Dear Godinterest, I’m Jewish
Today I got an invite to Godinterest, the Christian social media site. It’s been around for a while (there was a HuffPo article about it back in May), but for some reason, they spammed the Internet today with enough Godinterest invites to get the site trending.
I think it’s lovely that Godinterest exists. The Internet is a semi-infinite space: everyone should be able to find a You-shaped space on the Internet to call home. We need some people to create those spaces so that other people can join along. So I applaud Godinterest in creating that space; it fills a need for a population of people.
But Godinterest, you sort of struck a nerve with me. Because, you see, I’m not Christian, therefore I likely have little to no interest in a Christian social media site. I looked at what you had trending on your front page, and it is most definitely applicable to Christians. Again, I’m not Christian, so not really applicable to me.
I get blindly pitched a lot of stuff on a daily basis. I think it’s sort of amusing that the term is “public relations” since that would imply that the person is building a relationship. But no, there is clearly no relationship going on between myself and the people doing the pitches. If there was, they would know not to directly send me requests to review baby items and pregnancy products. They would know that this kosher vegetarian wouldn’t want to try out pork products. And they would know that this Jewish woman who doesn’t even like Pinterest all that much wouldn’t want an invite to a Christian-themed social media site.
I know what you’re going to say: It’s not a big deal! Just delete it! It’s a bigger deal that you took the time to write out a whole post about it!
It is simple to delete emails, and that’s what I do.
But this is all indicative of a larger issue, one that you only think about when you’re in the minority whether that is being childless in a child-centric society or being Jewish in a Christian-centric country. It really sucks when the majority assumes that everyone is just.like.them. I mean, it doesn’t suck if you’re in the majority. Then, you don’t even think about it. But if you’re in the minority and you need to constantly be navigating the assumptions of the majority, it gets really old really quickly.
It’s funny what bothers me and what doesn’t. It doesn’t bother me that in America, from October to January, we are in Christmas season. I think it rocks that you guys have this big holiday in the winter, and I really like your candy canes. I even like going over to a friend’s house and helping them celebrate the holiday. I don’t mind navigating shopping traffic or having Christmas music playing in the stores or having Christmas programming on every television station or having everything shut down when I finally have a day off. I really don’t mind having my life impacted by someone else’s religion. I even participate to make Christmas more special for other people, volunteering on that day because I can volunteer on that day since I have nowhere else I have to be.
What I do mind is the assumption that I am Christian, too.
I write this because it would behoove us all to spend five minutes thinking about which majority groups we belong to — because we all belong to majority groups — especially the somewhat invisible ones. And then think about the assumptions we make as the majority group. And then stop making those assumptions.
Let’s not assume all women are mothers. Let’s not assume all women want children, or if they don’t have children, that they don’t want children. Let’s not assume that all couples are married… or want to be married. That all people are heterosexual. The list could go on and on and on.
Godinterest, let’s not assume all people are Christian. Because while you — in the majority — may think there is no harm no foul in sending out these emails to people outside of your audience, I’m telling you that those of us in the minority are negatively impacted by your actions.