Privilege, Empathy, and Survival

Gunshow #648 "On Fire" by K.C. Green
Gunshow #648 “On Fire” by K.C. Green

Wow. Quiet.

So, we’re pretty fucked.

Yeah, it’s been less than a week, and all the Tr*mp-apologist media outlets have been crowing “Come together with the alt-right!” “try to understand the white working class’s ability to overlook blatant racism and threats to your safety because of their anger!” and “give Tr*mp a chance!

So then hate crimes skyrocketed, Tr*mp appointed a cabinet of white supremacist terrorists, and that poor, beset-upon white working class? They’re on Twitter, targeting protesters with angry tweets and gloating. Yeah, so, that “chance”? I’d say at this point, the chance has been given.

I have a lot of swirling thoughts around the three words in this title, and I’m reeling from anger and fear, so why not start with EMPATHY.

EMPATHY. I’m sure I have no Tr*mp supporters who follow me, which means I don’t have to explain the meaning of the word. That “white working class” might need to look it up, though. Nobody is trying to minimize the economic panic of the WWC (as I’ve seen it abbreviated online, even though I am loathe to dignify this group of people with an abbreviation). But if it needs to be explained to you that your high Obamacare costs (is this a thing? Really?) are a lower priority than the harassment and murder of minorities and women, then you have zero concept of empathy.

PRIVILEGE is the safety of knowing that you’re probably going to be okay. You “pass” as white and cis and Christian and straight enough to fly under the radar as not belonging to any of the WIDE RAINBOW of groups who have been targeted for hate crimes in the past SIX DAYS (and before). You’re well-off and white and you have the position of privilege wherein you can romanticize “The Resistance.” You’ll blow the dust off your old Les Miserables CD from Middle School and wax poetic about the great art that will be inspired by the struggle of your fellow (white) Americans living under the upcoming fascist regime. You have the privilege to do that, when it might be more productive to EXAMINE YOUR PRIVILEGE. Instead of protesting to everyone who points out your privilege, “But I voted for Hillary/Bernie/wrote in ‘none of the above’ on my ballot!” consider that people whose lives are in danger do not fucking care. Yeah, that’s for you, tone-deaf Facebook friends urging Millennials to just shush.

Educate yourself. Put yourself in danger to disrupt harassment and then don’t make it about you. In short, nobody wants to listen to you (or me) explain away your privilege because you really had quite a hard life, actually, you had to put yourself through college to get that cushy job and you suffered as a child from many dental cavities and you share ‘woke’ memes on Facebook… If you’re privileged enough to survive the systemic racism and oppression, just stop.

And finally, SURVIVAL. My Godlessness. The romantic notion of surviving fascism has become a trending AF topic this past (almost) week! I can’t speak for everyone, but when someone tells me “it’s gonna be okay” and “we’ll survive this” and “cheer up,” they’re being dismissive and it’s actually NOT HELPING. Not helping at fucking all. Do you think I don’t want to just disappear into my insular bubble of warm baths and Beatles music and hipster Brooklyn happiness? Um, hell yeah. I guess empathy won’t let me. Privilege isn’t a gift, it’s a burden. If you really want America to survive this, you’ll put it to USE.

Okay, go throw up (again) and send a guilt-soaked donation to charity.



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