illness and privilege

PSA white people

Your mental illness does not change your privilege as a white person

Your sexual orientation does not change your privilege as a white person

Your gender does not change your privilege as a white person

Your income does not change your privilege as a white person

Your disability does not change your privilege as a white person

Your age does not change your privilege as a white person.

Your political affiliation does not change your privilege as a white person

Your religion does not change your privilege as a white person

Your privilege as a white person will stick with you, whatever your other identities are. You may face oppression in other ways, which, YES means there are other social structures that work against you. But they do not diminish your white privilege

Just a reminder to white people, or actually- any privileged person: I cried so much when I found out trump was president because I was (and still am) in fear my basic rights would be stripped, as a lgbt afab disabled mentally ill poc. So many other minorities did too. We are terrified. This won’t affect you like it will us. So don’t be mean to us about refusing trump as president. Even better- protect us. There’s gonna be violence. Muslims are stopping wearing their hijabs out of fear. Gay people are going back in the closet, and trans people are conforming, mentally ill are hiding their health- because there will be violence. Use your privilege and protect us.

Ye Olde Fandom: “Here’s a bunch of moments where these two characters seemed very close and compatible, which is why I believe they would make a good couple. If this appeals to you, read some fics with this pairing.”

New Hell Site: “Here is all the ways THIS SHIP is so CANON ENDGAME that if you DON”T ADMIT IT, you’re a homophobe!”

“But THAT SHIP isn’t as politically correct as MY SHIP. Call-out post for everyone who has this PROBLEMATIC SHIP!”

“How dare you attack a positive depiction of characters with mental illness finding love, just because neither of them canonically have mental illnesses! CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE!”

“Hey, what about this canon pairing?”

“GET THAT DISGUSTING HETEROSEXUALITY OUT OF OUR FACES!”

“passing privilege” isnt really privilege because its based in erasure. once you reveal who you are, bigots will hate you no matter how cis/white/straight they thought you were before. and living with that knowledge is not a privilege. watching your community go through hell and having to make a choice between personal safety and solidarity is not a privilege. having your “privilege” hinge on something as inconsistent and subjective as how people perceive you at any given moment is not privilege.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
—  Oliver Sacks (a professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, and the author of many books, including “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.”)
Many of us travel, so we claim, to broaden our understanding of the lives of others. That was certainly my line, before the dengue. But it wasn’t until this moment that I started to really accept how abbreviated my perspective had been, how convenient and self-excusing. In a decade of swooping in and out of impoverished regions, I’d been exposed to crushing poverty. And I’d frowned, offered sympathy and a few coins, then moved along and forgot.

Enthralled by foreign cultures, often disdaining the shortcomings of my own, I’d never fully digested what it must be like to live and raise a family in a place where health, that most precious possession of all, is so easily compromised. A place where something so ubiquitous as a bloodthirsty mosquito momentarily settled on a bare patch of skin can leave you hospitalized and weeping for home.

So I guess introduction posts are what we are doing?  Sounds good!

I am mod Siarl (Like Charles, but without the es, and with an sh instead of a ch sound). I’m a former material scientist and engineer, who is now stuck in bed most of the day from my chronic illnesses. I am a deathfat (~430 lbs), asexual, trans, genderqueer, autistic, adhd, intersex, multiply chronically ill, mentally ill, disabled, white person.

I’m ever hopeful of finding a treatment or two that will let me function again, but my cynicism says it’s not going to happen, and I think I deserve a good life anyways. I try my best to be unapologetically fat, queer and sick. 

I try to fight bigotry wherever I find it, but my brain fog and illnesses and privilege can make it difficult to see it sometimes. Feel free to call me on mistakes I make, I welcome it. 

like ultimately, at the end of the day, my issue w “Cool Motive Still Murder” anti-woobification is that if you can dismiss or write off or even mock someone’s abuse, trauma, and/or mental illness just because they have privilege-

I have exactly zero reason to believe that you will not do the exact same thing to me the exact second my lived experiences become politically inconvenient to you. 

I’m not saying you have to like these characters (I know there are a myriad of reasons to dislike these characters, including personal trauma and also just “i hate looking at their dumb face”) but you can hate them without dismissing what they’ve been through or dismissing people who like them.

Confession

I jumped into traffic and banged on a cops car because he told me to pull over when my car was broke down. I beat my uncle because he said gay people have a mental illness. I bit a hole through my ex’s ear because he told me he gave me back half the money I gave him when we both knew he had given me $15, nowhere near the amount I gave him. I dislike all white people, I don’t care to give them a chance to prove they aren’t racist. I react very extremely to things, to the point where I sometimes completely lose control. I watch myself do what I’m doing but am unable to stop myself. Even as I watch it happen, even as I’m doing it I’m always shocked by it. And despite of all this, EVERYBODY assumes that I’m the nice safe bet. White people feel more comfortable around me, EVERYbody will assume that I’m the “good” nice Black girl because I am pale, have racially ambiguous features, rarely if ever speak aave, and listen to music that isn’t usually considered black (even though I only listen to Black artists.) People trust me more than they trust my friends, who are way more trustworthy than me. It’s like, everybody wants to flock to me but I’M the motherfucker though. I’m the one you need to be wary of. I’m the violent one. I’m the agressive one. I can’t even trust my damn self not to hurt my damn self. What you think I’ll do to y'all ? And I wonder how often this happens. How often do the toxic lightskined girls get treated like innocent angels despite being the opposite? How many people get themselves fucked up ignoring signs of an abuser for being dazzled by pale skin? I even warn people when I first get to know them that I’m not safe to be around. Women listen. Men think it’s cute. And they’ll end up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and be in a fucked up situation because they wouldn’t believe that I’m not the delicate image they created for me and I couldn’t control myself again.
(On a side note I’m aware that I need help. But I can’t afford it. Until I can I’ll keep doing the best I can do which isn’t good enough but that’s all I have.)

Cute self care has its place. When I feel raw with emotion and small and vulnerable and I can’t be responsible because my brain simply won’t allow me to, then I need to soothe the screaming child with things meant to soothe a child.

But self care is so much more than that. Self care is not holding on to pee until it hurts because I’m too listless to move, it’s making sure I maintain personal hygiene, making sure I wash my clothes and put them away, making sure I empty my bin to avoid one corner of my room filling up with a pile of rubbish, decluttering my bed so that I don’t wake up with food wrappers stuck to my thighs and a crochet hook tangled in my hair. It’s also trying really fucking hard to keep on top of finances and keeping to a budget and making sure I’m hydrated and nourished, it’s also reaching out to other people to help me carry out responsibilities that I am not capable of instead of avoiding those things and ending up owing HMRC thousands of pounds in overpaid tax credits (I don’t even understand how that happened, I was so unwell I just signed a piece of paper when my ex asked me to and then somehow ended we up with debt?)

Sometimes all I can manage in terms of self care is rubbing my face with a wipe and changing my underpants. But I congratulate myself for this as much as I would for putting on my favourite jammies, getting a sensible sized portion of ice cream and watching totoro.

I think it’s important to see self care as a spectrum and to bring some balance into what we consider as self care. It’s true that this cutesy safe mental illness thing is happening, and it could be a symptom of the wider stigma against mental illnesses. It could be people trying to prove that we are mostly gentle and vulnerable without realising that they are erasing identities of people with “scary” disorders. It could be people so terrified of their own minds that they *have* to saturate their world in cutesy self care tips to make themselves feel safe and unafraid. It could be people with mild mental illnesses who cope best with gentle self care not realising that they are only one place on the spectrum of neurodivergence and not realising they are erasing identities of people with “scary” disorders when they amplify the cutesy face of mental illness on tumblr by reblogging something which is not representative of all people with mental health problems.

Erasure is shitty and needs to be addressed but not by putting down other mentally unwell people and their coping methods. While there may be some weird privilege attributed to people with milder versions of better understood mental disorders, they are still part of our community.

Acknowledge and call out the intersectionality of race and mental illness, 2k15

Talk about white privilege and mental illness.

Stop acting like all people with mental illness suffer the same way, and can access the same resources.

Stop acting like white people with mental illness are just as victimized as PoC with mental illness. We aren’t. 

The motivation to work hard and make a serious effort isn’t simply a personal choice. It’s the result of millions of environmental and genetic factors: Did your parents push you growing up? Are you predisposed to depression? Did you go to a good school? Were you held as an infant? Did you inhale lead fumes as a child? The ability to work hard is a privilege, spread unevenly across genomes and households, with more going to the rich than to the poor. People who struggle with motivation due to factors beyond their control — be it genetics or mental illness or socioeconomic deprivation — do not deserve our scorn. They deserve our help.

Elites like to talk about effort because it justifies their own positions. It provides a non-arbitrary explanation for their wealth and privilege. It offers an excuse for elites to look out for disadvantaged people with whom they empathize, and not those with whom they feel no kinship. We look at an oft-suspended kid with a 1.4 GPA and see a delinquent. We look at a violinist with a 4.0 and see ourselves. And so we wind up helping the one who needs less help to begin with.

Not here for people always implying that physically disabled people have somehow more privilege than those with mental illnesses. Stop quantifying privilege like that. To be physically disabled ranges from a tiny inconvenience to complete incapacitation and inability to live life normally to death, just like mental illness.

What privilege? Where? Do y'all really think that able bodied people are somehow bending over backwards to accommodate the physically disabled? Where do you live and where are you seeing this? The only possible shred of privilege I can think of is that people with “”“popular”“” disabilities that ablebodies are familiar with through the media are believed when they say they’re disabled. Does that mean they are understood more, accommodated for better, or have any sort of life prospect improved? Of course not. Having ablebodies “believe you” does JACK SHIT in the end because they will still never DO anything about it. Where the fuck are y'all deluding yourselves about this.

And I say this as a physically disabled person WITH ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

Concept: Explaining what living with a chronic mental/physical illness is like to create greater understanding

Ideal response from non-ill person: I understand now! I see you as human! You shouldn’t have to put up with such discrimination! I will support you! I will fight beside you for justice!

Too common response from non-ill people in reality: I can’t relate to it so I’m just going to discard/discredit your information or maybe I’ll appropriate aspects of it for entertainment. :) Good luck with that. Shoo. Go away. Go get better. If you need someone to talk to, you have a doctor, right?

My problem with Fiona’s lack of credit when it comes to the Mage Rebellion isn’t that I’m just mad my favorite character isn’t getting the credit she deserves, it’s just, it’s a repeat of something that happens all too often in real life.

Anders is privileged compared to Fiona. He’s a human man (in a universe where being human, well, one who isn’t Chasind or Avvar anyway, is equivalent to being white) of the dominant religion in game, who has certain privileges that come with this. Yes, he’s also both a mage, and coded mentally ill. But he’s still privileged compared to Fiona.

Fiona is also a mage and coded mentally ill (specifically one could easily read her as having borderline personality disorder). But she’s also an elf (Which is coded non-white in universe) a nominal agnostic, (as seen in both the Calling, where it’s basically outright stated, and in Asunder where her blatant disregard for the Divine shocks most of the Andrastian mages) a woman (DAO’s CC claims men and women are equal in this game, but Bioware’s storytelling clearly shows otherwise) and from an especially oppressed subgroup of elves, slaves and former slaves. 

Whether the fandom, or bioware intends to, by washing over Fiona’s achievements with Anders’ they’re doing the same thing so often done to the marginalized in history. They’re giving credit to the white (or in this case, human) man.