Victimhood Privilege

I’ve found that one of the best ways to defeat bad ideas is to ask simple but important questions to those who hold them. For example, when dealing with someone who believes a woman can be trapped in a man’s body, I like to ask: “What is a man?” No transgender advocate can answer this without undermining their position, because their position is delicately balanced on the ambiguity of words.

What I call “victimhood privilege” is similar. Victimhood privilege is the set of benefits one receives from being a member of a culturally designated victim group. Same-sex attracted individuals, transgender people, darker skinned people, women, etc all qualify to varying degrees as members of victim groups because at some point in the real or imagined past, each group had members who, we are told, were victims because of their membership in those groups. We can go ahead for now and accept this reasoning for the sake of argument.

If you ask a liberal progressive “what makes someone a victim?” or “what does it mean to be oppressed?”, you won’t get clear answers. If you don’t obviously lead with the question, the best you can hope for is something ambiguous like “victims are people who are mistreated” or “oppression is when ‘the system’ works against you”. But ask them to be more specific, and the fun can really start.

For example, I’ve heard people offer the example that oppression might include being arrested for expressing yourself. But you can remind them that a Christian pastor was recently arrested for doing just this in a library where “drag queen story hour” was being performed at taxpayer expense, and they’ll quickly retract their example.

Or, you might hear that a form of oppression is when a college won’t let your student group meet. If you remind the person that the only groups that colleges prohibit these days are Christian or politically conservative groups, they’ll again retreat.

Another common example offered are bullying victims. People who have been pushed around with slurs or threats of violence. But again, all you need to do is remind the liberal progressive who offers this example that the clearest examples of bullying are LGBT activists who threaten Christian business owners with violence and fines and who slander them on social media.

Victimhood privilege, then, is not about being a victim at all. It’s about being a member of a group which is immune to criticism, getting all the benefits a true victim deserves while actually creating victims with extreme hatred. This should be obvious enough from the fact that so many people actively desire to be seen as victims. Real victims get sympathy to compensate for their situation, and people would rather not have the situation altogether, even if they lost the sympathy. But there are some real benefits to victimhood privilege that being a real victim doesn’t entail. And the clearest example is when these faux “victims”, like aggressive LGBT activists try to get people fired and ostracized (that is, made victims) simply for not being enthusiastic enough about the bizarre sexual proclivities of other people.

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