Tag Archives: “oppression”

“It’s not my job to educate you about my oppression!”

Later edit, in light of the possibility of this post being associated with right-wing propaganda.

Reflecting on the issue, it’s understandable that someone’s (even unwilling) lack of information regarding discrimination of any kind may be frustrating. However, each individual comes into a discussion with only their knowledge and life experience; it should not be presumed that they are 100% aware of all aspects being discussed.

It should also not be presumed that they are at fault for this lack of in-depth knowledge; we all come from different backgrounds and only experience bits of reality in our limited time.Taking an interest in matters which don’t affect a person directly is an exercise in openness, not an affront. If a quest for open communication is met with acrimony (i.e. “you should already know all this”), nothing good comes out of that.

Needless to say, the concept of “privilege”, while containing some truth, is highly debatable and should not be thrown around as a label, towards individuals it might not apply to (as it is nowadays).

 

Whenever too many questions are asked regarding someone’s claim of being oppressed, this seems to be a retort of choice. Of course these questions might have perfectly valid answers. However, enter the new attitude.

I paraphrase: “It is brazen for someone of privilege, such as yourself, to demand explanations from us regarding the harm we keep claiming you are causing us. It is not our job to educate you. Regardless, we reserve the right to assume you fully know what you are accused of and why, and treat you accordingly.”

This type of reasoning fails to take a very important issue into account.

When one is accused of something (in this case holding privilege over others), it is their accuser’s responsibility to present any evidence regarding said situation (wrongdoing would be an inappropriate term as this is supposed to be a passive, unacknowledged form of aggression). Otherwise, the accused cannot be held morally responsible for not taking the time to verify that which they are accused of, especially when oblivious to the possibility of such allegations before they were made.

In everyday speech and everyday situations, this would translate as follows:

“You know what you’ve done, so you’d better make amends!”

“No, I actually don’t. What have I done, exactly?”

“It’s not my job to tell you. It’s your job to figure it out. And if you don’t, I’ll call you every name under the Sun and tell everyone what an asshole you are.”

“I honestly don’t know what this is about. All I know is you’re pissed off.”

“Then you haven’t been paying attention, which makes you even more guilty.”

“Of what ??”

“Oh, so now, after you’ve wronged me and won’t even admit it, you expect me to waste my time explaining it to you? The nerve! Would I be upset if it wasn’t your fault? Think about it! If I’m upset, it means you’ve done something!”

In an everyday conversation, that attitude would not only be counterproductive but in fact manipulative (if not psychologically abusive, if sustained); it is somewhat reminiscent of the one women are often portrayed to have in domestic arguments.

Here’s a stereotypical post on the subject (though I have read quite a few).

Do you know what I love? People who say “It’s your job to educate me.” Because of the work I do, and because of the fact that I’m basically an intersectionality salad, people are constantly telling me that it’s my job to educate them.

I had this realization the other day: Jobs are paid. I don’t remember filling out a W-2.

Does this job come with benefits? Because I could really use some dental and some optical. How long is our lunch break? Do y’all do direct deposit?

That’s all fine when that education refers to sharing certain knowledge in a neutral way, in a neutral field. However, accusing people left, right and centre of  -isms and -phobias without an explanation does not qualify.

It is so demeaning and dehumanizing to explain to people of privilege why people like them have historically and currently oppressed people like me.

That’s not where it ends though, is it? You’re extrapolating to make it look like they are oppressing you by default because people like them have oppressed people like you in the past (or are still doing it). Which is a whole different take on it, as everyone (I assume) has some knowledge of history and would not dispute that. Which is when they ask how exactly they are oppressing you in real time and you respond with “Google it“, apparently.

Reducing someone’s identity and personality to a group they form part of (often through no fault of their own) is a conversation stopper.

Feeling like you’re entitled to firsthand accounts about the abuse that I’ve experienced as a minority in this country reeks privilege.

Feeling like one is owed an explanation as to why they are arbitrarily placed in the same category as aforementioned abusers is only natural. Keep in mind that the individual you are speaking to might share no other traits with them but immutable ones (race, ethnicity, background etc), and should not be associated with them at a simple glance.

Have you ever had somebody demand that you educate them about a personal struggle that you experience?

If your stance is that it’s a major, common problem and should be addressed, it’s not surprising that they would take an interest, and it makes no sense to be offended by that.

Secondly, here’s another article from the same website (the gift that keeps on giving in terms of feminist propaganda). It’s titled “Is it your responsibility to educate a person you’re dating on race and racism?”

No matter what, a partner shouldn’t rely on just you to always play the role of a social justice educator. You’re not on call to unpack systemic oppression for another person.

You shouldn’t have to educate your partner on issues of social justice all the time, especially as they pertain to your own lived experience. Giving love and support shouldn’t require “evidence” on why someone needs it.

When it comes to race, dating, and intimacy, I’m learning that it’s less about education and more about openness when it comes to listening and believing. Social justice is a collective process – and that should also apply to dating and partnerships.

In this instance, the “education” caper usually translates into motivating why you keep attacking this person and others, while demanding they shut up and listen at all times. By the way, bringing politics into one’s bedroom is usually detrimental.

It’s not someone’s responsibility to be an on-demand resource or be forced to speak on behalf of “their” people.

The person referred to is obviously from a different background since they don’t share the same experience. Asking might just be their attempt to get to know you or what you have experienced. A cold refusal based on the fact that they should’ve “educated themselves” is not conducive to efficient communication, let alone warmth (which is presumed in a relationship).

It’s not always so much about educating one’s partner, but on how to communicate ways that person can be more affirming even if they don’t intellectually or experientially understand something.

In other words, pardon the acidity, turn this person into an emotional bidet and a parrot of one’s attitudes, at all times. That doesn’t work if they truly seek to understand you and share their honest observations regarding a situation you are describing. Your interpretation is not right by default; everyone is fallible.

Sure, all of these moments could be complete accidents – or they could be moments where implicit racism and sexism show up. (…) Sometimes he’ll wonder why I’m so frustrated.

This might be true – the other person wasn’t maliciously intending to do harm. However, that doesn’t change the reality that my feelings are hurt and that I’m expressing those hurt feelings to my partner.

In other words, the author plainly admits to taking offence in situations others normally wouldn’t, which has a few descriptions of its own: nitpicking, pettiness, childishness, hypersensitivity, a victim complex, immaturity, a propensity for whining gratuitously etc. This is not an attractive trait (or easy to live with).

Feelings are not absolutes. They are also behind stalkers’ obsessions, murders triggered by fits of jealousy or paranoid people attacking those they feel are attacking them. None of this is justifiable, especially when it causes great harm.

A partner can acknowledge your feelings and at the same time offer a different interpretation to the situation you are referring to, at least to provide some nuance. Their awareness that you’d automatically take offence to that and your opinion must be considered valid at all times keeps them from communicating openly (and that can’t be a good thing).

But if I were just to share a story about how someone cut in front of me in line or cut me off while driving, there might be no reason to explain the specifics of why I’m frustrated.

Reckless driving can and does result in serious injuries or death, which is a real possibility in the real world, not just your head. It’s not exaggerated for someone to say they escaped death narrowly when put in danger on the road. It cannot be compared to “microaggressions”, which have no consequence whatsoever and are unintended.

We look to our partners to believe in us and affirm our experiences rather than making us doubt our observations as real.

Unless you are really clutching at straws, causing needless negativity in your life, which is when any good friend and especially your partner will tell you that your attitude is detrimental. They do not have to put up with it, especially when you single-handedly admit to the potential irrelevance of your grievances.

What often happens when my partner wants an explanation of oppression is that I just splutter back all of my feelings. For me, this isn’t just about having a conversation – I have personal stakes in the outcome of the conversation. (…) But rationality is often evoked as a silencing tactic and has made me feel that he was detached from my experiences. My emotions – my anger and frustration over issues of racism – are rational.

Someone who is articulate can analyse and discuss their feelings rationally, with their nuances, limitations and traps. It is not unfair to ask that of them, especially if these conversations are very common.

Oppression isn’t rational, at least not to me, so how could I ever explain it in rational terms?

If you want it to be addressed, especially through legal reforms, you have no choice. Seeking solutions involves rationality and objectivity, as in their absence tyrannical, inquisitorial practices can be instated.

Even as these conversations come from a space of love, nurturing, and accountability, “calling in can be difficult and also requires emotional labor.

The hypocrisy is monumental here.

Hence, explaining why you’re complaining requires emotional labour, but for someone to put up with that on a constant basis, without being able to ask you for details (to actually understand you) doesn’t.

Again – prior knowledge of one’s experience should not be presumed. Demanding unquestioning support from someone on an issue, without the availability to communicate at length why that is necessary, is more likely to alienate them.

The SJW Cult – Recruiting Renfields

Before I comment on this article , which I am told to properly quote and will do, I must mention I think parts of it are ludic (definitely the part about requiring celebrity signatures). However, the inclusion of a small joke does not make the overall concept less disturbing.

Briefly, it lists a series of expectations under the guise of a “friendship contract” meant to define the exact terms of a “fully loving relationship”.

They are clearly meant to define a decent individual in today’s western societies – a radical SJW determined to overturn the system by any means.

To start with, one would see the dreaming up of such a contract as a sad, desperate result of friendlessness turning someone so egotistical they resort to believing they are alone because they are too special and thus must demand more from others. One would also see it as a loner shooting themselves in the foot, looking all the more ridiculous and spiteful. Yet coming from a popular (as I understand) social justice activist, there might be some cause for concern of this being taken seriously.

The author is telling others that in order to befriend a social justice activist like himself, people should not only behave like complete nutcases but actually become that way. Anything less is unacceptable. This cause demands your entire life, your mind and your soul.

I hope to see the day one of them comes up with an idea that is so far fetched literally no one supports it, and their own crowd starts howling this is too much; we want our fucking lives back.

And I don’t use the term nutcases lightly as I have a very broad acceptance of whatever people choose to believe in, unless they are actually harming others as a result (and by harming I don’t mean expressing a different opinion). However, it’s easy to identify some attempts to replace natural human interaction, such as friendship, with an artificial travesty designed for political purposes. 

And calling the recruitment of political activists friendship is particularly slimy.

I’ve written hundreds of letters of recommendations, given countless formal and informal references, provided education on social justice topics via my unpaid and severely undervalued labor. I have often played life coach to people with oozing amounts of privilege, subjecting myself to well-intentioned yet willful violence. 

Did all of this not count for something? Is this what friendship is? A relationship of faux empathy, niceties, and unchecked violence through unacknowledged privilege. Is that what it’s always been?

Quite obviously, the one turning friendship into a mercantile affair is the author and not those seeking effortless help (such as a letter of recommendation), those “taking advantage” of the “education” given by the author of his own volition, or the people he “played life coach to” (advised on personal matters I assume) despite his hidden contempt for them due to their supposed privilege (which can be as simple as a different skin pigmentation as far as SJWs are concerned).

Unchecked violence through unacknowledged privilege insinuates that those people were carrying out an act of violence by simply existing in the conditions life had provided them with. Which is a really disturbing perspective but explains the mentality of the “oppressed” of the day.

Folks feel betrayed by my growth and exertion of self, as they feel betrayed by my evolution. How dare I demand their unnecessary evolution as well? I can feel the tension in current relationships, as folk creatively tell me that they don’t want to learn about the plight of undocumented peoples, challenge the ableist language they use, or think critically on how they engage fat people from a place of deficit.

Folks feel annoyed and despaired by anyone who will not let them exhale, let alone speak, without “pointing out” that they are guilty of unspeakable crimes simply by not taking on social justice crusades every bastard second of the day. When their every other word is “problematic” and they end up in situations like the uneducated snob making threats against a taxi driver for having a Hawaiian dancer doll on his dashboard:

When you hear the arrogance and entitlement, not to mention self-righteousness oozing out of this type of twat, you just about give up on part of the young generation.

No one in their right mind can stand these people. Their inability to make friends is not a surprise in the slightest.

Apparently, it becomes too exhausting to hang out with me. Which is to say, I have to be better in your presence or I have to deal with guilt when you’re around. Why can’t things go back to normal? Which is to say, let’s thrive in the violence of status quo together – we’ve got each other, even if my heel is at your neck.

He expects to befriend people he considers guilty by default of their “heel being at his neck”. That’s a hell of a start right there.

As I embrace this new and in many ways unrecognizable being, I am motivated to explore the meaning of a healthy and loving friendship.

Can you imagine fighting for liberation with a squad – the folks that love you in your fullness, and you love them in theirs? What does that feel like? Look like?

It would look a lot like Jonestown, judging by what is written below, which is anything but loving or healthy, but rather an attempt to control and manipulate someone. A healthy friendship involves respect and boundaries. None of that can be found in this article.

I want this list of expectations to speak to the well-intentioned people in my life — the folk that mean well but often render themselves unhelpful. The price of friendship has gone up and the only acceptable payment is risk taking and radical love.

Good luck on that one. He must think he’s pretty fucking special (as all snowflakes do) and that applicants will be queuing at the door for the great honour. I know this might sound needlessly derisive and sharp-tongued, but the tone of the article is really annoying.

Here is my working Friendship Contract:

Do you want to be my friend?

(YES) (NO) (*MAYBE) 

Please circle one.

*Maybe will be coded as a “No.” I’m hot stuff. This should not be difficult.

If the answer is yes, there are just ten expectations.

Everyone loves a confident fellow; however, there is a definite line between confidence and laughable arrogance. But anyway. The silliness is the least important issue.

Though it’s useful to point out that many presentations made by these activists on serious subject infantilise the reader (I recall nursery-style cartoons accompanied by text which seemed to be written for very simple people).

This can be reworded as hi, I want to be your best buddy; how would you like to overthrow the state with me?

Expectation #1: We Must Toughen Our Skin

We must be able to use language such as: white supremacy, anti-blackness, transphobia, and marginalization in our day-to-day vocabulary without someone getting into their feelings. Heck, I just used three of the four words in a conversation with my bank teller.

Our language should not be deemed taboo or provocative in nature. Having conversations about justice, equity, this murderous system, and our collective liberation should be as frequent as police brutality and as normal as black folk clinging to the paradox of resiliency.

We must have these critical conversations in the open and move beyond the emotions that immobilize us. Our fragility cannot be prioritized. We must get to the actual work. 

In other words, we must pester unsuspecting, innocent people by constantly throwing their so-called privilege in their faces, until we sound like we’ve either smoked something dodgy, taken cocaine too early in the morning or might need psychiatric help.

I understand that religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses also practice door-to-door conversion attempts, but at least they are frank about their intentions and create a separate context for these attempts. And you are more than entitled to shut the door in their faces. Whereas forcing these conversations on people who have no choice but to deal with you as a customer, patient, co-worker etc (you name it) is incredibly inappropriate.

And asking someone to partake in this relentless activism is basically asking them to look like a nutter, day in and day out, risking isolation in the best case scenario (and potentially other consequences).

All I can think of is the twat hassling a taxi driver about a doll on his dashboard. This guy is asking others to be that contemptible twat.

The Cultural Appropriation Of Food -Idiocy Beyond Belief

Again, the rationale found on that website almost leaves me speechless. Some people must have very little to worry about in life.

In case you were at ease thinking you could dodge the PC squad, having checked all your privileges and self-flagellated just enough to placate them, guess again – you could also be guilty of oppressing ethnic minorities through what you eat.

Cultural appropriation is when members of a dominant culture adopt parts of another culture from people that they’ve also systematically oppressed. (…)

With food, it isn’t just eating food from someone else’s culture. It might not be appropriation if you’re White and you love eating dumplings and hand pulled noodles. Enjoying food from another culture is perfectly fine.

But, food is appropriated when people from the dominant culture – in the case of the US, white folks – start to fetishize or commercialize it, and when they hoard access to that particular food.

In other words, it’s fine to enjoy it now and then, just don’t enjoy it too much, sell it or try to popularise it if you can. Even if by selling and making it popular you are employing members of the culture you are supposedly oppressing (let’s be serious; major restaurants selling foreign food tend to employ people who are experts at making it). If you’re a white restaurant owner, that is a no-no. Forget the fact that you’re creating jobs.

By buying and consuming the food, it is implied that the average customer, who is probably just curious (also a sin without paying due reverence to the culture, as you will later read) also takes part in the ongoing oppression of that community – and is therefore guilty of supporting colonisation.

When a dominant culture reduces another community to its cuisine, subsumes histories and stories into menu items – when people think culture can seemingly be understood with a bite of food, that’s where it gets problematic.

Who even does that?

Who claims to understand a culture just by liking a foreign dish? That’s the first I’ve heard of it – because it’s insane. Perhaps the author is confusing people’s lack of information, which can be just the same with or without liking said dish, with claiming expert status, which I doubt anyone in their right mind would do.

Here are some dining behaviors that are culturally appropriative when it comes to food.

So this is linked to consumption directly, not even to the unethical sourcing of ingredients (which is a just cause for boycotting) or commercialisation.

Usually, we re talking about Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Ethiopian, and Mexican food –places where food is cooked by the brownest people. (…)While food from Western Europe is still connected to ethnic roots, ethnic food has become reserved only for ethnicities that are perceived as exotic and foreign to White folks.

No; that’s just her interpretation of it. It is a generic term with a generic meaning. And even if this appraisal was accurate, what would be morally wrong, in the mind of a rational person, with wanting to try exotic foods? Human beings are naturally curious; they enjoy new experiences.

While food can connect people together and also serve as a way to learn about cultures other than our own, what happens is that food becomes the only identifier for certain places. (…) Entire regions become deduced* to menu options and ingredients without any thought to the many different communities in these places. There’s a loss of complexity and cultures end up getting homogenized.

*That must be a typo; she must have meant reduced.

No; that’s what happens in egocentric countries where ignorance is viewed as normal, like (awkward cough) the USA. It can can affect all races, ethnic minorities and creeds. You don’t normally see other tourists in talking excessively about the one thing they know about the country they’re visiting – as that shows they don’t know much at all. Of course, that is also a stereotype and can have little meaning nowadays, in the age of information. Again, that’s still not a reason to avoid foreign dishes.

They end up getting homogenised in that person’s head. Is that really such a problem for the rest of the world? Does if affect anyone outside of it, aside from (maybe) hearing ignorant comments from time to time? And if that person never went near foreign dishes, would they be less ignorant? 

In seeking “authentic” food, we’re hoping for a truly immersive experience into another culture. The food experience, whether in a restaurant in someone’s home city or as part of a trip somewhere else, comes to represent a larger experience with that culture and community.

Says who? Wanting authentic food is just that – wanting it to taste genuinely as it is supposed to and not be poorly cooked, in order to leave you with the wrong impression. Who mandates that it’s more than having a meal and people are seeking “immersive” experiences when they visit a restaurant? How immersive could they be, realistically?

Unlike what progressives think, not everyone overanalyses every bastard triviality, every bastard second of the day.

In addition to this, she mentions visits somewhere else – which means that not even when investing in a visit to a foreign country are you allowed to seek and enjoy authentic food in good conscience. Never mind that you saved up for the trip and do get to interact with the culture somewhat. You’re still meant to feel guilty about this.

And here’s why:

The impacts of historical and ongoing colonization are devastating to many cultures, and many “authentic” “ethnic” cuisines are connected to histories of colonization.

Translation – don’t you dare eat something without researching its history (of the recipe, that is, as hopefully anything in there is fresh enough not to have a very long history). And if you do research it and revere it enough to dare eating it, make sure you pray over it first. If somehow you are brave enough to cook it yourself, make sure you add some guilt as a final touch. You know – for things you didn’t do.

If you love a dish and think it’s delicious, great! If you’re searching for a place that serves a particular dish, also great! However, seeking “authenticity” fetishizes the sustenance of another culture. The idea of the “authentic” food experience is separated from reality. It also freezes a culture in a particular place in time.

Let me attempt to understand this.

If members of your (dominant) culture should not be allowed to prepare and commercialise it, because that would be immoral, your only moral resort would be to buy it from members of the culture it originates from. Which would make it authentic. However, seeking authenticity is a form of fetishism. This makes no sense. I mean, it makes even less sense than the rest of the article.

Context matters. For example, asking if I’ve found any hand-pulled noodle joints that I like in the area is different than asking if I know authentic hand-pulled noodle joints. The difference is that what you’re seeking is one person and one place to represent an entire culture for you.

Again, complete nonsense. It’s only logical to assume that in the second situation they’re also asking you about a place nearby, in order to go there, not about a place from overseas. There is no difference, aside from introducing the word “authentic” into the question and unwittingly triggering you (to be labelled cultural fetishists undeservedly).

There is no one right way to eat something and no one perfect dish to eat. People from different cultures all have their own food preferences, too – the unique ways their families make something or the way they prepare their own meal. It’d be like me asking, “Hey, what’s the most authentic way to eat a hamburger?”

That applies to your home, absolutely. However, in public, things are not that simple. There are different types of implements for a variety of foods and, as snobbish as that is, in certain places, ignorance means you automatically make an ass of yourself, to the amusement of everyone around you. You can’t really watch people eating, as that would also make you a weirdo. The friend who asks you how to eat something almost definitely just wants to avoid being embarrassed, and perhaps embarrassing you by association as well.

Don’t constantly treat your friend of color as your food tour guide. We’re happy eating our cultural foods with you, but that’s not what our entire friendship should be about.

And who even suggests that if you’re often asked such questions – because you presumably know better than other people in your group – you are some token food tour guide…? Honestly, those who are so suspicious and so jumpy about everything  others say… well, they are lucky if they manage to have friends in the first place. Most people would run like hell at the fist sign of sanctimoniousness.

When people think they’re being adventurous for trying food from another culture, it’s the same thing as treating that food as bizarre or weird.

Well, maybe it is.The 100 year egg is mentioned at the beginning of this article. Most people in the west would not even take a chance with an egg that was slightly out of date and many people cook it thoroughly in order to avoid getting Salmonella. The smell of rotten eggs makes most westerners want to vomit. The centenary egg, besides being incredibly disgusting to think of, must pose a health hazard to people who are not used to it (though I’m not sure even Salmonella could live inside that thing for a hundred years). It looks like something fished out of a bin after rotting there for a fortnight. Very hot chilies are another example, some of them being painful to eat. It would not be strange to read somewhere “I had two Bhut Jolokias today and survived.”

What I noticed about progressives in general is that they just want to drain the fun out of each human experience. Down to the last drop. They seek to shame people for everything they enjoy, almost worse than mainstream religions.

The person outside of the culture becomes the person with “insider” knowledge about this exotic, other culture. The theme of “Westerner as cultural connoisseur is rooted in imperialist ideas about discovering another culture and then making oneself the main character in the exchange. “I was transformed by my trip to [fill in the blank].”

In other words,this is a diluted form of imperialism. You’re not allowed to be the main character in a story about you eating strange food – it is immoral to describe a personal experience as a personal experience. And again, the author has this bizarre idea that whoever does it automatically assumes they’re an expert on said culture.

When food gets disconnected from the communities and places its from, people can easily start forgetting and ignoring historical and ongoing oppression faced by those communities. America has corporatized “Middle Eastern food” like hummus and falafel, and some people might live by halal food carts, but not understand or address the ongoing Islamophobia in the US.

Good grief. Now food is politicised as well. Soon there will be nothing – and I mean nothing – that won’t require analysing through the feminist lens.

Eating food from another culture in isolation from that culture’s history and also current issues mean that we’re just borrowing the pieces that are enjoyable – palatable and easily digestible.

One should absolutely learn everything about a culture before they dare order a take-away. Which would make them fairly knowledgeable, to think of it – the very thing the author of the piece resents. According to her, one should not claim to have inside knowledge just because they’ve tried a dish – but at the same time, should not try it before becoming thoroughly accustomed to that culture. Which one is it? Perhaps both? Perhaps trying to find out as much as possible but feigning ignorance? What a shamed, cornered and self-conscious individual one would have to be to fret over all these non-issues.

(…) However, it’s critical for us to reflect on how we perceive the cultures that we’re consuming and think about the relationships between food, people, and power.

Colonization and gentrification are directly related to the appropriation of food. We also need to begin educating ourselves on issues and event that impact the communities that we’re drawing our meals from.

Yes, that is the first thing on the agenda for people who have a lot of work to do and grab a bite on the run.

The second paragraph almost sounds as if by borrowing recipes and ordering from foreign eating venues you’re literally stealing off of someone’s table.

What a strange preoccupation and what a strange article.