Have you ever heard the trope about how women or minorities are being racist/sexist against men/white people? It’s usually the first standby response whenever someone from a privileged class is called on their privilege. I thought about that as MLK Day approached (today). Not a February goes by that I don’t hear somebody let loose with the classic “Why don’t we have a white history month?”
or “Can you imagine the uproar if we had a Straight Pride Parade?”
and “Are there any ‘Men’s studies’ degrees?”
When the underprivileged make statements about the privileged it’s common for people to equate that with the privileged doing the same the other way. And folks, I’m over it. I’m over it because it’s just impossible and absurd.
I’m a white, straight, male Christian. That’s four privileged classes that I belong to, and there are no doubt many others I don’t even see. A woman cannot oppress me. A POC cannot oppress me. An LGBTQ person cannot oppress me. Current social and political systems prevent that. It’s part of the definition of privilege; people who have it don’t experience oppression from those who don’t.
You can call it sexism, racism, religious discrimination, the “gay agenda”, whatever. Fine. I know you’ll pull out a dictionary so go ahead; however you and I both know what you’re really trying to say. You’d like to insinuate that these people are oppressing me somehow by making these determinations about me – that them doing what they do because of my race/sex/etc is equal to the racism/sexism/etc they experience. This is just insulting to me.
Any sexism toward me as a man is only a drop compared to the everyday deluge a woman experiences from potentially EVERY MALE she encounters. A person of color speaking out against me or people like me is nothing compared to the life-threatening existence we’ve given him/her.
You tell me feminists hate men? So what? I’m not altogether thrilled with us as a group myself. We sometimes make me want to throw up. Most of the feminists I know don’t hate men. The ones that do have excellent reasons to. But this isn’t oppression. Not by a long shot.
Again, I see you reaching for the dictionary. Fine. Call it sexist if you want. Whatever. Truth is, it’s not the same thing even if you do. I think deep down you know this. If the solution is to find a word other than sexism or racism, we can do that.
Same goes for “reverse racism”. Even if you want to call it racism, you have to admit that significant differences exist. The sociological forces behind anti-POC racism are simply not there when it comes to anti-white “racism”. Don’t pretend it’s the same thing.
So no. I don’t feel threatened or oppressed when a woman, POC, LGBTQ+ person or other minority speaks against me even if I resent their tone. If one of them criticizes me, that’s really all I have to worry about. If our places were switched – with me criticizing them – I would have the weight of centuries of history and societal forces behind me giving strength to what I say. This is the difference.
And it’s a very, very big difference.