Friday, January 8, 2010

Privilege, You’re Soaking In It

I know I went on a rant recently about how oppressors don’t get to define what is an appropriate response by a oppressed group to some remark or action by a member of the oppressor class. I now have to add being a member of an oppressed group does not give you the right to tell another oppressed group that they are overreacting.

I bring this up because of a dust up on twitter today, an atheist told some trans-woman they were over reacting to a routine by Colbert on his show. I have not seen the bit and only followed part of the conversation but the content of the bit is not the point. You do not get to tell a member of an oppressed group they are over reacting and then fall back on the ‘but I’m oppressed to!’ whine when called on your lack of knowledge of the other person’s situation. But that is exactly what happened.

The atheist should have been able to empathize with the trans-women given all the shit atheists take from the theists. But he was blinded by his white male privilege. As a white former male person I recognize the arrogance that comes from having your ideas and opinions valued over all others. No life experience or ideas are valid unless you validate them. I took me a long time to figure out how to take the blinders off and really see the world. Being a progressive or a would be ally does not absolve you from confronting your own privilege. A white, straight cis-male, no matter how good his intentions, is still a total jerk when insisting he knows what should or should not piss off trans-women.

No comments: