Your suffering is not worth losing sleep over

I have a small balcony to my right. This afternoon I almost ran out there and screamed my head off when I read the following from an article addressing the protesters of The Last Airbender:

You guys need to settle down, because there is no way that Hollywood would have ever, ever cast anyone other than a white kid as Aang. I think your heart is in the right place, and I think this is a discussion worth having, but you guys need to stop losing sleep over this.

I’m sorry–what? You want people to calm down and not lose sleep over this (because clearly, losing sleep is voluntary) because white-preference in Hollywood is just not worth getting all worked up about?

When my little girl comes running home to me one day and tells me she’s being bullied on the playground (whether that means she’s been physically attacked or verbally), am I supposed to simply tell her “That’s life, get over it” and “Don’t lose sleep about it honey!” even though tomorrow she has to worry about going back to school and facing the exact same problems?

It doesn’t just have to be my little girl. It can be my friend, it can be an acquaintance, it can be someone I’ve never met. When somebody tells me that they’re suffering in a social system that pushes them down because they’re not pretty enough, normal enough, able-bodied, not the right gender, etc., what kind of person am I if I say, “I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but this isn’t worth losing sleep over.” What makes you think that people losing sleep over this issues lose sleep because they want to? People feel the social ramifications of racist issues (along with sexism, able-ism, and you name it), every day whether they want to or not.

And for the people who don’t feel these things, for the people that don’t lose sleep on a regular basis because maybe none of these issues touch us in quite a way that makes us suffer–what kind of people are we to simply dismiss the complaints of others because we don’t feel them ourselves?

More and more, I’ve become convinced that the reason these issues still exist and have progressed in their various forms is less because people are purposefully trying to perpetuate them, and more precisely because not enough people take them seriously, not enough people listen when someone is suffering, and because too many people say, “That’s life.” When you tell somebody “That’s life” over something like this, I can’t help but see a self-fulfilling prophecy. It enables these issues to continue in the face of little opposition.

A dead white guy once said, “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”*

EDIT: As it turns out, a dead white guy did not say that, but a lot of living people do.