Saturday, July 23, 2016

This image

is a variant of one that I used about a year ago in this post. I like this new image better in that it provides much more information.


The image I used earlier only had the information presented in the first two panels...the image above expands and elaborates. Equality seems to be a marginal improvement on reality...equity is definitely an improvement on both reality and equality but the ultimate goal for all is liberation. Here liberation means that the 'norm' is absent artificially maintained barriers or obstructions for everyone.

This image is a rich condensation of a large amount of information and I suspect it will continue to trigger thinking for me for some time to come. Maybe it will work that way for you too.

One other thing I wanted to share in this post is a link to a bit of writing and information gathering I stumbled across recently from an unusual source. The author of this blog post is a self-described religious conservative and a white guy. His post is a huge compilation of factual information about white privilege and systemic racism. I've printed it out for study...and it came to an astonishing 18 pages. Mr. Tucker did some serious and useful work in terms of gathering this data and putting it into a structured format for use.

I like that he ended it by asking: 

So… Who are you today? In the face of today’s injustice, which all of the above just barely even begins to describe, are you being today the kind of person that would have opposed slavery, the Holocaust, Jim Crow, and Apartheid back then?     
It was cool for me to see that I wasn't the only one who had thought about things in those terms. It was almost six years ago that I wrote a post about time travel and a thought experiment.

I was writing that post focused on the horrors of speciesism while suffering severely from the obliviousness of whiteness. All I can do about that is regret it and note that I struggle against that obliviousness and think (hope?)  it has decreased somewhat. I plan on printing out that earlier post and going through it in detail in order to rectify the errors in it as an aid to my comprehension. In the meantime, I apologize for and regret the warpings and distorting and misleading analogizing and obliviousness in it.

One part of it caught my attention though and I believe the thought I was expressing to be about as true as anything can be.
There is a curious thing about life, each of us in our own time of living can be faced with significant moral questions.  Great injustices and horrors occur on a seemingly perpetual basis.  We often ignore or deny or seek obliviousness to these occurrences, nevertheless, they exist.  You can pretend they don’t…but pretense does not magically make them disappear nor does it absolve you and your actions or your failure to act. 
It's weird to me that I could write about obliviousness then...all the while...at that time...I was, in ways large and small, engaged in being oblivious to the ongoing oppressions of racism and sexism and heteronormativity and ableism and ageism and and and. (and I have no doubt that, in various ways, I continue to be oblivious)

Just when you think you've figured something out...poof...you find there is still yet more to become aware of and to comprehend.

It seems to be that one of our ongoing tasks as living beings is to struggle to comprehend and resist injustice and no small part of that struggle is to comprehend...because if we don't comprehend then we can't know what to resist and struggle against and if we suffer from obliviousness then we often engage in opposing one sort of oppression while recreating other oppression(s).

And...each of us...no matter when we live...if we live in societies that normalize and support oppression then we will be presented with a version of "reality" that, in both large and small ways, explains and upholds and conceals that oppression as being "normal" and "just the way it is".

Jeez...what a pain in the kabooka. It would be nice to have the default to be non-oppression...but that's not what we have right now.

I'm convinced that part of the task of living, for humans anyway (especially white humans but also for all humans), is to ceaselessly struggle to accurately identify and struggle against oppression. Which means...we have plenty of work that remains to be done.

And the real kicker is...that unless you're actively engaged in struggling to comprehend and to resist (and I include myself)...then you're being complicit in the ongoing manifestations of oppression. There is no sideline...there is no "neutral". As much as we want to...we can't go hide under the bed and be "innocent". Our legacy from our ancestors is pervasive structural oppressions and our task is to dismantle those structures. We white folks (especially) can thank our ancestors for that.  

1 comment:

Have Gone Vegan said...

A "pain in the kabooka" indeed, snort. But I think if we had grasped more clearly the different types of interacting oppressions and their roots when we first went vegan, that it might have been overwhelming. It would have been for me, that's for sure.

So I'm thinking you're being a bit hard on yourself as the obliviousness of oppression is exactly part of what makes it difficult to dismantle. And as someone who commented on the post you referred to, I certainly wasn't where I am today either, and most likely 6 years from now we'll be aghast at other things we have yet to comprehend. :)