Tuesday, 15 August 2017

On Loss of Privilege

Some of the angriest and most aggressive prejudice we see today comes from those who believe that their own group – men, white people, non-disabled people, the economically well-off, straight people, cisgender people, and so on – are under threat, and are now being disadvantaged in the name of political correctness. They see civil rights as an attack on white people, feminism as an attack on men, pride as an attack on those who are cishet. Generally speaking, they are wrong.
It is helpful to understand where they are coming from, though. Not to excuse it or justify it, but simply to understand it. Understanding is the starting point for all constructive action in such cases.
It is easy for a person who is not oppressed in a certain way not to realise what it is like to be oppressed, to assume that their experience is the default, baseline, way everyone experiences things. When that experience then changes for the worse, when they lose advantages, or others are given them, it seems unfair, it seems that they are being attacked.
Do not focus your rejection of prejudice on these people, though do what you can to help them understand, or at least counteract their impact – and always reject their prejudice. The real villains in this scenario are those who fan the resentment of those experiencing a loss of privilege, usually for their own personal gain or political ends.
Written August 2017
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