Friday, December 30, 2016

An observation.

I'm drawn to expending as little effort as possible on figuring out what to spend more effort on.

In pursuit of that usually unachieved goal, it occurred to me some time ago that whatever the right-wing gets excited about might be something that’s actually threatening to oppressive structures and therefore worth looking into.

That's part of the reason when I look at books on Amazon that deal with racism/race or whiteness, I look at the one star reviews. If such a book garners lots of white men expressing worry about the book or disliking it...then it might be worth reading.

Things that get right-wingers all riled up, at least in recent history, can serve as a useful proxy for identifying what might effectively interrupt oppressive practices.

During my lifetime, the Republicans or right-wing or Conservatives (whatever you want to call them), mostly align themselves on the side of those (who're white or who think white) with power and money.

Both the right and the left tend to embrace a number of ideologies that deny the importance of marginalized (race, sex, class, and so on) group membership...notions like "meritocracy" and "equal-opportunity" and "individualism". These ideas are currently most often used as masks for obscuring a very different reality in terms of how U.S. society operates.

It is the right-wing that almost invariably pursues policies that reflect these ideologies. And...it is the right-wing that consistently denies systemic oppression in the U.S.

The two stances (right and left) differ...but not nearly as much as they have in the past and currently they both strongly fall on the side of upholding money and power. It would be nice if they both resembled each other in terms of opposing oppression...but right now they don't.

Over the years I’ve noticed that the right-wing folks rarely (if ever) “accidentally” decrease oppressive practices while left-wingers “accidentally” enhance or bolster oppressive practices quite often. For an instance of this, read about Bill Clinton's "welfare reform"

Right-wingers are much more precise in supporting oppression than left-wingers are in opposing it.

This is more (maybe much more) important than is often noticed. Important, at least, in terms of helping to navigate the often confusing and contradictory rhetoric that oozes around like obscuring fog.

Note: One of the better guides to opposing oppression is closely examining what scares or upsets those most devoted to upholding oppression.

My speculation about why the left-wing often misfires in its attempts to resist oppression is that the left-wing establishment is controlled by white folks (men mostly) and from their position position they’re sometimes trying to help out those with little social power and…they often don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.

Both parties are controlled by wealthy white men...and...most white men in the U.S. are supportive of patriarchal white supremacist social structures (whether they consciously realize it or not).

I've also slowly come to be aware that it often is that "good white liberals" tend to struggle when they come face to face with some of the realities of what it means to implement an egalitarian society and behave with respect toward those who've been historically targeted for oppression. Sadly, because of social conditioning, we all tend more toward trying to "look" good rather than "doing" good...and...also because of social conditioning we tend to have erroneous notions about how oppression operates. (read what some "good white liberal" vegan women did when they were urged to opt out of supporting some racist "advocacy")

If this is true, then for left-wingers to get as precise about their undertakings as they say they want to be…then they should turn over control to marginalized groups. But, that's not how it is right now.

In the past, the left has done credible and worthwhile work toward interrupting oppression, but it's almost invariably occurred when they were finally persuaded (or forced) to listen to and follow the lead of the voices of marginalized groups. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one example of a policy supported by the left only after years of advocacy and civil disobedience.

Currently, it seems, outside of listening to the voices of the oppressed (that's the real standard but we white folks...especially white men...have tremendous difficulty doing this), one of the better guides around to what might actually work to interrupt oppressive practices is to pay attention to what gets the right-wingers in an uproar. Again, this observation is mostly about current times, this stuff morphs and re-shapes itself as social and historical circumstances change.

Right wingers often clearly tell us what the malicious power structure of this country is frightened by…but many of us seem to have a hard time realizing this.

So, in order of descending credibility, in terms of guidance in what might be effective in interrupting oppressive practices (and errors will sometimes occur in each of these).

First
: Listen to those who are being oppressed, they know what's hurting them and what would help them. Right now, my primary source for this kind of information is African American women. Other marginalized groups of folks also have excellent information to provide, especially if it's concerning an issue that is directly targeting them. Right now though, for general knowledge about oppression, there is much thinking and theorizing by African American women that is relatively easily accessed. Their thinking and theorizing almost always addresses, at a minimum, both racism and sexism.

Second
: Pay attention to what gets right-wingers in an uproar. If they are sweaty and red-faced about it... then it's probably worth looking into whatever is disturbing them because they are pretty focused on upholding power and wealth (as long as that power isn't the power of the people). So if they hate something then that's usually worth investigating and thinking about.

2 comments:

Have Gone Vegan said...

Yes, excellent guide: 1)listen to those who are being oppressed, and 2) pay attention to what scares those likely doing the oppressing.

Thank you, veganelder, for continuing your thoughtful, illuminating and interesting posts. See you next year! :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I hope your new year is enjoyable for you.