First of all, good on you for having self-awareness. You’re probably ahead of the game because of that, alone.
Second, please know that I’m not 100% perfect on this stuff, either. I don’t think anybody is, but definitely don’t take my word as gospel. Think of it as something to “chew on”.
I think insight into the human condition is gained by thinking about what is possible, first of all. I know that you asked this question out of concern over whether you were being fair to others - maybe you’re into the social justice thing. This might seem counter-intuitive, but you gotta let a lot of that go.
Don’t let the POINT of it go. We have to work for a society where we treat each other with respect and as much fairness as humans can inject into the system. Raw, numeric probability will inject unfairness for us; we don’t need to add to it.
It’s the social justice rules and norms that you have to let go of. Many of these norms are predicated on satisfying a special interest, or on not offending allies. These are political norms - group-think. They aren’t indicative of reality.
There’s this idea that a transgender person is absolute and forever correct in their gender identity. Think about that. Do any of us have perfect insight into ourselves? No. Do we change? Yes. Do we have a lot of mistaken assumptions about ourselves? Obviously we do. We make mistakes. We are humans. This is common sense, a mere assessment of “what is possible”. It’s self-evident every single moment that we are alive. If these are true, the sacred cow of identity politics is false. You accept an identity because it is the individual’s right to call themselves what they like, not because it is immutable and perfect. I don’t care how many times people demand sacred status for their identity; nothing defeats the imperfection and change inherent in being human.
There is this idea that white people are, in an absolute sense, always more privileged in nearly every arena - and that serious discourse must accept this as reality in order to go forward. This is a political norm, and not something that actually reflects the scope of human experience. Are white people poor? Well, think about all the factors that influence poverty. Are some white people dumb? Have learning disabilities? Live in places where education is of a lower quality? Uncooperative? Stubborn? Asocial? Bad parents? Living in places where being white is uncommon and unpopular? Mentally ill? In prison? Living in places other than the West, where they do not represent the culturally dominant paradigm? If these things are true, this automatically invalidates a lot of rhetoric as well. The thing is, aside from what genetics determine (skin color, some aspects of intelligence and mental health, future pathophysiology and disease resistance) there’s not predetermined things which absolutely will or will not happen to people. If this is true, which it is, again, self-evidently so - then clearly a lot of the absolutist political rhetoric about it is ridiculous. Let go of absolutes.
Absolutes are for idiots, except in hard sciences and math. Instead, again, consider the possible: CAN this happen? Then, consider the PROBABLE: how likely is this to come to pass? White people in the West are certainly less LIKELY to be poor or disadvantaged in a marked way, aside from gender. They are significantly less likely to be shafted by society versus some groups, like Native Americans. This is the reality discourse should be built on, not moronic absolutes that appeal to the taste for vengeance.
Remember to respect the individuality of human experience. Those Juggalos are people. You do not have to be friends with them. You can think they are stupid, as individuals. Still, there’s no need to write them off because they violate the “whites as overtly privileged” paradigm. Reality check that shit. You’ll realize how ridiculous and incompatible with human nature and reality most rhetoric is, if you only respect the validity of an individual’s experience.
Don’t give people a moral pass because of the group they belong to. This is condescending. Instead, be realistic about how “moral” they are able to feasibly be in their situation. Adapt. Use unique solutions for unique individuals. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Remember to imagine the possibilities.
Where your ability to imagine the possibilities inherent in the human condition fails you, don’t forget to do the research. Honestly, though, the more you think for yourself WHILE CAREFULLY OBSERVING REALITY, the less this should be an issue.
Don’t encourage virulently angry dialogue, no matter how cathartic it is for you or other parties. Allow them to have their dialogue. Try not to have it, yourself. It isn’t productive in any capacity other than to vent, which is their need - not yours.
Never stop thinking. Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Don’t tell yourself that you can’t, because you’re white/rich/a mountain range/whatever. You are human. Use your imagination for something useful. You will learn sensitivity this way.
Don’t get super angry at yourself when you feel yourself disregarding an individual’s experience, or pitying them, or grouping them together as a hive-mind because that’s convenient to your worldview. That leads to insecurity and guilt, which leads to feelings of needing to be validated, and accepted by, the group. The group requires you to write off individuals for the sake of promoting group rhetoric. This is a step backwards. Instead, think long and hard about why you’re doing the thing that bugs you. Ask yourself hard questions about, yeah - your privileges, and the areas where you are less privileged. How do these things affect your outlook on life? How does it compare to the experiences and outlooks of others? How does your outlook make it easier or harder for you to be successful in our society? What about others, and their outlooks? What can be done? Questions like this can be really helpful - they can strengthen your perception, instead of subjugating your common sense to group-think absolutist rhetoric, for the sake of absolving guilt.
Treat people as respectfully as you can manage.
I’m sorry if that’s a little incoherent. I’m happy to respond to any follow-up questions or concerns.
edit: rebloggable by request.
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- oldmanyellsatcloud said: The rise of multi-racial people like myself also makes these distinctions a bit harder, and worth reviewing and reconsidering. Embrace your inner devil’s advocate to your own ideas.