Friday, February 12, 2016

Privilege Guilt: Also Known As 'Your Problem'

My fellow white people made the news once again by complaining that people of color are being really mean to us and making us feel bad.

It's over a video of a great visual metaphor for privilege and all the many things that get in the way of marginalized groups in the race of life. It's called The Unequal Opportunity Race.



Pretty good, right? Well, a high school teacher in Virginia showed it to students, and my fellow white people got all upset and started calling it a "white guilt" video. Because it made them feel guilty, I guess?

There's nothing untrue about this video. I mean, it's a big ol' metaphor, but supported by historical fact and general reality. The thing is, if that reality makes privileged people feel guilty about their privilege, that's a personal problem. Attacking this video because it made your feels hurt is ridiculous. It's an incredibly immature response to expect people who have been hurt to stop talking about their pain and their struggles that are the result of an unfair system because it makes you feel guilty to hear about it. And in fact, that's a common abuser tactic.

The worst part is that my fellow white people who are complaining about this likely don't feel guilty at all and didn't feel guilty when viewing it. They're calling it a "white guilt" video because they see it as something that's intended to invoke guilt and they think the high school kids, who are probably less dead inside and stubbornly racist, will feel guilty about their privilege when viewing it.

It's downright insulting to look at this video and only think that it was made to make the viewer guilty. This is not a Sarah McLachlan animal adoption video. This is a concise explanation of a complex and pervasive issue that really hurts a lot of people. If it makes the viewer feel guilty, that's a personal problem. An adult should be able to deal with that emotion responsibly. The right way is generally to work to correct whatever wrong is causing the feeling. The wrong way is to go "wwahhhhhh you meanie you're making me feel bad wahhhhhhhhh!"

It's a bummer that I have to explain this because this is the kind of shit that you should learn in preschool.

Unfortunately, to some people, any discussion of race and white privilege is "divisive" because instead of dealing with emotions like adults, they have to react to any bad feels by getting super defensive or straight up going on the attack, because they view the emergence of the feeling as the result of an attack on them. But it's your feeling. Your problem. No one is responsible for your white guilt but you. And trying to keep this kind of very necessary education out of schools is just going to keep all of the problems listed in the video going.

That might be what you want so that you can keep your moving walkway, but fuck you. If you forgot how to actually run the race, that's your problem.

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