The oppressed have not disappeared or been liberated
Oppressions like sexism and racism and every other one under the sun are more than objectionable, personal feelings. They’re systemic. That means, for instance, engraved into society in laws, policies, norms, stereotypes, language, collective memory, history, and the minds of those targeted and those trained to function as oppressors. That’s why you can’t “just decide not to (be) oppress(ed).” You can decide (over and over again) not to be intimidated, but you can’t just decide that women are taken seriously.
Most destructive is when the targeted begin oppressing themselves and their fellows. “We girls just are better at serving men than looking after ourselves. They should protect us because we are weaker. It’s proved.”
But the price for the greatest trick to maintain the oppressive society goes to its ability to divide and conquer, to set up groups against each other.
Liberation movements started with ‘radical’ fighters against supremacy and for equality, allies from the oppressor group, and counter-oppressive norms. No, it is not OK if only girls can play with soft dolls.
Young people, raised as oppressors, object to every oppression they’re introduced to. “Why can’t I play with Jordan?” But, when they are grown up, it happens. Confronted by equality norms, they already had forgotten their old resistance against inequality, and again, they feel stonewalled. “I should be free to call non-Straight people sick. We are the new victims of cancel culture, Woke-ism, reverse racism/sexism, etc.” They may claim:
- Palestinians are the new Jews/Today’s Antisemitism targets Palestinians
- Men are the newly oppressed gender/Today’s sexism is against men
- Whites are the newly oppressed race/Today’s racism oppresses Whites
We can counter this as follows.
Jews/women/Gays/young people/the handicapped/the oppressed have not disappeared or been liberated. They now only got some recognition, allies, and progress made. Much more is needed before equality across the board is realized. When your free speech rights would oppress others, it is your turn to be uncomfortable, stop being oppressive, and help liberation.
Women may quit being your non-stop psychologist; seek a man to talk to. Non-Whites may feel like being at a non-White meeting; it’s your turn to feel excluded. Black History Month stresses what most White would like to forget. Holocaust Remembrance Day highlights what most Gentiles would like to ignore. Pride Month tells us how widespread and mean LGBTQAI+ oppressions are (Reagan let HIV-infected Gay men die like flies without giving money to labs to find a cure; how many Trans kids commit suicide).
Being an ally to all (or even one) oppressed groups can be tough. One can be unjustly attacked. But you’re never the ‘new’ victim. Grin and bear it.