Friday, August 27, 2010

Is there any group that is okay to insult?

I was reading a post over at Feministe today and came across this comment. Well it was one part in particular that caught my eye.
It would be wrong to say I prefer not to tell hurtful jokes. I just prefer to direct the hurt upwards instead of downwards – which I explain to straight white men as “It’s funny when the pupil puts a tack on the headmaster’s chair: it’s not funny when the headmaster does the same thing to the pupil.”

It’s funny when women make fun of men. When black people make fun of white people. When gay people make fun of straight people. When disprivilege makes fun of privilege.
I can't get behind that.

In my recent times of dealing in human rights I've come to conclude that getting a positive on a privilege check on someone gives the green light to make fun of them. Even neverminding how presumptuous it is to just declare someone privileged by identifying a characteristic I personally think that insulting anyone is pretty much wrong unless they insulted you first.

And when you tie it into the post itself (about marginalized people being expected to be the bigger person when offended) you're left with the conclusion that its okay to presume someone is privileged, insult them, and since they aren't a marginalized group, they should have to take it.

Bullshit.

This is pretty much in line with the silly belief that there is no such thing as female against male sexism. All it is another way for people to protect certain groups (usually ones they are a part of) from being called out on their own -ist behavior.

I mean thinking this out in my mind if I were having a conversation with a white women it would be okay for me to insult her race and she would have a greenlight to insult my gender. Yeah right...

7 comments:

Paul said...

Ah danny, that last paragraph was going to be my comment- basically.

A couple of other thoughts though-

1) Don't dish it out if you can't take it- this goes whether you're "priveliged" or not.

2) That comment sort of reminds me of when i was a kid and a girl (who at the time was bigger than I was, by the way) used to hit me in the back and the exclaim "you can't hit me back, I'm a girl!"

3) Wouldn't the ability to "make fun" of a group with no repercussions qualify as a "privelidge"?

Toysoldier said...

Danny, I think it comes from a person's need to vent. They need a means for those they are angry at to hear what they have to say and not be able to respond. Creating the one-sided joke is a way to do that. Now the "privileged" person has to "take it" just like the "oppressed" person. Like you said, it is complete bullshit to argue that it is okay for someone to hurt someone else just because they are part of a marginalized group. However, humans by nature do relish having power over others and causing them pain, so that kind of desire is not really surprising. It is also very tempting, and that is one of the reasons I temper my emotions so much. Treating people civilly, or being the bigger man, keeps me in control.

That seems to be something the commentors missed over on Feministe. Treating others well is not about those people. It is about your own behavior and character.

Danny said...

1. Agreed. Very much.

2. So I'm not the only one that happened to?

3. Interesting point. I would agree that being given the okay to make fun of certain groups is a sort of privilege.

Danny said...

They need a means for those they are angry at to hear what they have to say and not be able to respond. Creating the one-sided joke is a way to do that. Now the "privileged" person has to "take it" just like the "oppressed" person.
So regardless of any activist leanings of the person in question in those particular situations its about revenge and not equality?

Like you said, it is complete bullshit to argue that it is okay for someone to hurt someone else just because they are part of a marginalized group.
Yes. On the gender front said women is basically saying, "It doesn't matter that you are not one of the men that had a hand in creating the gender imbalances of today and it doesn't matter if you are trying to fight against those imbalances. All that matters is that you are a male therefore as a women it is totally okay for me to insult you and there is nothing you can say about it." In other words they want to get their rocks off for as long as they can.

Treating people civilly, or being the bigger man, keeps me in control.
And speaking of being the bigger man. Does this mean that since when it comes to child custody men are marginalized men should not be expected to be the bigger person? Does that mean when dads who have been cut out of their child's lives have reach the end of their ropes (as long as we are just talking words mind you) they are just as justified as a woman who has been treated unfairly at the workplace?

I would imagine they would say no in droves because according to them the privileges that men have actually washout their marginalizations.

Sonja said...

I want to go back to when I could call a spade a spade and not potentially get sued. I'd have a goddamn field day.

Danny said...

I think I kinda get your sentiment. It seems messed up now that people would cheer you for calling me a dick but I'd get jeered for calling you a bitch.

Danny said...

Hit submit too soon.

Ultimately I would like to see the day will all such insults are frowned upon instead of the current system of it being okay to insult only certain groups.

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