Friday, 21 February 2014

On privilege and responsibility

If you're not subject to a particular form of oppression, then failing to defer to those who are with regards to what is and isn't contributing to that oppression is similar to driving unsupervised in a residential area having never sat in the driver's seat before. You might not hit or directly endanger anyone... but you're unlikely not to, no matter how much it wasn't your intention to do so. Your lack of malice doesn't make anyone you almost hit less traumatised, and it certainly doesn't make anyone you did hit less maimed. If you don't want to endanger anyone, it's your responsibility to get lessons and actually pay attention to the instructor.

To expand the metaphor further...
Imagine traffic laws are either nonexistant or rarely-enforced, and it's unusual for motorists to take lessons at all. Imagine there's no pavements. Imagine the road network is laid out in such a way that you'd be lucky to walk from one town to the next without having to walk on the motorway. Imagine that public transport cost £50 to travel the same distance while only running at all three times a day. Imagine that someone without a car can expect to have multiple "minor" traffic accidents every year and at least one near miss every time they leave the house, and have a 50% chance of being killed on the road by the time they're 35.
In that scenario, would you be surprised to see a #fuckmotorists hashtag? I think you'd be more surprised not to.

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