You never really know what someone else is going through, and this is particularly true if they have a marginalized identity different from your own. We move through the world in different ways, and face different struggles, and that’s why it’s so important to not just believe but also validate others’ lived experience, unless of course they say they like the taste of whiskey. Here’s how to do your best, anyway:
Take the time to listen.
If a friend describes a microagression made against them by a coworker, and you don’t immediately get why the comment was offensive, don’t write off the incident. Trust that a lifetime of inhabiting their identity has made your friend the expert on how to read these situations. But if that same friend orders a whiskey neat while telling you about the microaggression, feel free to judge the fuck out of them for this decision which is insane. Whiskey tastes like sweet hot poison and should be illegal. You have a right to voice this.
Recognize the mass gaslighting of society (that whiskey is good).
Society mass gaslights people of marginalized identities by denying their experiences of racism, queerphobia, ableism, sexism – it causes them to question their own perception of reality. On the flip side of that, individuals who claim to like the taste of whiskey are gaslighting absolutely everyone and need to be held accountable. Biologically, evolutionarily, why would someone “like” the “taste” of a brown liquid that’s sort of like if honey were mixed with gasoline then set on fire? Whiskey is disgusting and your manipulative, fucked up friend knows it.
Remember, your experience is your own.
It’s important to remember that just because you don’t experience something doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. For instance, you don’t experience grain mash fermenting in a barrel until it becomes malevolent dark water, and yet it does, and then some people who are either mind criminals, liars, or both, claim to enjoy putting it in their mouth. This is a disturbing violation of nature that we must never normalize, condone, or make space for.
So before you question someone’s experience of your shared world, stop and ask if you’re imposing your own limited perspective on it. Unless, of course, they say that whiskey tastes good to them, in which case they’re playing twisted mind games with you and you need to cut them out of your life completely. Whiskey: it is bad!