On victimhood, White Privilege and brokenness

Something I posted to [one of my lists](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sexualracismsux) this morning that I enjoyed writing a great deal.

On 22/01/2006 Craig wrote:
> Many people have a hard time accepting the concept of White Priviledge, and get hostile about it. When people of color are rejected or ignored, race might be a factor. You can never tell. White people never have that extra burden on them, or the same sets of negative stereotypes they have to wade through.

Accepting this aspect of the current environment might be my key to understanding why I feel such hostility to so many of Ashley’s early postings and why it drives me nuts when “kindly” white friends advise friends of colour to “just get over it” or to stop accepting a “victim mentality”.

The early stages of a rights movement – suffrage for women, civil rights for black folks in the US, suffrage and land rights for indigenous Australians, gay rights – the consciousness-raising part, begins with the people who find themselves in the under-privileged part of the System (the social-practice-media-industry-power-holding-and-wielding-hegemonic-structure that is enacted and re-enacted daily by each of us, the Patriarchy, the White Society, the racialised gay community) gaining a consciousness that they *are* oppressed, that to just keep living life as though the System were normal and natural is *wrong*, that it is *broken*, that *we* are all *broken*.

This can be agonising! Some people of the oppressed group who can distance themselves from their fellows by their talent or their looks or their ability to acquire money do so and accuse the others of not working hard enough, of being victims. Many members of the over-privileged group or class do likewise. Because to change the System is traumatic – we fear it might break or worse that our privilege will be over-turned and we will find ourselves victims. So we oppose a critique of the System.

As things progress it becomes necessary, I believe, for the over-privileged group to understand – not just their role and power in this, but their *victimhood* in this. That these Systems that divide us according to looks or belief or origin or behaviour into Us and Them hurt all of us as a human people.

For white people to accept the role of [White Privilege](http://www.whiteprivilege.com/definition/) is to accept an invitation to brokenness. To understand with your mind and then start to see, just as the early rights movement had to, that the System is neither normal not natural, this it is wrong, that it is broken, that we are all broken.

… and to go through that to find the energy to act and advocate and work through the healing of these terrible, open wounds in the body of the human People; to collectively build an understanding that They *are* Us and that when you keep down children of colour – you are keep Us down and that when you bomb villages in a far away country you are bombing Us.

And that’s how the ending of all this begins.

Or that’s what I believe.

Technorati Tags:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s