Perhaps YOU should…

This isn’t so much book-related, but hey, this blog is the platform I’ve got, so I’ll use it. And it can be related to books, since it comes up when people advocate for buying more books by authors of any minority identity, or for more books of a certain topic. It’s that argument I’m sure you’ve seen around…

“If you want [x], then YOU should do it.”

Which makes two assumptions: one, that when somebody wants something, it’s their responsibility to go and get it for themselves — even if they’re in a difficult position for that, even if what they want is fairness and equality, even if other people are in a position to help them. And two, that the person advocating for this thing is a hypocrite and is not campaigning in their own life for these things.

If you believe that fairness is not your responsibility, or the responsibility of anyone else, that’s fine, but I’m gonna sit here and judge you for it all I want.

But the second assumption — look, even if I was a hypocrite, all that says is that I’m a hypocrite, not that what I’m arguing for is wrong. And you better be damn sure while you’re at it that I am actually a hypocrite, or you look really fucking silly.

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2 thoughts on “Perhaps YOU should…

  1. This (the argument you’re refuting) sounds like typical priveleged defensiveness. It’s basically, “Sure, I have privelege, but I am not going to use my privelege to help my fellow humans because I think they should do on their own what they’ve been struggling to do without support all along, because clearly that’s working wonderfully.” Yup, sure, perfectly logical.

    We may be priveleged in some ways and disadvantaged in others. I have white privelege, but I’m a girl. I have economic privelege, but I’m from Africa. Everyone brings different things to the table and until we start reaching down and helping each other up, we’re like a sea of drowning people trying to pull ourselves up by bringing others down.

    To quote a friend, who was speaking about white allies of black student protestors in South Africa at the moment, “Dear White Friends
    White Privilege is real and it’s okay to admit that it is REAL. Admitting it’s real is NOT an invitation to feel GUILTY. That kind of guilt does nothing for POC’s and it does nothing but make White people feel guilty (no constructive purpose) Rather if you are admitting the existence of white privilege you are opening yourself to grappling with the truly difficult questions that life offers.
    But please bear in mind that admitting White Privilege and then doing nothing about it, is the ultimate expression of White Privilege. So what constructive use must you put that White privilege? That is a question that you will have to answer yourself.”

    By lending our loud voices to the cause of those who have been gagged by society, we amplify their message, give it the legitimacy that is automatic to our own privelege, and help much more than by doing nothing and telling them to just do it themselves.

    *drops mic*

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