Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It seems to me...

that it's the 'underdog' who really understands the inequity and injustice they are facing, and then responds passionately about it.

For example, doesn't it seem that more women than men talk about gender equality?

Or more gays than straights talk about the various levels of inequality faced by gays?

Or more ________(insert culture or color here) talk about racial equality than the predominant culture/color in the country?

In many ways, this makes total sense—how can I, a white male understand the depth of inequality that a non-white female has experienced.

BUT--and I think this is important--Why should it have to be the one being treated unfairly who has to stand up for his or her rights? Why should I be silent just because I'm in a pretty privileged position? Shouldn't I be willing to at least try to take the position of my brother or sister who has to deal with the unfairness of society? If indeed I have the 'privilege' of being in the position of power, shouldn't I use it for good?

But why is it that it seems (at least to me) that it is mostly women who are raising their voices about equality (and so on)? Is it that, no matter how hard he might try, a man will never really know the perspective of a woman? That a white Canadian will never understand the perspective of a First Nations Canadian? That a straight male will never understand the perspective of a gay male?

Is there, lurking somewhere below the surface, some kind of 'underdog mentality' that doesn't even want support from the 'upperdog'? A 'chip on the shoulder'?
Perhaps it feels condescending?
Perhaps it is?

But then again, perhaps the sense of condescension is only in the eye of the beholder.

I think we all need to stand against injustice, whether it is being perpetrated against us,
Or by us.


Luke said...

guilty as charged.

as a progressive, i feel i'm the underdog minority within my own religion... yet i'm an American which automatically places me at the head of the pack. the fact i own a car puts me ahead of some 80%+ of the people in the world.

so largely, i'm a colonizer and exploiter due to where i was born. i'm trying to recover... buy local, grow my own food, etc... yet here we are...

good post.

chris said...

"That a straight male will never understand the perspective of a gay male?"

I've often thought about that; it must be extremely difficult situation to be born with an orientation that society, for the most part, rejects. Why would anybody "choose" that kind of prejudice. We all need to be more compassionate and understanding to our brothers and sisters!


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