    caw
    What is a fact is that if you take a survey of actors, directors, play rights, artists, writers, and musicians, you will find the preponderance of liberals versus conservatives to be wildly skewed in favor of those with a liberal bent.

    What's more, if you look at those in Hollywood, for example, with conservative views you'll find most of those who are conservative are generally considered to be far from the A-list in terms of acting ability. Tom Hanks is a liberal Meryl Streep is liberal ALPA Chino is liberal.

    Steven Seagal is ultra conservative Charles Heston (bless his soul) was conservative. As of course, was Ronnie Reagan. Scott Baio is abbig Trump supporter

    There are exceptions of course – Clint Eastward, a good actor and a brilliant director is a crazed libertarian. Mel Gibson, ultra conservative anti-Semite is a fine actor.

    I think if you look at nonfiction books, you to find a pretty even distribution. But if you were to look at sci-fi and fantasy books, that's a different story. I belong to a Google group of published authors in that field, some of whom are household names. It is at least 95% composed of liberal members, and 100% anti-Trump.

    I think it's an inarguable fact that creative people in general tend to heavily skew to the liberal side of politics. Why that should be is another question. I personally believe the two things are absolutely connected by ways of perceiving the world, but that's just an opinion.

    And as a sidenote, I also have noticed admittedly from personal experience, that engineers specifically tend to be quite intelligent, but not only to be conservative, but to be far more likely to be involved in conspiracy theories than the average person. Again, I can't prove this with statistics but I'm convinced that it's true or at least likely.
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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterV View Post
    Well, not to insult anyone, but quite frankly it may be the simple fact that conservatives are less likely to be creative - or more specifically, that artists are less likely to be conservative. In fact, where ARE the Republican authors?

    https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/...write-fiction/
    That source is big on personal anecdote and slim on actual evidence:
    But I couldn’t find them. Among the editors, writers, and agents I surveyed, an unsurprising consensus emerged: the number of well-known American literary writers who are even rumored to be politically conservative is very, very small. One book editor told me he knew several Republican novelists, but refused to disclose their names. He agreed to forward my email, so they could contact me if they wished, but none of them did.

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterV View Post
    ... So, sidetracking again, the conservative ideology dictates sameness. That's sort of what it's all about - staying with current traditions, customs, maybe even going back to old ones. New ideas may be toxic. Different ways of doing things could be bad. Let's keep doing things the way they are. Can you write as well when you're only coming from one viewpoint?
    I can't agree with this. Liberals don't want to change either and being conservative politically doesn't have anything to do with creativity, that is unless you have some actual evidence. But if you do have any evidence, then I'd be open to reconsider.

    In the meantime:
    Discover Conservative Fiction Authors

    National Review: Ten Great Conservative Novels

    List Criteria: Must have shown or mentioned in interviews public support for Republican candidates or conservative causes at some point in career
    From a famous columnist & conservative to a bestselling Republican author : a conservative list of writers who are both Republican & famous. Includes Republican journalists, Republican authors, top conservative bloggers & more.
    There are many more lists of conservative authors.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLacy View Post
    That's the point of this thread. It's kind of an experiment to see what people respond. It's based on what I've seen personally on social media and across a range of arts-based websites. I want to see who's antagonistic about it and who's genuinely curious like I am. I'm wondering which word, when it's searched, is used more comfortably and more positively. If people are more comfortable using the word 'liberal' to refer to themselves and no one uses the word 'conservative', but to diminish another person, that gives me my answer.
    So if we disagree with your anecdotal declarations, that means we are not genuinely curious?

    I do believe that is what is called a false dichotomy.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    ... Charles Heston (bless his soul) was conservative. ....
    Did you mean Charlton Heston?

    Wiki says he was born, John Charles Carter.

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    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    What's more, if you look at those in Hollywood, for example, with conservative views you'll find most of those who are conservative are generally considered to be far from the A-list in terms of acting ability. Tom Hanks is a liberal Meryl Streep is liberal ALPA Chino is liberal.

    Steven Seagal is ultra conservative Charles Heston (bless his soul) was conservative. As of course, was Ronnie Reagan. Scott Baio is abbig Trump supporter

    There are exceptions of course – Clint Eastward, a good actor and a brilliant director is a crazed libertarian. Mel Gibson, ultra conservative anti-Semite is a fine actor.
    I don't think Steven Seagal is considered to be far from the A-list because he's conservative. It's because he's a crappy actor. And Charlton Heston/Ronald Reagan were tremendously popular for decades.

    I do think Hollywood probably does skew liberal, but that's probably because most of its blockbuster audience is young (and therefore usually more liberal as a whole).

    I think it's an inarguable fact that creative people in general tend to heavily skew to the liberal side of politics. Why that should be is another question. I personally believe the two things are absolutely connected by ways of perceiving the world, but that's just an opinion.
    I can't really think of a way to say this that doesn't make me sound like an ass, but I personally believe the skew to liberal politics correlating with the arts is related to an interest/empathy in other people. Liberal causes tend to be for helping other people (be they immigrants, the poor, people in prison, etc). Conservative causes tend to be for helping one's own family and tradition. Both have merits obviously, but as a flow on from that, I'd say liberal people are more likely to be interested in exploring the stories of others. Conservative people tend to be less interested in that, because they're looking out for their own. I'm aware this paragraph shows my obvious bias... but I guess it's just what I think.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

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  23. #23
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    This thread is skewed remarkably to the US. Is that community we're talking about OP?

    ETA: I still think the question is too unwieldy. I wonder if it's more a question of personal bias? It would be interesting so see some figures to get an idea of how the weight falls.
    Last edited by mccardey; 01-04-2017 at 12:11 PM.

  24. #24
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    I don't think Steven Seagal is considered to be far from the A-list because he's conservative. It's because he's a crappy actor. And Charlton Heston/Ronald Reagan were tremendously popular for decades.

    I do think Hollywood probably does skew liberal, but that's probably because most of its blockbuster audience is young (and therefore usually more liberal as a whole).



    I can't really think of a way to say this that doesn't make me sound like an ass, but I personally believe the skew to liberal politics correlating with the arts is related to an interest/empathy in other people. Liberal causes tend to be for helping other people (be they immigrants, the poor, people in prison, etc). Conservative causes tend to be for helping one's own family and tradition. Both have merits obviously, but as a flow on from that, I'd say liberal people are more likely to be interested in exploring the stories of others. Conservative people tend to be less interested in that, because they're looking out for their own. I'm aware this paragraph shows my obvious bias... but I guess it's just what I think.
    I think that's a bit harsh, but I do think that one of the hallmarks of being a writer is the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes, to see the world in ways that are alien to ones own worldview. And I think people who are able to do this tend to be better writers then those who can't, or perhaps are not particularly interested in doing that. And I do think this kind of empathy is more characteristic of liberal thinking than conservative.

    It's a kind of acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty that fuels the creative process and translates into a liberal mindset. The desire for certainty and "reality" is less conducive to creating art.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't want to travel across a giant suspension bridge built by artists. I have no way of knowing, but I believe the people who designed and built the Golden Gate Bridge were more likely of the conservative mindset than the liberal – and yet, to me it's far more impressive than almost any work of art I can think of.

    I'm also a musician, and a half-assed jazz player. I know a lot of top rate jazz musicians, and they are about the least conservative group of people I've ever run across. Jazz is a complicated musical form, and you need a lot of discipline and hard work to even begin to master it. So what is it about that art form that tends to attract liberal people and not attract conservative ones?

    Again, I believe it's something about the appreciation of possibilities and ambiguity. There is no certainty in jazz – not if you're playing it with passion.
    Urban Fantasy rules:Play Dead My Website

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    On the other hand, I wouldn't want to travel across a giant suspension bridge built by artists. I have no way of knowing, but I believe the people who designed and built the Golden Gate Bridge were more likely of the conservative mindset than the liberal – and yet, to me it's far more impressive than almost any work of art I can think of.
    Huh? I don't think anyone wants to travel across a bridge made by artists. People want to travel across bridges made by engineers. And yeah, there's no way of knowing that the people who designed the Golden Gate Bridge were conservative or liberal. I'm willing to bet it was a fairly even mix of both, given that most liberal people don't create art or aspire to be artists.

    Again, I believe it's something about the appreciation of possibilities and ambiguity.
    There's something to that. Particularly the part about possibilities. As in, "things may be different to how I have experienced the world". I think that's largely why conservative people don't seem to have a lot of empathy for the plight of people different to them.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

    @guerre_stellari

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