Dear White Atheists Crying Out For Oppression Points
Let’s do a little exercise here:
- Is our country at war with an atheist nation, murdering atheist children in the name of god and xenophobicly curbing the rights of immigrants from Atheist-land at home?
- Has anyone ever put a burning upside-down cross on your lawn to send you a signal that you are not allowed in that neighborhood?
- Is the current socio-econimic system biased against your social mobility and predicated on centuries of enslaving and exploiting your atheist ancestors?
- Have you been fired or humiliated at your workplace because your coworker saw your same-atheist partner pick you up from work and kiss you on the mouth, giving off the impression that you care nothing for family values?
- Has your preference for relationships with other atheists ever been likened to relationships with animals or young children?
- Can people tell you are an atheist from afar, giving plenty of notice for them to flood their mind with every stereotype about people who look like you, including your alleged inadequacies and other socially Darwinistic shortcomings?
- Are you sexualized and mentally stunted in advertisements based on the way the media decides atheists should look and act, despite the fact that there are atheists of all sizes and temperment?
- Does the media play on prejudices about atheists when portraying them in television shows and movies in a way that triggers your terrible life experiences with real discrimination?
- Do people doubt your ability as an atheist to intelligently contribute to the public sphere because their pseudo-science told them that atheists were only capable of maintaining the household and raising children at home?
- Do people refuse to call you an atheist because although you identify as one, you were assigned a particular religion at birth based on your anatomy?
- Is the marginalized culture of your ancestors exoticized and appropriated daily by people who have no respect for your customs or the hardships and terrors their ancestors put yours through whilst stealing your homeland?
- Are you constantly in fear of being profiled by the police and thrown into jail for minor infractions because the justice system disproportionately discriminates against atheists?
- Do people see you downtown at night and shudder in fear, because they assume that most atheists are criminals or druggies?
- Do people see you and sneer because they assume that all atheists are parasites on the system that leech on welfare checks and contribute nothing to society?
- Have you ever been denied access to your loved ones in a hospital or access to healthcare for yourself because of your atheism?
- Are your wages less than religious people’s because of the public’s acceptance of the inadequacies of atheists, especially atheists with blonde hair or some other aspect of your physical appearance?
- Are you, as an atheist, less likely to survive the average lifespan of Americans or less likely to maintain financial stability, worrying you about the health and welfare of your atheist children?
Yes, people discriminate against atheists, many don’t trust them and others openly spew hate. Sometimes incredibly terrible things happen to atheists. But does your oppression compare to the oppression of POC, WOC, women in general, LGBTQ, muslims, indigenous peoples, and many other marginalized groups that don’t fall into the normative straight male WASP category of society? Hardly. Don’t compare yourselves, especially if you are white. Don’t try to escape from the guilt of your privilege by suggesting that you are also systematically oppressed. Yes, there are prejudices against atheists, and it is truly awful. But for the most part, especially in comparison with other marginalized groups, you are merely a victim of your own guilt over the privilege you know you have. Notice that people who are actually heavily oppressed in real time for the most part don’t try to play the Oppression Olympics with you. It isn’t a game to them. You see, white atheists get to pass as “normal” whenever they aren’t spewing anti-theistic diatribes in public forums. Other people don’t get to just turn on and off their differences. They don’t get to take a break. Their oppression is ever-present. Their oppression has real impacts on their safety and welfare, on their hopes and dreams, on their physical, emotional, and psychological health. You insult them with your cries of oppression. You insult me with your ignorance. Thanks for playing.
“We aren't portraying her as Native American though...hmm, just realized I didn't' title the piece on here, but it is titled where it is posted on DeviantArt as 'Native American Bulgarian' which is where the model is from, Bulgaria. Who you could argue are a people that were oppressed much more recently under Communism than Native Americans have been. But that's besides the point”—
Jesse Williams, owner and operator of Walker1812 Photography, on the subject of Native American oppression.
Who, remember, is not trying to portray the subject of “Native American Bulgarian” (fig 1. see below) as a Native American.
Who, as a Bulgarian, comes from a country full of people who “were oppressed much more recently under Communism than Native Americans have been.”
Which, aside from the calculated diminishing of indigenous struggles, is grounded in the belief that oppression is a historic event, in total ignorance of the scale of the hardship and assault, sustained over centuries, that is experienced by indigenous people around the world at the hands of colony and empire.
Post 1: Why discussing anti-Blackness isn't Oppression Olympics
It happens time and time again. Every so often Black people will be talking about racism. They will be talking about how racism impacts their lives and some Asian will come into the conversation, “Why is always about how racism impacts Black people? Asians experience racism too!” or “You guys are just playing oppression olympics!”.
Beyond this being a white people derailing tactic, we really need to talk about why discussing anti-Black racism as something distinct from other racial oppression is both important and not playing oppression olympics.
My one and only caveat: if all you get out of this post is me invalidating the struggles of Asians then you are not only failing to see the point but are failing to be anti-Black in the ways that are necessary for real solidarity to exist.
Now. Oppression Olympics? Not so much.
I’m going to start with and use only *one* example. Because I really shouldn’t have to prove this, but then again, these posts shouldn’t be necessary. Go take a peek at the Injustice at Every Turn study. And then look at the specific data on Black trans* and gender variant people. It is a long ass report but it is mandatory reading. I’ll wait.
Back with me? Great.
If you’ve managed to do the unbelievable, I’m gonna spell it out for you. For every measure and area they studied, Black trans* and gender variant people had the *worst* numbers. The worst. This is fact. These numbers were from self-reports. I’m sure any interested Asians also noted that we (if you aren’t mixed) are, like in many studies, not too far off of from white people.
The conclusion to draw from this is that trans* or gender variant Asians have some privilege relative to Black trans* and gender variant people.
So, now, answer me this question: how is it oppression olympics to look at these facts and know Black trans* and gender variant people should be receiving the most attention/resources? They have the most need.
If we pull away from just considering trans* folk, we can see that this pattern holds true for income, debt, education, health, etc., etc., etc. This is why this is not oppression olympics and why we gotta talk a seat when people who are dealing with the worst experiences of racism are talking about their struggles.
Some people may still not be convinced… so I’m gonna make a quick argument appealing to self interest. Since it is clear that Black people fare worse in many different measures, helping them ultimately helps you.
Helping to elevate Black people and reduce their barriers will, overall, reduce racism for everyone. When it becomes unacceptable to shit on Black people, it will also be unacceptable to shit on Asians.
We get the furthest in our struggles against racism by elevating those who need it the most. To do any less is to simply re-enforce a white supremacist hierarchy of worth.
As the gay rights movement or feminist movements aptly demonstrate, elevating the people at the top does fuck all for the people at the bottom. This is also why trickle down economics has been proven by history to not fucking work.
It doesn’t work!!!!
It isn’t oppression olympics when we have actual facts and fucking data telling us that Black people are clearly *clearly* dealing with the worst of racism and having their ability to live most adversely impacted.
It is a tough pill to swallow to say that the model minority myth gives us Asians relative privilege over Black people when we know how much it damages our communities. But until the day comes that a six year old Asian girl is handcuffed and tossed into a jail cell for throwing a tantrum, I seriously don’t want to fucking see another Asian derail a discussion/post about/by Black people with, “Asians face racism too!” or “You playing oppression olympics!”.
Take a fucking seat. Listen. And do what you can to support.
You know, in Honor of KBURD Month, I'm just going to say this once and for all:
…If you are asking me why I insist on writing so much about racism, or why I’m focussing on it,
…IT’S BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE STILL ASKING ME THAT.
…If you are complaining that I don’t write about queer issues anymore, just because I post a lot/write a lot about racism, you are essentially erasing every queer POC’s experience.
…If you are complaining about how being poor and white erases all your privilege, then you’re actually proving my point. Because the fact that you automatically assume that “white privilege” means “better socio-economic status” and the fact that you equate the minority experience with “being poor and downtrodden” is EXACTLY THE TYPE OF THING I AM POINTING OUT.
…and if you are complaining that being white and gay means that you experience the same marginalization as a POC, then you are sort of missing the point.
OPPRESSION IS NOT A GOOD THING. “BEING ABLE TO COMPLAIN” ABOUT OPPRESSION AND RACISM IS NOT A PRIVILEGE. IT IS, IN FACT, THE OPPOSITE OF PRIVILEGE.
If you are white, and you are complaining about how you should be able to label yourself as “marginalized” and a “victim of racism” you sound RIDICULOUS. Do you know what you sound like?
You sound like a lion, maybe a lion who is not quite as fast as some other lions, and you go up to some gazelles, and you say, “Yo dude, I’m totally chased and victimized by those lions too! I mean, they don’t actually want to eat me, but they make it so I can’t eat you guys! it’s so unfair, I’m so marginalized by those lions!”
And then when the gazelles are like, “WTF, dude, you are STILL A LION,”
You are just like, “WTF, shut up! NOT ALL LIONS ARE THE SAME. YOU ARE STEREOTYPING ME, YOU GREAT BIG HONKING PREY!”
To which the antelopes are like, “gotta go, lions are coming.”
WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS THAT YOU ARE SIMPLY A LION TRYING TO SAY IT HAS THE SAME PROBLEM AS THE AS A MOTHERFUCKING GAZELLE.
…And that is the end of Kris’s extended metaphor for the night.
Why are white people so desperate to be oppressed?
I mean, I’m fucking grateful that I don’t get followed around stores, arrested, murdered, etc because of the way I look.
This isn’t the fucking oppression olympics.
Sometimes PoC have things to say that you can’t relate to.
I hate white privilege, but not because it keeps me from being discriminated against, good lord.
Sometimes I really can’t with this site. YES, police brutality is something that disproportionately affects people of color. Why is there a rush to try to claim you’re oppressed too by providing anecdotal evidence.
Why is there this need from everyone on Tumblr to constantly try and prove how they’re totally oppressed too even when they’re not in a group that is traditionally victimized?