(Paragraphs are my own modification, because tumblr won’t let you do anything in an ask.)
I saw a post passed around a while ago which I did some thinking about, and I think it’s relevant to the discussion going on right now. The post’s contents was basically “there’s no such thing as reverse oppression, oppression is based on having more social power”.
And I thought of a situation, which is: Say you’ve got a group of mostly-gay people that wants to support queer people. And some of the people they want to support are bisexual. And some of the people in this group say, hang on, why do you need our support? You can pass for straight, so you’re more privileged than us already, and they decide not to support any bisexual people, and members of the group generally view bisexuals as pretending, or jumping on a trend, or having a brief fling with someone of the same sex to get to claim they’re oppressed. And the bisexual people affected say, hang on, that’s a huge fucking jerk move, but their complaints are dismissed as whining. So that would be a situation where certain people get terrible treatment, because they’re getting excluded and erased from a group which should be supporting them, but in the case of “no one who is less privileged than someone can indulge in oppressive behavior towards them” it’s all okay because bisexual people can seem straight sometimes. (and, presumably, have drinks thrown on them.)
Which brings up two things: 1) Tumblr’s “no one who is less privileged can hurt someone who is more privileged” gets severely shitty once you try to apply it in real life, and 2) This also kinda highlights a huge flaw in a lot of the base assumptions made by referring to specific groups of privileged people as The Bads: It’s all well and good when you’re imagining the gilted oppressor on his ivory tower, mercilessly crushing the helpless and defenseless, but the lines get HELLA FUZZY and, unlike most visibility tests, never more so than when you’re trying to compare them. If I’ve got social anxiety and he’s gay, but most of my family is introverted enough not to care, but most of his friends don’t think it’s a big deal either and his entertainment preference is nature documentaries so he doesn’t get bugged by unwanted gay stereotypes a lot but I have to make phone calls sometimes which make me useless for the rest of the day but his aunt’s REALLY traditional so all his Christmases are terrible… then who’s got it worse?
Comparing pain doesn’t often work, and certainly not if you’re thinking “he’s got broken ribs but I’ve got a heart injury so it’s okay if I punch him again.” Best seems to be just trying to treat everyone okay, saves you the trouble of comparing suffering resumes. This got much longer than I thought it would, sorry about that.
This is some fine analysis. I was actually thinking of writing a post along these lines but I sort of feel like it’s now been done, probably better than I’d have done it.
Mostly, it comes down to: People like to hit back. They will make excuses for this so they don’t have to feel bad about enjoying hitting people.