Gone are the days when I positively affirmed every day in the shower, and shared uplifting memes. Now I see these past behaviours as tragic extent of mine and others’ unawareness. I thought if I changed my mindset and concentrated on dismissing the negative and amplifying positive activism, that the world I wanted would resettle itself with my aligned actions.
Privileged white woman pain is more gradual and less dramatic than that experienced by intersectional minorities. It is insidious. Kind of like bonsai trees, white women have the innate capacity to grow to a normal size but our roots and branches are cut so that we grow far smaller. Stunted or trained along a trellis in such a way that few see, sometimes not even us.
Like Mithridates, the ancient Greek King who–legend has it–ingested small amounts of poison to create immunity, it is the art of swallowing what we hate little by little, of being formed by it, developing an immunity to it and even learning to appreciate the rush it gives us so we can make it in this sick world. If it is no longer poisonous to us, it is easier to dish it out as we deny that it’s poison. It’s still poison though.
Thus a racist, classist and hierarchical society which favours the few over the masses cannot be truly democratic because power is unequally distributed among and through many channels. And where there is a power differential, this compromises the ability of the marginalized groups to consent.
The powerful emotional link that binds families who grow up together often manifests itself in curious ways when adult adoptees meet their biological families. Yet as common as it is, few want to touch it because–well–incest. But this issue needs more awareness, and not only because according to recent reports it’s on the rise. Also because I believe that it’s a fertile ground for a particular type of abuse.
The very notion that whiteness is a social construct rather than a descriptor of skin tone, is difficult for white folk to understand.
Maybe it was then I first asked the question: would I risk my own life to protect the Anne Franks of this world? The answer was always yes. But hindsight is a flattering bedfellow.
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.
For me one of the real differences between narcissism and privilege is not therefore in the actions of the individual, but in the extent of their internal distortion of reality.
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.
Donald Trump uses ‘alternative facts’ to achieve harmony in his inner world. He’s put a photo on his wall describing the crowd as a ‘sea of love’ indicative of the fact he craves adulation.