I don’t want your guilt

So, some people I talk to (typically some combination of three or more of white, currently-able, cisgender, upper- or middle-class, and men, because they’re the ones in positions of privileged ignorance on these issues), get angry with me, thinking I’m trying to make them feel guilty about their good fortune to occupy one of the most privileged positions in my society.

When I point out stuff like how black people have as hard a time getting jobs as white convicts, or how women are less likely to be offered jobs, and if they are offered jobs, it’ll be for a lower starting salary and with less opportunity for mentoring, or how First Nations peoples, especially women, are systemically mistreated by the RCMP in Canada, or how “starlight tours” are a thing, and so on and so forth, they get defensive and angry. They tell me it’s not their fault these things happen, and ask me why I want to make them guilty for existing.

Here’s the thing: I don’t.

I don’t want you to be guilty. Particularly not for existing. I grew up with guilt-for-existing. It’s shitty. I don’t want anyone else to experience it. I’m not telling you about these things because I want you guilty.

I want you angry. Appalled. Outraged. Moved to action.

Or thoughtful. Contemplative. Introspective. Examining your assumptions.

Or even just a little more knowledgeable about the ways in which the world could – and should – suck less for people who aren’t you. 

But I don’t want your guilt. Guilt is about you, and these things that are happening to people who aren’t you are not about you.

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3 thoughts on “I don’t want your guilt

  1. I’ll be over here, mashing the like button until it breaks.

    Also, if your reaction is to attack the messenger when told stuff like this, actually, congratulations. You’ve graduated to part of the problem. (You were before. We all are, even when we don’t know. Ignorance is not an excuse. However, you no longer even have that explanation. All you have is the fact that you turned your back and closed your eyes. You’re actively complicit.)

    • ischemgeek says:

      Yes, exactly.

      One guy I’ve given up on literally said, “Statistical analysis isn’t evidence”.

      … to which I was very tempted to say, “Give up your technology, then, since it’s obviously unsafe and untrustworthy, as it’s built upon facts gleaned through that statistical analysis you hold in so much contempt.”

      … but I didn’t. Because not my FB page, and I actually do like the person whose page we were arguing on and would rather not get blocked for making arguments on his pages always. 😄

      • I… uh… wut? I can’t even with that.

        Also, this is (part of) why I avoid FB. When I’m not thinking: “Wow, you know what? I can’t stand you,” I’m far too often thinking “Wow, you know what? I can’t stand your friend.” Sometimes for a bonus I’m thinking: “Wow, I can’t believe you friended my abusive ex,” but that’s a whole other story. Basically: lots of wows, not enough purps. </gamerjoke>

        But yeh, I know the feeling. lol

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