Dangerous Temptations: reverse racism, reverse discrimination, reverse hate, anti West, anti men, anti white prejudice. Reverse inequality. How to react?
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A Dangerous Temptation - Reverse Prejudice
It look me longer to find a title than to write this piece. I'll come back to that. I'll start with the piece:
My parents grew up in Nazi Austria. My
father was nine in 1939, when the Nazis came to power in Austria (part
invasion, but local support as well). After the war, he found out what
had happened to the Jews – including
to the lone Jewish family in his village. Death.
My unusual experience has had a lifelong impact, however – an acute sensitivity to how wrong and hurtful prejudice is, for one thing. Anti-racist movements, feminism, gay and lesbian rights movements – the importance of these movements was so very obvious to me.
But there was more I took with me, though this further impact took far longer for me to acknowledge and express.
I grew up just as the separatist movement was gaining momentum in Quebec – a time when many French Canadians were against anyone not French Canadian. It didn't matter that I spoke French (with an accent), or that my ancestors were thousands of miles away when the British conquered the French, or that I had no English background at all. It mattered that I wasn't one of "them." Reverse prejudice, counter hositility, reverse discrimination once again.
Now, looking back, I am amazed that it took me decades to recognize counter prejudice, reverse discrimination, reverse racism, reverse inequality - all as powerful and damaging forces.
As a child I identified with the Jewish perspective. I felt, deep inside myself, that Jews had the right to be prejudiced against all Germans and Austrians. I knew I had not been born during the Holocaust. I knew even more deeply that six million Jews had been murdered. In high school, I completely understood the Jewish classmate who told me that he could not possibly take me home to his parents. It had nothing to do with religion. I was one of "them."
Quebec has changed over the past several decades. It's a mellower place. I no longer feel (very rarely, anyway) hostility coming at me from French Canadians because I am not French Canadian.
But I have become more and more aware of what I call the rage of the so-called righteous. Muslims outraged at anyone who dares do or say what they don't want done or said. Blacks contemptuous of whites as "crackers". Reverse discrimination. Reverse racism. Anti white. Anti West. Anti men. And so on.
I taught Women's Studies for years. It's relatively easy in our society to support the rights of the oppressed. True, many people don't want discrimination to change, and even more people deny it exists. But by and large, when one talks about prejudice and discrimination, one is talking about something where one gets a lot more support than if one also pays attention to counter hostility, reverse prejudice, reverse racism.
There are, of course, those ready to find reverse prejudice anywhere and everywhere, whether it exists or not. "Watch out. They just want to put the shoe on the other foot" - a common charge leveled at anyone who works against discrimination.
People on the hunt for slightest hint of counter prejudice, reverse discrimination, aren't people I want to align myself with. In my experience, they don't want equality. Instead, they're hunting for anything that could be a weapon to use against people who want a fair deal.
On the other hand, people against discrimination are often ready to attack if one alludes to anything like reverse hate, reverse discrimination. One may get a heaping helping political correctness gone mad: Reverse racism, reverse prejudice does not exist! It could not possibly exist! And if it does, who can blame them! And why am I saying what I'm saying, anyway! How dare I! I must be a closet racist, anti-feminist, homophobe, etc! I must be against Muslims, Jews - anyone I suggest might feel reverse prejudice.
One is treading into a tangled messy patch of thorns and brambles if one brings up reverse discrimination, reverse hostility coming from those in disadvantaged groups.
Those least eager to hear about counter prejudice, in my experience, have been black students caught in the grip of ranpant reverse racism against whites. And those most eager to pounce on any suggestion of reverse prejudice, again in my experience, have been male students with their antennae out for any hint of female anger at males: hey, all those feminists are just anti men.
Recently I've been thinking and writing about the rage of the righteous – meaning the rage of people very sure that their anger is justified, that they have been hurt and have every right to strike back. Over the past half year, Muslim rage has most caught my attention. Everyone has wronged them; everyone deserves whatever they can dish out.
Why does it matter to pay attention to this dangerous temptation?
My biggest reason. I know what it feels, not only to be hurt by it, but to be caught by it.
No one made any effort to protect me from Jewish or French-Canadian counter hostility, reverse prejudice. No one hinted it was not okay.
Then when I became interested in women's issues, once again no one warned me: watch out, there's an unusual danger in these parts. Blanket hostility at men.
I don't know if I would have listened. I'd always been far closer to my father - with his interest in ideas, and with his creativity, he was so much more like me than my mother. I also had a supportive boyfriend. So I might have just laughed off anyone trying to warn me.
But no one even tried - or anyway, I don't remember anyone trying.
And zap! I got caught. I felt at men the same thing I'd had come at me from Jews and French-Canadians - something I both knew was not right (I'd done nothing to deserve it) and yet fully accepted as justified (on an emotional, visceral level, it made sense to me). I became anti men.
The spell broke, eventually. But I remember its grip. Now it seems incomprehensible to me. Then it held me. And that brings me to wonder about the shell I had around me at that time.
More generally, I've long been intrigued by the shell against perception around so many people.
The shell. In my mind's eye I see an egg. A very hard shell. Necessary to shelter a chick, so it can develop until it's strong enough to peck its own way out.
One needs shells, filters – or one would be overwhelmed by all the information coming in. But the shells I'm referring to aren't protection from an overdose of information. They're a defense against reality, against something that would disturb beliefs, feelings, a learned way of being. This shell wards off with anger, hatred, fear, warped thinking patterns. It gets thicker and thicker.
It isn't like an eggshell, with a smooth surface. Nasty barbs, poisonous darts, and so on are often all to ready to defend the shell – whether it's the shell of prejudice or reverse prejudice. It rarely just melts away like ice cream in the sun. And rarely is a healthy chick pecking its way out.
An egg shell can shatter with the right kind of blow.
I'm still trying to figure out the best strategies for dealing with the Shell-Spell of Righteousness, whether it's the shell of self-righteous prejudice or self-righteous reverse prejudice, reverse racism, reverse discrimination..
I started by saying I had a hard
time figuring out what to call this piece.
The Pain of Being Hurt for the Wrongs Done by Others
The Lure of Self-Righteous Anger
In the end I went with, A Dangerous Temptation. This anger is tempting and dangerous, both tempting and dangerous for those caught in it, and just plain dangerous for those who are the target. I remember it from childhood. I still carry within me vestiges - I am much more tolerant of Jewish anti-German sentiments than of any German or Austrian prejudices. I have my own antennae out when I meet Germans and Austrians.
Weird, the legacies we carry from childhood.
On the plus side, I may be extra ready
to notice counter prejudice - from reverse racism to anti men feeling to anti West anger - because deep inside me I know how much it
can hurt - and how much it can hold us.
In no way was I tempted to go along. The spell of the raging righteous had no hold on me.
Maybe soon ever fewer people will go
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THE IDEA EMPORIUM on REVERSE RACISM, REVERSE DISCRIMINATION, REVERSE PREJUDICE *
INSIGHT * COMMENTARY * CONTROVERSY on
ANTI WHITE, ANTI MEN, ANTI WEST, ANTI WESTEN PREJUDICES*
DIFFICULT AREAS: REVERSE HATE, REVERSE PREJUDICE; COUNTER DISCRIMINATION *
THEORIZING on REVERSE RACISM, REVERSE PREJUDICE, REVERSE INEQUALITY
PSYCHOANALYTICAL THEORIES on REVERSE RACISM, REVERSE DISCRIMINATION *
COMPLEXITIES in REVERSE RACISM, REVERSE DISCRIMINATION, ANTI MEN, ANTI WHITE,
ANTI WEST, ANTI WESTERN DISCRIMINATION *
THOUGHT-PROVOKING IDEAS * STIMULATING THEORIZING * IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS
on REVERSE RACISM, REVERSE PREJUDICE, REVERSE DISCRIMINATION