Saturday, August 1, 2009

Concise post on Oppression and how we contribute to it

This was a reply on a comment in this discussion at bilerico that just seemed to work on it's own so I'm putting it up here as a post:

One of my favourite aspects of Taoism is how in the symbol of The Tao the teardrops of Yin and Yang, the masculine and feminine principles of 'the way', there is a corresponding pearl of the other contained within. And with the key to 'the way' being a harmonious balance of energetic principles it's a philosophy thats principles lead easilly to trans-friendliness (though like all such systems it has it's bigots too).

Indeed the same problems of conformity, of hostility to the different, of judging others by negative stereotypes, of ignorance etc effect us all. Problem is in oppressed groups we tend to Internalise a lot of that oppression as well as absorb a lot of the bigotries in society against other groups. So you can find transphobic GLB's TS's who hate CDs and vice versa, racists, sexists etc.

Often these are even stronger in oppressed groups than in the general population! This is because many oppressed people want to fit in and want to identify with the 'mainstream' oppressing society not because it is oppressing but because it is seen as 'the' society. And so they will defend the status quo, justify it's flaws in all particulars save for the discrimination against themselves and they will discriminate against other marginalised groups.

It's like the kid with glasses tripping over the overweight kid at school so the rest of the kids will be more accepting of the kid with glasses and see he can be just like them.

Thus the victims attempts to survive for themselves reinforces and strengthens the bullying/opressing culture. Whereas whats really needed is the undermining and dismantling and condemning of the bullying culture so that differences are seen as valuable not detrimental and conformity to fit in and be the same is seen as the enemy of all. A unity of diverse equals rather than a hierarchy of differences enforced with physical and emotional and psychological violence.

As every group has its people struggling to survive themselves and perpetuating the problem it's easy for someone from one group to see those in another and label the entire group as 'bad' while seeing the same behaviour in their own group as justified and an understandable response to what they have suffered. This perspective bias also feeds into the rest and further strngthens and perpetuates the oppression.

By building bridges between groups, by making friends and allies in other groups, by condemning such opressing and scapegoating within our own groups we can dissmantle this pattern if not wholly then substantially enough to drastically improve the lives of masses of people.

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