I don’t hide my white privilege but many of my friends don’t know that my Greek-American father wasn’t considered white as a young man. But they don’t tend to ask because I look utterly white, a caucasian through and through. It’s such a small thing, that it barely scratches the surface of relevance. And yet weirdly enough my realisation of what this means is emblematic of our globally expansive-yet-locally-intolerant times.
Trump wants to make America great again, Theresa May wants to take Britain out of Europe. What they mean is that they want to return to a simpler more ignorant time, one where white people could exploit others–be parasites–without accountability. Abort the awareness baby. Abort.
Yet when you have learned that the best, and almost exclusively only way to survive is by diminishing yourself in order to support those in power–mainly white men–it is paralysing and seemingly impossible to enter into the fray against them. This is the inadmissable and often unconscious conundrum that many white women face deep in their core.
Understandably, those whom fascists consider less deserving of rights and opportunity do not take their prospective dehumanization lying down. But the course of your chosen response in the fight against dehumanization is not necessarily dictated by your political stance. Whether you use reasonable discourse or violent protest is more likely be influenced by another factor: privilege, and how your privilege promotes your own survival.
Pathologizing Trump-like behaviour as opposed to his alleged condition, facilitates a dangerous denial and conflation. If someone is clinically diagnosed with a mental disorder then it creates distance because we better able to dismiss it. Cruel and abusive behaviour can be explained away and the narcissist is somewhat absolved of responsibility for his actions, as are we.
There could be many potential reasons not least that to become a overseas voter is a bureaucratic nightmare, especially for those like me who left before voting age. When I eventually found the energy to jump through all the hoops, I was turned away. The electoral commission had only been formed in 2001 and when I discovered the website several years later, my rights had already expired.
For people of colour, white ethics do not promote their survival–it only promotes white people’s survival and usually at the expense of theirs. People of colour have not been allowed voice, still today have less voice and any choice of an ethical framework–even by me, a white person–is ill-informed if it does not take this into account because our reality is weighted privilege.
There’s only one way to break a someone who is living in an extreme fantasy world, but it means risking the mind of the person themselves. It is tantamount to throwing the baby away with the bathwater. You must accept that this throws out the baby as well (a metaphor which suits Donald particularly well), because they do not–cannot–function properly outside of their bathwater. They have not learned how.
Facebook is not a news feed. It is an opinion feed where subjective ignorance is lauded and verified journalism denigrated simply by creating a false equivalence. It is a he said-she said feed. And I cannot stay in a relationship with anyone or anything which undermines my ability to trust in myself. I am thrown back into gaslit trauma where there is no security, no clarity. It is the screeching of chaos and now I must make my own order.