‘You wouldn’t understand’ – Don’t be so sure!

You’re not a parent, you wouldn’t understand. You’re not a woman, you wouldn’t understand. You’re not pregnant, you wouldn’t understand. You’re not gay, you wouldn’t understand. You’re not black, you wouldn’t understand.

Are you sick of being told that you won’t understand something because you’re not “one of them”? I feel it’s someone’s lazy attempt to end a discussion or debate — or simply to suggest they’re more intelligent.

First, how would you know what I do and don’t know? I can know things without having had lived them.

Perhaps it’s meant as “you wouldn’t be able to relate.” That, in many cases, could be true. I would accept being told that in some instances.

I wouldn’t be able to relate to a woman giving birth, however I can certainly understand what she’s going through physically and emotionally. I don’t have to do something or perform an act to comprehend what it’s about.

I think about a discussion I had with my mom where she finally said, “You’re not a parent, you wouldn’t understand” as a way to end the debate. What a cop out.

Just because I’ve never birthed and/or raised a human child doesn’t discount that I’m smart enough to make sense of someone’s point. Maybe I’m disagreeing or giving a different point of view, but to brush off a response with “you wouldn’t understand” is a bit of a slap in the face.

It’s essentially calling someone dumb. And, again, it’s most often said when you don’t agree with a person.

Years ago, there was a screaming match on The View between Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell when the panel was discussing racism. Whoopi insisted Rosie wouldn’t understand racism because she’s not black. Rosie didn’t back down and said she’s fully capable of understanding what it’s like to be black and a victim of racism — suggesting she doesn’t have to personally experience it to know what it’s about.

I agreed then and I agree now. People can figure out things from listening and learning – and having compassion and empathy. Maybe that’s a lesson the world needs right now.

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