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.