The Distress of the Privileged

The Distress of the Privileged. Advocates a “firm yet compassionate” approach to dealing with backlash against anti-oppression work. I mostly aim for something like this, but I have to respect a diversity of tactics on this one. Talking about oppressed people having compassion for their oppressors can get into sketchy territory. I liked this post for staying clear that respecting everyone’s different needs doesn’t mean pretending everyone’s needs have the same scale and urgency. (via Rob Rao!)

But even as we accept the reality of George’s privileged-white-male distress, we need to hold on to the understanding that the less privileged citizens of Pleasantville are distressed in an entirely different way. (Margaret Atwood is supposed to have summed up the gender power-differential like this: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”)

George deserves compassion, but his until-recently-ideal housewife Betty Parker (and the other characters assigned subservient roles) deserves justice.

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