Daily Archives: October 15, 2006

There’s got to be more to it than that.


This usually happens when I tell a story about an instance of discrimination. It could be a story about me, about one of my friends, about anyone.

Someone always responds, “There’s got to be more to it than that.”

To give an example, I occasionally casually mention my propensity to attract police officers when walking out the door.

Insert skeptical tone: There’s got to be more to it than that.

The person then grills me for details. If the person finds out what I look like, for instance, they might say “Oh, okay then.” Sometimes they even go further and say that the problem is not that I walk out the door, it’s that I look like I do, and that I should not even want to be able to walk around outside like anyone else without getting picked up by the cops. Because they’re just doing their job, and part of their job, apparently, is to rid the streets of people who look like me.

“There’s got to be more to it than that” translates immediately by now into “I don’t want to see injustice, please explain it away for me so that I can tuck such distressing information into a corner of my head and forget about it and go back to being oblivious.”

“There’s got to be more to it than that” means “Find some way, please, any way at all, to blame the recipients of such injustice, rather than the perpetrators.”

It means “Please, please, please reinforce my prejudices. Please reinforce the fact that I think the world is more or less okay as it is.”

It means “Admit it, you are the one who did something wrong, you’re just pretending it’s about something different to avoid responsibility.”

And much more, but very little of it anything good. It means avoidance of reality, but disguised. It means that when I tell these stories, the people I listen to just flat-out won’t believe me.

Former psychiatric patients who want to believe the psych system is more or less basically good, use it when they want to claim that if I was mistreated, it was only to help me, and only because I was a “danger to self or others” (I hate that phrase).

Non-disabled people use it when they don’t want to confront ableism.

Autistic people use it when they want to believe that all the horrible things that happen to other autistic people would never happen to them, because they are the good and presentable ones.

And so on.

It restores an illusion of justice, order, and tranquility to the world, and puts everything neatly back in its place. I have never seen a conversation go well in which “There’s got to be more to it than that” was uttered.