Take Back Your Privilege

The revocation of Dave Truesdale’s WorldCon membership has led to a rift amongst the members of the self-deprecating (heh) Social Justice Warrior clique over the principle of free speech and its importance to everyone, SJW and non-SJW alike. This rift is explicitly apparent on Moshe Feder’s Facebook wall, where he’s made plain his feelings on the matter (he’s pro-free speech). If you don’t know who Moshe Feder is, google “Tor Books” and “senior editor.” You’ll get the picture.

What has been especially enlightening for someone who’s technically a minority are the claims by some of Feder’s friends, who are zealous proponents of the SJW credo. You are familiar by now with the tenets of said credo, correct? The absolute necessity of safe spaces, the existence of white male privilege, and the importance of safeguarding the mental and physical safety of everyone from WrongThink, with the added insistence that such an issue overrides any protection of the offending party’s freedom to speak.

We will not discuss the difference between restricting the speech of public entities versus private parties, although it’s important, just not germane to this particular line of thought. What caught my eye was the mindset of these SJWs. The comment below to one of our own is in keeping with this mindset:

…Your objection is based on a faulty assumption of what a “safe space” is. The world is *already* a safe space for white males. It *fits* them. Their words and emotions and actions are given weight. They are given the benefit of the doubt and rule of law when they act bad.

They are given credit and monetary compensation when they act well. When they say “I prefer to go by X”, people apologize and call them X. They run >90% of the institutions that affect all of us. I want the space in the world to be shared. When I walk down a street, I don’t want to be the one who *always* gives way to a man, because he won’t. I want, when women and people of color and LGBTQ people say “this behavior is not acceptable and it harms us” for it to be *real* to people who are hearing the complaint.

I don’t want women with internalized misogyny always carefully weighing in “guys, please don’t make me not one of the guys, guys, I don’t agree with those people who want me to have an equal share of the world, guys” because it’s the safest way for them to proceed in the world, and hating other women is a small price to pay.

I don’t want male violence (against women and men) and white violence (against people of color and white people) to be embedded into our institutions and supported by otherwise good people who are willing to support abstract concepts that don’t actually apply to a situation over actual harm to actual people.

I don’t want *anyone* to be 3/5s of a human being. If that is “wrong”, I don’t want to be right.

Note that from the onset this SJW moved goalposts and Othered the person she was responding to by implying that the other individual had internalized misogyny, therefore said individual was betraying her own gender by disagreeing. Note also that the comment is heavily laden with a victim’s mentality that makes the world the SJW inhabits seem like There’s No Way Out because she’s too subjugated to the whims of the Patriarchy upon her person. So to translate her comment above, appropriately:

”I am not a self-possessed woman, even though I call myself a feminist. I am not strong enough to stand my ground against a man walking towards me, therefore I must remove myself from his path because I am the lesser sex.

I need safe spaces because I don’t know if men are going to harass me, undress me with their eyes, use the wrong words around me or even touch me to shake my hand, and OMG I FEEL SO VIOLATED.

I wish you hadn’t appeared in this comment thread, where I was happily flaunting my victimhood as a woman to everybody else until YOU showed up.

I really wish you’d shut up because you, a supposed ‘Woman of Color,’ are messing up my narrative and you can’t do that in public.”

Far be it from me to be patronizing, but I feel sorry for this poor soul. She, A Modern Woman, is addressing everyone using a public platform about how unsafe and oppressed she is. She is lecturing Feder about his stand for freedom of speech and not for the protection she requires from Unsafe Persons and Beliefs. The nerve! The horror of being forced to tolerate someone else’s opinion that she disagrees with! To the Fainting Couch!

Instead of dispensing with more ridicule and criticism that such creatures deserve, I will only say this to them:

Take back your privilege.

If the world is a safe space for white males, you’re already intruding upon their turf. Your own “safe spaces,” those little pockets that are supposed to shield you from the much larger male safe space, are flimsy and temporary shelters against an already existing force. You can’t extinguish it, and even though the force of the state is on your side, it is wielded by the very men you decry and despise. You crave its power but don’t understand it and underestimate it. You resent the other minorities who disagree with your stance and even oppose you, but you can’t form a coherent argument to persuade them of its virtues. You turn against your allies at the drop of a hat over an incorrectly phrased opinion or disagreement in general, and can’t understand why they abandon you in your most “desperate” hour.

The conundrum of the SJW credo thus boils down to the dichotomy of a common predicament in any movement: you’re finding support for your cause in many areas, but some of the support is unnecessary because it’s the wrong kind of support. It’s like the awkwardness of a Bernie Sanders rally disrupted by BLM activists who take over the stage because he’s a privileged male with a platform that they need more. Who’s the privileged one after you’ve wrested away the microphone? It’s not the Feared White Guy.

Retrieve your agency and dignity from your ghostly oppressors. And once you have them, realize that the victim act is no longer authentic or believable. Speak in terms that other minorities will find grounded in the real world as opposed to a bubble where the same phrases are uttered by others of like mindset. It’s almost code, mind: “He took away her agency with one wrong word! TRIGGER WARNING!” Deciphered, it reads as, “How can this man with an offensive opinion be removed from my sight before I blow a gasket? Oh, I know! I’ll complain to the concom and have his membership revoked!”

Given the insular language employed, it’s no wonder that other minorities – you know, the right support – don’t find your cause to be worthy enough to join or even sympathize with. It’s true that many don’t become believers in a cause unless it affects them personally, somehow, and even then you can’t count on monopolizing them as symbols or tokens. People just don’t have time for that load of baloney, or they don’t trust the propped-up institutions where such tokens are required.

So in addition to taking back your privilege, don’t piss off potential allies by Othering them. The degree of separation between ally and enemy in a social cause is so slim that it’s dangerously easy to alienate another Woman of Color by dismissing her experiences because they’re dramatically different from your own. Been there, haven’t done that because I knew better. The t-shirt didn’t fit me.

It’s actually amusing to see the Othering going on, because in the process you’re acknowledging that I’ll never fit in with your clique. That’s right, honey, a clique. That’s what you’re playing at, only you’re doing it in Fandom and fandom while trying to claim that you represent “marginalized people” who are being silenced. Haha, funny. I don’t feel silenced, and matter of fact, neither does the SJW above.

If it’s a simple matter of avoiding broad strokes from a brush, put the brush down.

If it’s a matter of ignoring offenders of your sensibilities because their opinions are different, ignore them.

If it’s a matter of feeling taken aback at the beginning of a con panel because the moderator intentionally opens with controversial statements, surely there are better panels to attend where the atmosphere is less offensive. Surely there’s a corner at this con where you will feel Safe from your oppressors, yes?

Surely we can make better worlds, by being better than this.


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