n. the feeling of jealousy one gets when one is born into a powerful family, ethnicity, class or social position, but one winds up with no power.
Back in May 2014, I asked my clever German-speaking friends on Facebook
I’m after one of those terrific German compound words which refers to the feeling of jealousy one gets when one is born into a powerful family, ethnicity, class or social position, but one winds up with no power. Any ideas?I’ll also happily accept words in other languages, I just usually discover words for complex ideas in German. It’s the agglutination, you see.
This idea of power-envy keeps coming up for me in what I think is an observable emotional driver for many (not all) of us who do liberation (anti-racist, feminist, GLBTI) work. Many (not all) of us come from a background which would, in other circumstances, gift us with a certain amount of social power, but because of the dimension of our interest, we are blocked from the power we think we deserve. Naturally, we phrase this as a concern with “justice”.
But it also seems to me it shows up, and often in nastier forms, among people who come from a background of entitlement to power, yet find themselves with none without any observable impediment to power. Think about times you’ve heard a heterosexual, cis-gendered, white man excluded from power in a country like Australia or the USA talking about people from other groups having any power at all.
TIP: Use Google Translate to help you work out how to pronounce it, if German is not your thing.