Friday, November 16, 2012

Why should non-oppressed people focus on oppression?

image is from here

As I look back over some of my posts and some of the themes I've focused on, I thought I'd write up something about "why": why this focus, why these issues?

From a pretty early age, the things that stood out for me were how some people suffer injustices systematically, and that those injustices didn't appear to register as such by the less-effected masses. The pain of enduring oppression--the depression, the anxiety, the exhaustion, the psychic, sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual assaults, the post-traumatic stress--were as real as blood, but were somehow not registering as important, not sounding any alarm in those not oppressed. The pain wasn't just unheard and unseen; when heard and seen it was ignored and denied, when not ignored and denied it was called something else, like "what she really wanted" and "what they deserve".

Seeing both disregard and contempt among whites and men, disregard for women and men of color, contempt for women and girls across ethnicity, is something that demands a humane response. Not excuses. Not denial. Not lie-telling about oppressed people.

If you scratch the surface of the intellects and psyches of enough oppressor-class people, you'll find unsubtle thought processes and distancing mechanisms that allow them/us to not feel and not think about and not know what oppressed people contend with and die from.

This blog exists to say, "What oppressed people experience is real. And once faced as reality, oppression calls us forth into action to create justice and liberation where there is none."

As a Jew, the stories of "the Good Germans" of WWII haunted me: how could ordinary citizens of a country stand by while other citizens were carried off, gassed, and burned into ash floating in the sky?

The question may be answered this way: How does it happen that the on-going genocides against Indigenous people worldwide demands no action at all from the non-Indigenous? How do the realities rape, incest, battery, trafficking, and poverty not call resource-advantaged people to stop these atrocities?

Because isn't the answer the same about the non-Jewish Germans as it is about the non-Indigenous and about men? Isn't it the case that whites, for example, express some variation of this: "I didn't know there were any genocides still going on." Don't men express, in one way or another: "I don't see rape and the rest as endemic and horrifying."

Once the horror, the terror, the atrocity is as real as anything else, one is called forth to act. Enough things happened to me early in life, and through my early adulthood, to make it impossible to not see the horror and not feel the pain.

I want other whites and men to work together in alliance with oppressed people, to take down the defences and barriers whites and men construct to stay separate from the conditions we don't live with so directly and daily, but are primarily responsible for. And to dismantle the institutions and transform the structures that hold hate and disregard in place. I want oppressor-class people to see oppressed people as fully human beings who cannot deserve the oppressive conditions. And to act humanely with everyone's life in mind.