Emancipating Ourselves from Mental Slavery

Being an educator, I get the privilege of hearing some pretty outstanding logic being applied to excuse shoddy or nonexistent work – and sometimes within the work itself. But this is done by students who have not taken a single logic or philosophy course. There are various reasons why they make such time-wasting endeavors, but ultimately the old teacher maxim holds true: They are only hurting themselves.

The most absurd reasoning I witness, however, comes from those who fight for inequality. Not just those who deny that it exists in such horrid and wretched conditions – though that is true as well; it does take a weird sort of intellect to assess that so much evil isn’t really happening to billions of people around the world and here in the West due largely to the sex and color of the recipient of that evil (Glenn Beck, anyone?). But it takes a special kind of mind to conclude that that evil is necessarily targeted towards people of color and women for their own good. An mind enslaved to the concept of necessary enslavement.

In Christian circles (where I would hope that Jesus’ message of liberation and inclusiveness would drive out such demonic forces), this type of logic is propelled by thought-leaders such as Wayne Grudem and John Piper (sex) and Douglas Wilson (sex and race), but also in various forms through many, many a warm and happy Sunday morning church service.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of running across a Christian who argued that feminists and Liberation Theologians both had Hegel and Marx to thank for their existence, for without those privileged old White men, they would never have come to formulate their own selves, their own purpose, their own identity.

IOW, Thank God for the Oppressors because with the Oppressors you wouldn’t have the tools to fight Oppression.

This. This is the kind of absurd person one becomes when fighting so hard against equality and justice.

griots

Let us not be that person, that person so mired in trying to protect what little we have that we go to great stinginess, and thus not only limit our reach, but ourselves.

In order for white suffering to have a voice, white people must realize the largest and most invisible way in which they benefit from their white privilege, and it’s the same thing that’s causing their frustration being The Default. If Person A is actively supporting and benefiting from a system that oppresses Person B, it is very hard for Person B to hear Person A say, “But I’m hurt too!” However, if Person A is actively working to dismantle the system they benefit from but which oppresses Person B, then Person B is finally seen — and Person A’s pain can be embraced. In order to see a person you must see the truth of their pain. If you deny their pain, you refuse to see them. This is what makes black people invisible. And black invisibility is what makes white pain invisible to black people.

And so we live our lives never seeing each other.

When White Americans see Black and Brown Americans in this way, Brown and Black Americans will accept their pain. It is a cycle that begins with destroying The Default.

The Default here is the idea that White is the center of the universe. We can expand that to any number of factors of being and privilege: Male; Middle Class; USAmerican; Cisgendered; Heterosexual. That any of these identities makes a person “normal” and thus others “not normal.” According to this perspective, injustice is a necessary form of justice, for the unNormals need our protection to navigate the world. They are helpless children or animals without us.

This kind of thought is so prevalent that it’s like air. It must not be disregarded, but must be demonstrated against in such shocking manners that the “Normals” realize that there is nothing at all normal about their privileges.

This May Day, let’s fight for all of our rights – and thus emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.

Won’t you sing with us these songs of freedom?

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2 thoughts on “Emancipating Ourselves from Mental Slavery

  1. Two part comment:
    1) Thank you for being an educator, we need people like you, and need to treat you better. Not saying that as a like..parroting of liberal talking points, I’ve been in more than enough classes where good teachers are treated like garbage because by students (I have no idea about how educators are treated by bosses, management, etc.) some of the students don’t appreciate the material, some of the parents don’t realize that grades tend towards a bell curve and that their kid isn’t always going to be above 2σ.
    2) I’m 19, so relatively recently out of High school. Stupidest argument I have ever heard was saying he was not a homophobic bigot, because while he dislikes homosexuals, he only dislikes them because the bible tells him to…but is not a bigot. It did make me think though: Is that a common belief? That bigotry is always a choice, or do people realize that they can be bigoted by upbringing, and see nothing wrong with it. I mean banality of Evil if parents indoctrinate their children with hate, will the children see it as bigoted, or just how the world works?

    Lastly, thanks for the article, very interesting read, and look forward to reading more in the future!

    • 1) Thanks. I have immense satisfaction being an educator. I only wish I could pay rent with that satisfaction. 😉
      2) Fortunately, it IS a common belief. Sometimes faith is used to justify bigotry. Sometimes, faith encourages bigotry that we may not even have. For me, eventually faith became a liberator from that bigotry – it was a leap of faith, iow.

      Again, thanks!

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