23 SEPTEMBER 2010
far too long a hiatus, I have finally begun the task of updating D4D with
the suggested contributions that have been sent in over the past year.
There is approximately forty to get through and I'll be dealing with them
five at a time. Since D4D is already so large a document, I will probably
tweak the format and presentation for greater ease of use. Sorry for the
long delay - if you would please advertise D4D's updated status on your
blogs and websites, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, as ever,
for all support.
You know how it is.
You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe
at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet,
indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about
a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of
people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re
also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim.
The thing is, you’re having
a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues.
This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation,
books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable
sense of being right.
Yet all of a sudden something
happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and
incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s
someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re
Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong
and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour,
or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability.
They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re
trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you
know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?
Don’t worry though! There
IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing
situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing
their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure
that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue
to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE PRIVILEGE!
Just follow this step-by-step
guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you
will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation
you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that
The best part is, you don't
even have to be a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, cissexual, upper-class
male to enjoy the full benefits of derailing conversation! Nope, you can
utilise the lesser-recognised tactic of Horizontal Hostility to
make sure that, despite being a member of a Marginalised Group™ yourself,
you can exercise a privilege another Marginalised Group™ doesn't have in
order not to heed their experience!
Read on, and learn, and remember…
you don’t have to use these in any particular order! In fact, mixing them
up can really keep those Marginalised People™ on their toes! After all,
they are pretty much used to hearing this stuff, so you don’t want to get
too predictable or they’ll get lazy!
Won't Educate Me How Can I Learn
Cared About These Matters You'd Be Willing To Educate Me
Happens To Me Too!
Enjoy Being Offended
Offended Is Great For You
You Have More Important Issues To Think About
Taking Things Too Personally
Only The Internet!
Not Being Intellectual Enough/You’re Being Overly Intellectual
Interrogating From The Wrong Perspective
Arguing With Opinions Not Fact
Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone
You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won't Believe It
Think You're As Marginalised As You Claim
You Treating Each Other Worse Anyway
If It's Okay For Marginalised People To Use Those Words, Why Can't I?
You're Different To The Others
True! - NEW!
Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!
Just Saying What Other People Believe. I Never Said I Agree
SOME Marginalised People Do That, Not ALL
A Conspiracy!" - NEW
Have An Agenda - NEW
In B Situation Is Not Equivalent To X In Y Situation
You Can Do - NEW!
I'm Not Like That - Stop Stereotyping!
Just Suffering Privilege Envy - NEW!
Wins Gold in the Oppression Olympics?
A False Consciousness
Being A Team Player
Lost Your Temper So I Don't Have To Listen To You Anymore
Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry
As Bad As They Are
I Was Playing “Devil’s Advocate” All Along!
You Won't Educate Me How Can I Learn
|Whilst seemingly simple
on the surface, there is some intertwining subtext embedded within this
First of all, you’re placing
responsibility for your education back onto the Marginalised Person™. As
they are obviously engaged with these issues, and care about them, they
are hopeful that Privileged People® may one day start listening and
taking onboard what they have to say. By placing responsibility to educate
in their hands, you tug at this yearning. You may even successfully make
many question themselves and their selfish expectations that you utilise
the hundreds upon hundreds of resources on the subject available to you
as a Privileged Person®! After all, anyone who expects you to be able
to research a topic by yourself also clearly expects you to be far more
of a functioning adult than you're acting!
By insisting you can only
learn if they right then and there sacrifice further hours of time
going over the same ground they have so often in the past, you may also
make them give up and go away altogether, enabling you to win by default.
But further, you give the
impression that you really want to learn, but they’re holding you
back! That’s right, using this tactic you can suggest that full understanding
is what you crave - you want to be a better, more connected and
compassionate person - but it’s not your fault! Nobody ever gave you the
education! And now that someone is here who is so obviously qualified,
they’re denying you your Privilege® given right to have everything
you want handed to you on a platter!
Which brings us to another
key component of this argument - it is very important, in conversations
with Marginalised People™, to constantly remind them that you are, indeed,
Privileged®. By demonstrating your belief that Marginalised People™
should immediately gratify your every whim, you remind them of their place
in society. After all, they’re not there to live lives free of discrimination
and in happy, independent and fulfilling ways! Please! Marginalised People™
exist for your curiosity and to make you generally feel better about your
place in society and don’t let them forget it!
Point one to you!
You Cared About These Matters You'd Be Willing To Educate Me
|This is the natural follow-up
to the above argument, although it can also be used independently.
You see, often in these discussions
a Marginalised Person™ will tell you it’s not their responsibility to educate
you. This is because Marginalised People™ believe that they have other
priorities in life, like working and studying and being with their families
Clearly, they are labouring
under a misperception - as a Privileged Person® you have far more right
to their time than they do, and besides, don’t they want to make the world
a better place? Isn’t that why they alerted you to the fact you were being
offensive in the first place? Well, now clearly your education is their
By placing this burden of
responsibility onto them you remind them of just how daunting a task that
is and how their lives are constantly being monopolised by the Privileged®,
even in something that should be empowering to them, like deconstructing
You trivialise their lives,
needs, interests and obligations by suggesting they should be spending
all of their time and energy in engaging with clueless Privileged People®,
putting in hours and hours of effort in repeating the exact same thing
they’ve already said three thousand times to three thousand other Privileged
People® in their past.
And furthermore, you remind
them that, if they really cared about their own issues, they’d willingly
take that task on! Surely it’s a small price to pay to change people‘s
Well, you want them to think
that, but of course it isn’t. After all, most of the conversations
they have with Privileged People® often feel to them like beating their
heads repeatedly against a brick wall embedded with rusty spikes.
Which is entirely the
point. Keep them worn out and exhausted and maybe they’ll just go away.
|This is a great one to pop
out if it seems like they’re going to push the matter. After all, nobody
wants to be “hostile”, do they? In a culture rigidly defined by social
protocol, invariably designed to favour the privileged, people are very
concerned about “getting along with others“.
Especially Marginalised People™!
Know why? Well, since they’re marginalised, they experience a variety of
discriminations, usually in many aspects of their daily lives. It is not
at all unusual, therefore, for Marginalised People™ to have to be accustomed
to being very, very cautious about the way they engage with the Privileged®.
This is because discrimination may mean they routinely encounter violence,
silencing, oppression or just good old-fashioned outright ridicule and
diminishment. That can make life stressful and exhausting, so many Marginalised
People™ develop complex strategies to avoid hostile engagements with Privileged
Further to this, Marginalised
People™ are forced into a certain sort of social behaviour by Privileged
People® - “appropriate” behaviour. After all, there are different
rules for them than there are for the Privileged®. This training in
“appropriate” behaviour usually begins when they are very young, so it
By accusing them of hostility,
you will successfully enliven their sense of caution and anxiety around
this matter. You may also provoke a feeling of guilt that they are not
“behaving” the way they have been trained to.
But even better - by accusing
them of hostility, you pass the blame back to them, rather than consider
what you might have said that was so offensive and hurtful it caused the
This will definitely work
in your favour, because it will further insult and enrage them. You are
That Happens To Me Too!
|In attempting to communicate
with you, the Marginalised Person™ may bring up examples of the sorts of
daily manifestations of discrimination they face. Many of these examples
seem trivial to Privileged People® but clearly reflect the way the
Marginalised Person™ has been “othered” by society. “Othering” is a system
of social markers that defines “Us” and “them”, neatly and conveniently
categorising people into their appropriate places within society. It’s
a way of defining a secured and positive position in the world by stigmatising
“others”. In other words, it’s the process of dehumanising anyone different
to the Chosen Privileged.
The Marginalised Person™
you’re dealing with has been subjected to this “othering”.
This means that their body
is viewed as public property and the personal, intricate details of their
lives and being are perceived as free information.
You must nod patiently as
the Marginalised Person™ tries to gain your understanding of the many complicated
and subtle ways this othering impacts their lives until they come across
a point that seems particularly grating for them. Then you must say “oh,
but I experience that too!”
For example, people of African
descent often express outrage and irritation at the fact many white people
believe they can freely touch their hair. This invasion of their personal
space is dressed up as flattery - “oh, what beautiful hair you have!” and
permission is not sought or granted before the action is taken. “That happens
to everyone!” you must exclaim. “My child has beautiful white-blonde hair
and people are always touching it!”
Sex workers, as another example,
often endure highly intimate questions regarding all aspects of their lives,
sexual habits and client interactions. When they gripe about how invasive
this is, you must equate it to your own work: “Oh, I know, I’m a lawyer
and people always want to know what goes on in court!” “Totally, I’m a
doctor and people are always asking about gross conditions I see!”
With a trans person, many
people expect all the details of the transition process should be made
available to them, including details of how they “transform“. When they
talk about how frustrating this is, you must commiserate: “Yeah, don’t
you hate the way men always want you to explain the mysteries of make-up
and skin care!” you should blithely exclaim.
If you are speaking to a
fat person who is complaining about the lack of fashion-forward and beautiful
clothing made in their size, try something like: “The fashion industry
sucks! They just do not make clothes for real bodies - I mean, just because
I am a size four doesn’t mean I’m short! Jeans are always too short on
Without a doubt, one of the
most powerful tactics to use here is comparing male circumcision to female
genital mutilation. In any discussion around FGM, make sure you quickly
leap in and say: "But why is it ok for little boys to be mutilated? Why
isn't anyone talking about that?" Because the removal of a tiny
flap of skin is entirely comparable to the crippling mutilation many young
girls are subjected to.
What this demonstrates is
your total lack of understanding of what “othering” means in a practical
sense. You’re ignoring the way your life is otherwise entirely immersed
in a state of absolute privilege and revealing the fact you fail to comprehend
the process of objectification and marginalising they go through all the
time. When you are Privileged®, “similar” experiences simply do not
happen on an equal footing because they do not otherwise reflect marginalisation.
This obliviousness is highly insensitive and trivialising and will definitely
cause them to grind their teeth!
But it’s also an important
step in affirming your privilege: Privileged People® are accustomed,
after all, to it being “all about them”. Not used to simply sitting back
and listening to othered people‘s issues, Privileged People® like to
be the centre of attention at all times. It reminds them that they are
important. By doing this, you will feel good about yourself and send a
crucial message to the Marginalised Person™ (yes you really can diminish
their experience by making it all about you, all the time!).
|It is very likely that the
whole reason the Marginalised Person™ in question is debating with you
is because they’ve made a conscious decision to speak out about these issues,
despite the pain and heartache it can often cause them.
Therefore, the “you’re being
hostile” bomb can often lead to an increase of anger and/or hurt. Sometimes
it just leads to greater emphasis and exasperation in the argument.
It really doesn’t matter,
because you can still use it against them by accusing them of being overemotional.
You may wish to use the word “hysterical” instead. “Hysterical” is also
a word laden with negative connotations, so it’s particularly effective.
Using this one in discussions with women is highly advisable, as the opinions
and feelings of women have historically been denied as mere “hysteria”,
but it works against almost anyone. A great one to use with women as well
is to ask them if they’re “PMSing”. Yes, it’s an oldie but a classic.
If you need more variety,
some more handy argument winners involving speculating as to people’s neurotypical
status: ask them if they’re “neurotic” or “schizo” for example. Implying
people have mental health issues is a great way to dismiss their concerns;
it’s also insensitive to people with actual mental health issues!
After all, proper “intellectual”
discussions always involve detachment and rationality. What is “rationality”?
It’s a way of approaching emotional matters devoid of sentiment, particularly
prized by Privileged People® as it enables a continuing inequity of
power that favours them: after all, if they aren’t emotionally attached
to the topic by way of Lived Experience©, it is easier for them to
|Once again, though very
similar to You're Being Overemotional, this one has a slightly different
What you're implying is
that the Marginalised Person™ is looking for offence where none exists.
Once again, you're disowning
your own responsibility, and this is absolutely the crux of any derailment
– you just can't repeat or reinforce it often enough. No matter what, none
of this is your fault – nothing you said that was hurtful, offensive, bigoted
or discriminatory is really to blame here, because you said it in all innocence!
After all, what reason have you ever had to examine your ingrained prejudices?
Why should you start now?
So you want the Marginalised
Person™ to know this is how you feel and that you really believe the responsibility
is all theirs – if they weren't looking so hard for offence, everything
would be a lot more pleasant!
Just Enjoy Being Offended
|Closely related to the above
point, it's another critical element of a successful deraling. You really
need to make sure the Marginalised Person knows you consider their issues
to be completely trivial. It's insensitive in the extreme – it also exemplifies
your lack of awareness and empathy.
By demonstrating you have
absolutely no concept of what a particular issue or point may mean to them
both within their conversation with you and beyond it, you get to show
off just how cocooned and protected in Privilege® you really are. Remember
how maddening this is for a Marginalised Person™ – it's a Privilege®
they do not share and will probably never know so to witness it being so
blithely owned and used to diminish their experience is bound to get their
But absolutely best of all,
you are being obnoxious and hurtful enough to tell them outright that they
facing discrimination and prejduice. Enjoy it so much, in fact, that they
“look” for reasons to be hurt and offended! Wow. This one is almost breathtakingly
perfect as a derailment tactic, it lacks any sort of conceivable class
and humility and goes straight to smug viciousness. The very idea that
anyone enjoys being hurt and discriminated against as a daily practice
is so preposterous it could only be believed by a Privileged Person®
who's never really experienced or known what it's like.
The fact is, many Marginalised
People™ go out of their way to avoid these sorts of debates and confrontations
because it's such a painful and unenjoyable experience. Those you are encountering
in this circumstance have likely made a conscious choice to do so, even
knowing it will probably go bad. For you to spit in the face of their choice
in putting themselves on the line by suggesting it's all fun and games
for them just adds a particularly piquant insult to injury.
Offended Is Great For You!
|A follow-on from "You Just
Enjoy Being Offended", this one has a particularly nasty flavour sure to
make any Marginalised Person™ recoil in horror.
This is specifically for
those Marginalised People™ who work at agencies and organisations with
a focus on services catering to their Marginalised Group™. Remember
that working in such positions means they are actively trying to effect
change that will benefit their Marginalised Group™. This means they are
obliged to deal with discrimination and opposition from the Privileged®
whilst maintaining professionalism and being severely confronted with the
degree of resistance to their efforts to eliminate oppression. This process
would be extremely exhausting and even depressing. Keep all that in mind,
because this tactic is especially sleazy and you want to be able to appreciate
its derailing hurtfulness on all levels.
Suggest that the Marginalised
People™ who work at these services must go crazy with ecstasy every time
a new hate-crime is reported, or another example of discrimination is brought
to attention, because, get ready for it, it justifies their existence.
Yup. Because obviously, all
the Marginalised Services Providers care about is staying in business There's
no way there could possibly be a personal imperative for them involved,
or that they would be in any way aversely affected by dealing constantly
with acts of violence or oppression against them and their fellows. So,
clearly, they must thrive on being "offended".
Even when being "offended"
means having been bashed to within an inch of their life.
Well. Done. You.
You Have More Important Issues To Think About
|When you're beginning to
feel backed into a corner, you could do worse than to trot this one out.
As with the best of all these
techniques, this step operates on several levels. First of all, it communicates
to the Marginalised Person™ that you think the entire debate is trivial
and below consideration, indicating you entirely disregard their feelings
and emotions. Secondly, you disown responsibility for your part in the
debate and anything that you've said that may have been discriminatory
Finally, you reinforce your
Privilege® by suggesting that it is Privileged People's® job to
set the agenda for the Marginalised Group™. After all, how could
they possibly know what issues they should prioritise for themselves, they're
far too inferior and stupid! You, with your objective, ractional Privileged®
perspective, on the other hand, know exactly what is most important and
it is definitely not confronting you with your own bigotry and ignorance!
Taking Things Too Personally
|Similar to You’re Being
Overemotional and yet with particular uses of its own.
You see, when you say “you’re
taking things too personally” you demonstrate your ignorance that these
issues ARE personal for them!
That’s highly insulting and
is sure to rub anyone up the wrong way. That you're already refusing to
consider their reality is giving them a pretty good indication of how the
conversation is going to degress, yet the natural human need for understanding
will probably compel them to try and reason with you, or at least to point
you in the direction of some educational resources that will help you gain
insight into their experiences. This can enable you to once again make
a demand for them to personally educate you instead.
By denying the conversation
is personal for them, you also reveal your own detachment: there’s really
nothing at stake for you in getting into this argument, you’re just doing
it for kicks. They will be all too aware of this, and it will begin to
work on their emotions, preparing them nicely for the next steps you will
take them through.
Only The Internet
|Ah yes, never forget this
little gem! You see, the internet isn't "real life" and therefore nothing
that happens on the internet could ever have an actual impact
on real people.
OH no, anything that happens
on the internet is, by virtue of simply happening on the internet:
Never mind that real people
are really behind the really real words they're typing "on the Internet"
and that those words actually do reflect real world opinions, beliefs,
prejudices and discriminations that really do affect really real people
from Marginalised Groups™ and they already have to deal with that stuff
on a daily basis - so what! It's "the Internet". Nothing is "real" on "the
Internet". You can simply say to them: If you take anything on "the
Internet" to heart, you're taking it "too seriously" and probably just
need to log off for awhile...
... and go out into the "real
world" where they will... experience the exact same type of discrimination
You see, this tactic conveniently
ignores that there is no genuine respite for Marginalised People™ when
it comes to encountering bigotry characteristic to their group, not even
through a supposed entertainment medium, like "the Internet".
Since nothing on "the Internet"
happens face to face, you as a Privileged Person® can easily persuade
yourself nothing that happens on "the Internet" really matters. You can
then communicate your contempt for the Marginalised Person™'s experience
by dismissing and trivialising any hurtful or outright hateful things either
you or other Privileged People® have said, simply because it was on
"the Internet" and since they can't see you and you can't see them, how
can they even prove the words even mean anything, nyah nyah neh nyah nyah!
Using this tactic, you're
also subtly characterising 'the Internet" as an autonomous being - it's
not people being offensive, it's "the Internet", thus allowing you to further
Not Being Intellectual Enough/You’re Being Overly Intellectual
|These two steps are always
best exercised when married together. They can definitely be used individually,
but you will further dismay and infuriate the Marginalised Person™ in question
if you use them together.
The key here is maintaining
a careful blend of disdain and dismissal no matter what the Marginalised
Person™ throws at you.
It is important, as a Privileged
Person®, to constantly hedge Marginalised People™ according to both
your class and your expectations of them.
Even though the conversation
taking place is reflective of or about real life circumstances and situations
for human beings, you must be careful to first insist on placing it within
an academic framework. If the Marginalised Person™ involved is speaking
in vernacular and placing too much emphasis on Lived Experience©,
you must swiftly impress that you cannot consider it a proper "debate"
unless theory and philosophy play a key component, complete with big words
normally not found outside of academic papers. This is another way of pressing
home your own privilege by demanding the conversation take place on terms
the Marginalised Person™ may not be intimate with. After all, academia
has little to do with reality, but pretending that it does is sure to undermine
It's a good opportunity also
to subtly insult the Marginalised Person™'s intelligence, by suggesting
they simply aren't educated, or well educated enough, to really be participating
in these conversations.
However should the Marginalised
Person™ suddenly reveal that they are well-versed in academia, or other
Marginalised People™ who are join in, or if the whole thing began on an
academic footing, you can swiftly take the other tack and dress them down
for being "too intellectual". Remember, Marginalised People™ who conform
to the standard perception of "intellectual" are getting above themselves
and so deserve nothing but your derision.
You can talk about how they
are alienating people, speaking above them and behaving in a very condescending
manner. You really want to think about your language here, to truly communicate
just how much disdain you have for their education/manner. "Uppity" is
a particularly bristling word to People of Colour, particularly African-Americans,
as they have routinely been called "uppity" when they have been "getting
out of place". "Hoity-toity", "highhanded" and "snobbish" are also excellent
words. It suggests that the Marginalised Person™ is entertaining lofty
notions of themself that are undeserved when all they are doing is communicating
in the manner you would insist on had they not. We all have places in life
and the preferred place for Marginalised People™ is under your shoe.
The important thing is to
really drive home that you consider their intelligence and education -
whether formal or self-gained - to be subpar and that they are demeaning/ostracising
others by utilising it. You want them to feel ashamed of it, or at the
least reminded that Privileged People® think they have no rights to
It’s a really good idea to
get a friend involved in this one - one of you can take the path of "intellectualism",
whilst the other can be derisive of the same. This is especially useful
if more than one Marginalised Person™ is involved in the conversation.
Keep battering at them from all sides and things will swiftly deteriorate.
It's also really awesome
to utilise the tactic of correcting grammar and/or spelling mistakes and
criticising comments on form rather than content to further distract from
the issues. You want people for whom the language being used is second,
third or fourth, or people with less formal education to really be aware
of their shortcomings and you want others for whom it is a first language
and who have formal education to feel chastised by their mistakes (even
though in heated conversations and general internet discourse such mistakes
are common and not reflective at all of someone's capacity). This tactic
covers ALL angles in this regard and is sure to incur feelings of shame
Interrogating From The Wrong Perspective
|This is a very special tactic
but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be freely or liberally used. If anything,
it means you should use it as often and as widely as you can.
You see, in this one you
get to insult their intelligence and perceptiveness but in a very subtle
and underhanded way! This one is very useful in discussions about literature
and other media or academia.
The gist of it is this:
nothing offensive in there, you just don't get it (because you are
For example – you might want
to impress your belief that context is irrelevant (there's no racist parallels
in a mythological planet where beautiful white elves keep horrible, animalistic
orcs as slaves – it's completely detached from earth's history!), or that
they're just reading it wrong (well sure, you could take that attitude
if you approach it from that perspective, but that's not the perspective
it was meant to be read with so your argument is just flawed!).
Once again (and truly a fundamental
aspect of derailing) you demonstrate your lack of awareness of their issues
but you also get to tell them that they're wrong because you (and all the
other Privileged People®) simply know better. Try it out and just wait
and see what you get back.
Burn, baby, burn!
Arguing With Opinions Not Fact
|If you really want to excel
as a Privileged Person® you need to learn to value data, statistics,
research studies and empirical evidence above all things, but especially
You can pretend you are oblivious
to the fact most studies have been carried out by Privileged People®
and therefore carry inherent biases, and insist that the Marginalised Person™
produce “Evidence” of what they‘re claiming.
Their Lived Experience©
does not count as evidence, for it is subjective and therefore worthless.
This is very important because
it works in two ways: 1) it communicates to the Marginalised Person™ that
their personal testament is disbelieved and of no value, causing them great
hurt; and 2) it once again reinforces your privilege.
You see, the very capacity
to conduct studies, collect data and write detached “fact-based” reports
on it, is an inherently privileged activity. The ability to widely access
this material and research it exhaustively is also inherently privileged.
Privileged People® find it easier to pursue these avenues than Marginalised
People™ and so once again you are reminding them you possess this privilege
and reinforcing that the world at large values a system of analysis that
excludes them, and values it over what their actual personal experience
The process of valuing “fact”
over “opinion” is one very much rooted in preserving privilege. Through
this methodology, the continued pain and othering of millions of people
can be ignored because it’s supported by “opinion” (emotion) and not “fact”
It is also important because
it calls on the Marginalised Person™ to do something that is simply impossible,
and that is summate the entirety of their group’s experiences into a definitive
example. It is important that you establish this precedent for the next
couple of steps.
Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone
|Of course, straw man arguments
are critical to any successful derailing of conversation. It’s very important
to discount the Marginalised Person’s™ experience at every available opportunity.
Apart from being simply outright hurtful and demeaning, it also forces
them into a constant position of defence.
If a Marginalised Person™
gives you a personal testament, then you must immediately assume they are
speaking on behalf of their entire group of people and be very quick to
point out that it’s wrong for them to do so.
It’s a diversionary tactic,
designed to get them denying your accusation and so forgetting to continue
to argue their point.
You will find that something
very important to Marginalised People™ is stressing the fact that they
are not all the same. This is because Privileged People® have routinely
lumped them all together as one great big monolithic group who all look
the same, act the same, think the same, speak the same, dress the same,
eat the same, feel the same - you get the idea. And, of course, all of
those monolithic behaviours are “other” than those of the Privileged®.
Othering is a process that permits Privileged People® to consider the
Marginalised™ as less than human, thereby justifying discriminative and
stigmatising behaviours against them. So naturally, it is imperative to
a Marginalised Person™ to make it understood their group of people are
as diverse in expression and experience as Privileged People®.
You can play on this concern
by alarming and insulting them with the implication you think they are
homogenising their own group.
It also works to suggest
to them that their experience is worthless because it doesn’t align with
everyone’s - particularly those that you’ve decided to favour. That is,
the experiences that, to your mind, back up your prejudices. This
is belittling and offensive in the extreme as you are essentially denying
their reality. People’s personal experiences are important to them, so
it’s likely they will, whilst getting increasingly hurt and upset, continue
to try and defend and “prove” them to your exacting measures while you
can bask in the satisfaction of knowing you have caused them distress.
You are well on your way
You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won't Believe It
|You’ve successfully got
them in a catch-22: we’ve already established experience is not a monolith
and just because people come from the same Marginalised Group™ does not
mean they will all have the same thoughts and feelings and experiences.
Yet with this one you can
make it an essential proviso of your agreement that they have to PROVE
what they’re claiming is definitively representative of a majority of their
group of people.
What is really awesome is
that if, by this point, you have them so upset and frustrated that they
are not carefully disclaiming their language and so say something that
you can in any way distort to mean that they‘re speaking “on behalf“ of
all people from their group, you can go right back up to the prior point,
Experience Is Not Representative of Everyone, and start all over again.
You can repeat these two as many times as you like! In fact, this is highly
recommended as it will increase feelings of anger and frustration on their
part, and then you can throw You’re Taking Things Too Personally
or You’re Getting Hostile at them!
Don't Think You're As Marginalised As You Claim
|This tactic is related to
Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone but is a far more hurtful
and therefore effective weapon.
If the Marginalised Person™
is gaining steam in the conversation, beginning to persuade others to their
point of view, even getting a few Privileged People® around you to
apologise and concede their “mistakes”, then is when you drop this bomb:
call into question their Marginalised™ status.
It allows you to once more
diminish their experience by disbelieving it, as well as reinforces that
“othering” we’ve already discussed.
If you’re in a situation
with a person from a non-English speaking country who speaks, reads and
writes in fluid English (particularly if so much so you assumed at first
they were native English speakers) you must insist this means they received
a special sort of education (probably in an English-speaking country) that
is denied to their country folk and this means they’re simply not qualified
to talk about life in their home country - they’re too Privileged®
to really understand.
Or if you’re talking to a
Person with Disabilities, you must derisively claim they can’t be all “that”
disabled because, if they were, they simply wouldn’t be able to communicate
so well with you. Or, you know, think at all.
It’s great to whip this one
out on sex workers too - if a sex worker is making the claim that sex work
can be a positive and empowering choice or the issue isn‘t the work but
the stigma levelled at it, you absolutely must say they are obviously a
very Privileged® sex worker because “real” sex workers are always degraded,
hate their jobs and are forced into it.
The really important thing
is to establish some sort of false Marginalisation Hierarchy™ where the
person you’re speaking to couldn’t possibly experience anywhere
near the sort of stigma and discrimination everyone else from
their group does. This way you can force them to provide “evidence” of
what they’ve dealt with which you can just disregard and further dismiss
as more “proof” they are actually really Privileged® examples and therefore
have no right at all to be speaking.
Do be sure you strike a careful
balance though - whilst you must make it clear you consider this Marginalised
Person™ to be Privileged® you must be sure you nonetheless indicate
they still are Less Than You, so be as disdainful and contemptuous as possible.
This step is just outright
sleazy, which is what makes it so fantastic to use: it will have an effect
rather like a punch to the gut on the Marginalised Person™, causing them
to sharply inhale as they reel from your sheer arrogance and cruelty. Denying
their Lived Experience© must never be underestimated as a strategy
- remember: being dehumanised is exhausting and this will increase your
capacity to win!
You Treating Each Other Worse Anyway
|This one is great – it's
the Derailing for Dummies below the belt sucker-punch! By using this one
you at once distract from the topic at hand at the same time as confirming
just the sort of bigotry you really, truly believe (like they didn't already
know!). Additionally, it demonstrates the height of your Privilege®
– that you are so distanced from reality you are incapable of perceiving
how marginalisation, objectification and social ostracisation may have
contributed to internal issues as the Marginalised Group™ struggle to get
by in a world that treats them like property or abberations.
When the Marginalised Person™
is talking about the sort of discrimination they face from Privileged People®
and it's beginning to make you feel a little uncomfortable, it's a great
opportunity to trot out, say, stats about “black-on-black” violence to
dismiss police brutality, or perhaps talk about how women are all really
mean and bitchy and criticise each other's body to indicate that societal
pressure on weight and body image is irrelevant.
You could even talk about
gay men and their wild, unprotected sex orgies being entirely responsible
for the spread of AIDS to diminish gay bashing and homophobia (after all,
if a good, straight male has to fear catching the AIDS from a gay man strolling
past, beating him to a pulp with a fire hydrant is totally reasonable!).
But best of all, it suggests
that they are entirely responsible for all the trial and tribulation that
they face – it's not discriminative society, no way, no how! It's their
incapacity to treat each other respectfully. Because they're, you know,
less than human. Only the most degraded and depraved would be so rotten
to their own kind! Right?
As the Marginalised Person™
steadily realises this is your attitude, they will be overwhelmed with
horror and, with any luck, they will lose track of their argument – or
maybe just grind to a halt, enabling you to sit back smugly and rack up
another point to your score.
If It's Okay For Marginalised People To Use Those Words, Why Can't I?
|As a Privileged Person®,
it is natural that you would feel excluded and frustrated by the recent
spate of Marginalised People "reclaiming" historically negative words to
refer to themselves.
Not only do these Marginalised
People™ kick up a great big ole stink by making it "politically incorrect"
for Privileged People® to use these words - even going so far as to
have some of them defined under 'hate crime' legislation! - they take the
insult one step further and use them freely amongst themselves!
This is very perplexing and
annoying for Privileged People®, who can only stand on the outside,
gazing wistfully in, wishing it were a simpler time when it was totally
okay for everyone to call women whores, Mexicans spics, Trans*
trannies, gay men faggots and people of African descent
After all, who do those Marginalised
People™ think they are, taking ownership of language traditionally used
to oppress them! That just isn't playing fair!
But take heart, because there
is a way you can worm around this one - where there's Privilege®, there's
always a way!
First of all, you must feign
utter cluelessness about the ins & outs of reclaimation and behave
as though you were under the impression that in these 'post race/sex/sexuality/gender/etc
times' that we had all evolved into a new era where 'words don't mean anything'
and it's totally okay for everyone to use offensive slurs and then... well:
When a Marginalised Person™
calls you out on it, become indignant. Express confusion. Demand an explanation.
Say that you just don't understand - if you people use those words
to refer to each other, why can't I?!
You see, you're implying
that they're being hypocritical. That if they are going to use abusive
& oppressionist language aongst each other, they simply have to accept
that they're employing a 'double standard' by preventing the Privileged®
from using them.
What this enables you to
ignore is the reality of the power dynamic involved. Language reclaimation
is a means by which Marginalised People™ gain back some power they are
traditionally denied by taking control of words used to demean and discriminate
against them. When these words come from Privileged People®, there
is a long and very serious negative history behind them that cannot be
divorced from the words themselves. Thus, when Privileged People® employ
these words, they are perpetuating that history and the psychology behind
the word. They are exercising oppressive power that have become inherent
to those words - a power Marginalised People™ seek to subvert and dismantle
when they use them.
Pretend not to understand
this. Just continue to imply hypocrisy and pout that it isn't fair.
It also ignores the fact
that, from within Marginalised Groups™, discourses around abusive language
are actually not simple and there are many divided and varied opinions
on the subject. Treating Marginalised People™ like a hive mind is always
a great way to further subtly insult them and since the point of this entire
debacle is to come out with as many notches on your belt as possible, you
want to make sure you slip in as many knocks below their belt as
you can manage.
You're Different To The Others
|Backhanded insults are a
fantastic way to trip up and flummox a Marginalised Person™. This step
is often used when you've said something discriminatory either forgetting
or being oblivious to the fact a person from the Marginalised Group™ you're
targeting is right there and has seen/heard it.
They will be offended of
course, and that's when you try to mollify them by reassuring them that
they're “different” to the others.
“Oh, you're not like all
those other bitchy women” perhaps, or maybe: “Yes, but you're an
Other suggestions include:
“I wasn't talking about you when I was saying most trans women are
ugly. You pass pretty well!”; “Yes, but you're not like those other
black people who won't better themselves, you're very educated!”. Maybe
even: “It's so good that you stay away from drugs, unlike those other
Perhaps even: “Sure, but
ill people are very selfish and self-obsessed. You're a really
Not only do you get to reinforce
commonly held stereotypes about various Marginalised Groups™ revealing
that you truly believe them, you get to deliver a double-edged compliment
to the Marginalised Person™ involved. By using this tactic you're
hoping to play on their emotions, connect with their usual experience of
being Marginalised™ for being “other” and turn it around by now “flattering”
them for it and how they are differentiated from the “others” because they're
“special” and (almost) worthy of a place in the ranks of the Privileged®
(almost) because they are better at conforming to standards set by the
So deeply ingrained can many
insulting preconceptions of their Marginalised Group™ be that they may
be torturously flattered – we all like to feel the sun on our faces after
all! And so, in this way, you also get to reinforce the internalised stigma
they may carry.
Finally, you will invoke
rage on behalf of their fellows whom you have sweepingly and summarily
dismissed and degraded. A conflicting swirl of emotions is very useful
to work with!
And finally, of course, you
once again imply it is your right as a Privileged Person® to pass judgement
or cast approval of them.
However be warned if you're
using this tactic to try and halt the conversation before it goes any further:
the Marginalised Person™ may very well be further provoked into confronting
you with your ignorance. Use it with caution.
|Simply trivialise your opponents
argument by pointing out to them that whatever offensive/bigoted/ignorant/stereotyped
thing you said or did that targeted a Marginalised Person: "but it's true!"
This is a one-size-fits-all
retort that is very effective in how it redirects any argument into a neverending
circular loop. You don't have to take on any of the points the Marginalised
Person may raise, nor do you have to concede offence and apologise - you
can disavow all responsibility by simply repeating, over and over, to any
counter-claim or attempted correction and reasoning: "but it's true!"
"But it's true! Asian people
DO talk funny! But it's true! Black men are all criminals because they're
arrested more often! But it's true! Women are irrational during their periods
because of their hormones! But it's true! But it's true! But it's true!"
You can even go so far as
to appear exasperated with the Marginalised Person for denying the 'truth'
of the situation, pretending obliviousness to why anything you have said
could possibly be hurtful when "it's true!".
I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!
|This one is fantastic to
bring out if you feel at all backed into a corner. If, for example, the
Marginalised Person™ is making sense and you’re beginning to get the unpleasant
feeling that you were wrong about something, just whip up your friend -
your black friend, or your trans friend, your friend with a mental illness,
or your friend who is a sex worker, and vehemently express how they completely
and stridently support your opinions on these issues.
Of course, you must make
out as though you are entirely oblivious to internalised stigma and how
your friends may have been adversely affected by discrimination wielded
by the Privileged®. And, as established by the steps above, it is imperative
that you discount the diversity of experience whilst seeming to support
it. After all, your friend is proof that there are different opinions amongst
this Marginalised Group™ but the fact they agree with you means you don’t
have to in the least give credence to ideas alternative to your own, and
certainly not from the Marginalised Person™ in question.
Plus it gives you that handy
progressive veneer - see, all their accusations of racism/sexism/ableism/what
have you are totally groundless because you have friends who are representatives
from that group which shows how open-minded and awesomely cool you really
You know what the best part
about this step is?
The friend doesn’t even
have to exist!
That’s right, the friend
can be nothing more than a figment of your imagination, conjured up to
provide you with vicarious backup in your hour of need! How is the Marginalised
Person™ going to prove it, after all! They can have their suspicions but
that’s hardly hard evidence.
You’re definitely ahead
in the game now!
Just Saying What Other People Believe. I Never Said I Agree
|This technique is a great
little duck and dodge if you're feeling slightly set-upon.
Often times in these conversations
and dealing with the backlash, you can begin to feel a little uncomfy in
your bigoted conviction. This is not a nice thing for a Privileged Person®
to experience. After all, it's really important that everyone everywhere
ever thinks you're totally wonderful. Popularity is a very important thing
to have in this modern world - it proves things about you. Proves
that you're popular.
And, you don't really want
everyone to think you're a total douchebag, not even hostile, whiney Marginalised
People™ whose opinions and feelings don't really count. No, the most important
thing is that even as you rattle off a bunch of offensive, demeaning opinions,
that you are still able to convince people that you're really a very wonderful
The problem with rattling
off a bunch of offensive, demeaning opinions is that somebody somewhere
- usually a person from the group who is the target of your expressed sentiments
- is not going to be fooled by your magical Privilege wondercoat and is
going to see you for the scumbag you really are. And they're going to object.
And this may slightly rock
your perception of reality.
That's when you can pretend
- oh no, no, no - it wasn't that you were stating your opinion, you were
just repeating what 'other people' believe - hey you could even throw in
a little indignant outrage here: "HOW dare you imply I agree with them!"
With this tactic you can
bait and switch at almost any point in "the Game". It's an easy out - make
some ignorant comment about how it's a natural biological urge for women
to have children? Naaaah, that's just how most people feel! State some
incredibly nasty belief that all trans women have a slightly 'mannish'
cast about them? It's not that you agree, it's just that you've
heard so many other people say it. Or how about something brimming
with hate, like how 'in general', black folks would 'rather' get a free
handout than work? That's not your opinion, it's just a commonly-held
This tactic pretty much gives
you a free pass to say whatever venomous, hateful, bigoted opinion you
can think of - because when called on it, you can just deny, deny, deny.
Said SOME Marginalised People Do That, Not ALL
|A 'variation on the theme'
of the above tactic, this is also how you dodge out of accusations you
are making offensive and incorrect generalisations or treating Marginalised
People™ like a hive-mind.
It's convenient because it
doesn't require you to do the unthinkable and actually admit you were wrong
and being a total jerk, but it gives the impression you are making a concession
of some sort. Even though you are, in fact, simply defending your prejudiced
viewpoint through a subtler means.
At least, you think so. Chances
are, the Marginalised Person™ is actually not going to be fooled by this
cleverness (though expect that other Privileged People® will be) and
will grow more irritated you honestly believe them so stupid as to be persuaded
by such obvious and underhand dodge tactics*.
Some examples you could use:
Claiming that women prefer to work with people in power from behind the
scenes rather than work on their own careers; that fat people are simply
lazy, unmotivated and always looking for a quick fix; that people with
mental illnesses are usually just playing the system and looking for charity
whilst exaggerating their conditions.
Don't forget that when you
are called out on your generalisation, shift to a semantics argument: "Now,
now, I never said ALL Marginalised People™ act that way, just that SOME
do, and so it can't really be called a generalisation, can it?" Example:
"I never said all people on food stamps are buying lobster and champagne!
Just that some are! Are you saying NO ONE cheats the system?"
them angry is ultimately a good thing, because while it may result in discomfort
for you, it will also enable you and your supporters to further dismiss
their words on the grounds they 'can't be civil'. Don't forget you don't
have to deal with their anger for too much longer and can soon return to
your cushiony world of unchallenged Privilege®,
so it's worth it in the long run!
|Rather than deal with the
actual issues on the table or stop and listen and take into consideration
what the Marginalised Person is saying, just whip this out instead!
Essentially, what you are
doing is claiming that any endeavour by Marginalised People to improve
their standing within society and the treatment they experience is a "conspiracy"
"against" the Privileged and that the ultimate objective of this fearsome
"conspiracy" is to ultimately oppress the Privileged.
It is a common misperception
of the Privileged to believe that any effort by the Marginalised to gain
equity undermines the Privileged and their lives. It is a very unique and
special trait to personalise something like Black History Month, for example,
as being an effort to make the history and accomplishments of white people
invisible. Although this is obviously ridiculous when white history is
so prominently covered in every aspect of culture from film, books, monuments
and education, it is a great way to once again make the dialogue about
the Privileged and the Privileged's perceived ill-treatment, imaginary
though this may be. This way you manage to keep the focus off the topic
at hand and on your own sense of wounded comfort - a lovely way to remind
the Marginalised their issues are thoroughly unvalued.
Naturally, it is of extreme
frustration to Marginalised People ,when all they are attempting to do
is draw attention to the extreme discrimination they are obliged to face,
to have it characterised as a calculated attack on the rights of the Privileged.
You can further underscore
and intensify this frustration by accusing them of a conspiracy, the ultimate
objective of which is to make your life as a Privileged Person a living
hell! Go so far as to suggest they intend to turn the tables - that if
given an inch they will simply take a mile and if the Privileged budge
or relent, in the blink of an eye the Marginalised will overthrow and oppress
After all, how dare
they think they are entitled to the same human rights you enjoy automatically
by virtue of your Privilege!
Have An Agenda
|A close relative of the
tactic used above, use this one in a similar fashion, implying that the
Marginalised Person could never be speaking from a position of integrity
or with pure intent because they have "an agenda".
Popular for use in discussions
about homosexuality, for example: "the gay agenda" - the claim that gay
people's fight to be recognised is simply a desire to "recruit" people
into the "gay lifestyle" and turn them "against" the "wholesomeness" of
heterosexuality, but it is versatile - also apply it to women's rights,
groups advocating for religious tolerance & diversity and for trans*
In this way you get to both
undermine them as a human being and further subject them to discrimination
through your paranoia and refusal to take them seriously. After all, if
you characterise their struggle for acceptance and equal rights as acts
worthy of a comic book supervillain, you further dehumanise and demoralise
them and this will strengthen your position.
Ultimately, you can simply
dismiss out of turn any and all of their points, no matter how valid, because
you can just proclaim that they: "have an Agenda!"
In B Situation Is Not Equivalent To X In Y Situation
|Your Marginalised Person™
may put in a last-ditch effort to be patient and reasonable by using an
analogy. If you are yourself a member of a Marginalised Community™ exercising
privilege over the group you’re arguing with, the Marginalised Person™
may use an example of discrimination towards your community and how there
are parallels in discrimination towards theirs. This will be to try and
appeal to your basic humanity and provide you with an experience you can
relate to, hoping you will use that relation to apply compassion.
Don’t worry! You can still
get out of this one!
Simply become indignant and
be very sure to emphasise that your experience is absolutely and one hundred
per cent unique and there are no similarities whatsoever between the two
situations. Be sure that you are very derisive of their experience, thereby
indicating you believe it unworthy of consideration. You must also behave
insulted, so as to indicate their issues are so worthless that it's deeply
offensive your own would be compared to them!
Of course, the Marginalised
Person™ was not trying to equate the two, simply trying to provide grounds
for commonality. It’s very important not to give an inch, however, so feign
utter ignorance of this at all costs.
Remember: you want them to
feel they really are less than human. It weakens their position and that’s
important if you want to win.
You Can Do
|If a Marginalised Person
should remark that many Marginalised People report overwhelmingly similar
experiences of discrimination and silencing from the Privileged, do not
despair: this is a unique opportunity to turn one of their own arguments
back on them!
Tell them they are making
"generalisations." Salt with "unwarranted" as necessary and if you
can work "sterotyping" in there too (playing on that guilt that THEY may
be doing what they accuse others of), and you're golden. You have still
managed to entirely undermine their voice as well as insinuate they're
hypocrites - all the while presenting yourself as being blissfully unaware
that stereotypes of the Privilged rarely, if ever, actively work to disadvantage
them in life.
They'll inevitably retreat
to a YMMV, IMHO multi-disclaimered "Lived Experience" (don't forget, as
discussed in You're Arguing With Opinions, Not Fact, this is worthless)
at which point you can tell them that's "anecdotal" and proves nothing.
Slam dunk. BOOYAH!
I'm Not Like That - Stop Stereotying!
|Personalising anything the
Marginalised Person may say is a great way of distracting attention from
the issue at hand, forcing the Marginalised Person to soothe your wounded
feelings or sense of indignation rather than concentrating on the argument
they were making.
Rather than simply listening
to criticism of a group of Privileged People with respect and consideration
for the Marginalised Person, you must immediately take offence and leap
in to defend yourself.
For example, when queer people
are crticising the tendencies of some straight people, jump in and say
"Not all of us are like that
- you're prejudiced against straight people! You're judging straight people
the same way that they judge you, and it's hateful! We need to not categorise
people and make assumptions about them based on their identity! I resent
feeling like I'm part of a group that oppresses you!"
- even though the criticism
was very explicitly leveled at a specified behavior. (ie.:, "I don't like
straight people who do ________.")
But of course, this can work
in many different situations where Privileged behaviour is being deconstucted
or criticised. Its resonance is in its lack of acknowledgement of the balance
of power by suggesting that reasonable criticism of oppressive or discriminatory
behaviour is equivalent to the oppressive and discriminatory behaviour
itself. Remember that while the Marginalised Person's criticism can never
adversely affect your life in significant ways, you must rank the discrimination
they face - which does significantly affect them - as equal to the discomfort
of your wounded feelings, to demonstrate how highly you rank yourself and
how lowly you rank them.
Just Suffering Privilege Envy
|If you're at all concerned
that you haven't been quite enough of an insensitive jackass by this point
and worried your argument is suffering as a consequence, try this one on
Simply say to the Marginalised
Person in question that: "it's plain to see you're just bitter and resentful
because you're not white/male/heterosexual/cisgendered/abled/thin etc and
you've got a chip on your shoulder you're taking out on me because I am!
Well, I'm very sorry, but that's not my fault. I can't help the way I was
born and neither can you. There are some things we just have to accept
in life and certain realities we have to learn to acknowledge, like the
differences between me as white/male/heterosexual/cisgendered/abled/thin
etc and you as of colour/female/queer/transgendered/disabled/fat etc. You
just can't fight nature or the normal social order of things. Please stop
blaming me for things that are out of my control!"
Or, to summarise: "YOU'RE
Not only do you get to once
AGAIN avoid any personal responsibility for the the oppressive and/or discriminatory
things you have said or done, not only do you once AGAIN get to undermine
their emotions, experiences and arguments and treat them as though they
have no validity - you ram the insult that little bit further home by basically
saying the state of oppression they live in is the "natural order of things"
rather than an artifical social construct based on fear and hate!
You can now move forward
in the argument assured that your jackassery is well and truly established
beyond all doubt!
Wins Gold in the Oppression Olympics?
|Following on from this,
if you are a member of another Marginalised Group™, you can also exploit
it to indicate to the Marginalised Person™ how absolutely disdainful you
are of their concerns and issues by making out that yours are far more
important and imperative.
You can even suggest that
your issues are more valuable than theirs, implying a hierarchy of oppression
in which you always win.
You see, as a Marginalised
Person ™ yourself, it is all the more infuriating to another Marginalised
Person™ that you're exercising the exact same prejudices and discrimination
that Privileged People® exercise against you! The Marginalised Person™
will be tearing their hair out at your obliviousness and lack of perception
and this will weaken their defences.
Have A False Consciousness
|In conversation, there are
few things as degrading, enraging and hurtful than to tell someone their
experiences are false, or that their perception of them is.
The idea behind this one
is usually that oppressed people are simply too oppressed to know they’re
oppressed and therefore Privileged People® have to share their wisdom
and insight with them.
This one crops up a lot in
issues that affect women: women who enjoy dressing in conventionally feminine
ways (they’re engrained in the patriarchal construct of femininity and
therefore are incapable of making a choice), women who are kinky, regardless
of the gender of the person they play with (they’re engrained in the patriarchal
construct of gender roles and therefore are incapable of making a choice)
and sex workers who claim to enjoy their work and/or practice it with autonomy
(they’re engrained in the patriarchal construct of female sexuality and
therefore are incapable of making a choice).
But this also affects People
with Disabilities who are routinely told they simply don’t understand what
is best for them and need a Privileged Person® to make decisions for
them. People with Disabilities are not able to make any decisions for their
own protection. Remember to stress that: it’s for your own protection.
With the trans community,
you must routinely deny their gender identity by equating their experiences
as having happened to someone of the gender they were designated at birth.
For example, denying the reality of gender dysmorphia means you can tell
a trans woman her childhood experiences happened to a little boy, because
that's how she was being raised, and so communicate your belief her reality
as a little girl was false, thoroughly undermining it.
In arguments about race,
it takes a slightly different form, generally in white people telling People
of Colour that they’re “seeing race where none exists”. You, on the other
hand, are “colour blind” and we live in “post-racial” times. It’s them
who are making everything about race and their experience of racism in
their daily lives is simply imagined. If only they could let it go, the
whole world would live in post-racial harmony!
You really want to ignore
any claims the Marginalised Person™ may make about having done thorough
research, deconstructing and unpacking of these issues. You also really
want to deny their autonomy. There are few things so infuriating as infantilising
an adult and telling them they’re delusional about their own reality. But
they need to understand that, no matter what, you know better.
Not Being A Team Player
|Shifting blame is very important
in these matters. You don’t ever want to have to own up to any responsibility
for hurt or distress caused and you most definitely do not want to admit
your prejudice or bigotry. You also want that Marginalised Person™ to be
continuously aware just how “on the fringes” they are, and always will
be (providing you get your way - but that’s what Privilege® is for,
You can achieve both these
things by accusing the Marginalised Person™ of not playing fair, or of
not playing with “the team” (i.e.: you and all the other Privileged People®
backing you up).
“C’mon”, you say, “we’re
all doing our best to participate in a reasonable, impartial debate. You
aren’t joining in. You’re trying to turn this into a fight. You’re ruining
it for everyone else!”
In other words: if you
just did and said exactly everything we Privileged People® demand of
you, life would be so much easier. For me. For you, well, what gave
you the impression I care about you?
This tactic subtly combines
several of the above points: You’re Taking Things Too Personally, You’re
Arguing With Opinions, Not Fact and You Have A False Consciousness,
and really makes the Marginalised Person™ feel ganged up on.
It’s great to gang-up on
someone, particularly someone who faces such othering every day of their
lives. It reinforces their sense of isolation, which will distress and
disorient them, weakening their stance.
Deliver it in just the right
condescending tone too, and you will really unhinge them…
Lost Your Temper So I Don't Have To Listen To You Anymore
|This one is particularly
effective because it really pushes home a sense of futility and hopelessness
to the Marginalised Person™. Remember they should never get the impression
they can win one of these arguments, because you should be consistently
implying that there was never anything to argue over to begin with.
If you’ve been following
the steps correctly so far, by this point any reasonable person is going
to be feeling pretty angry. This anger could lead to them being more aggressive
and abrasive. The Marginalised Person™ has possibly even decided that you’re
simply too obnoxious to waste patience on and is venting their sense of
This is when you whip this
You can use it to disregard
everything they’ve said to you and just not deal with the issue, in particular
ignoring your prior behaviour that led to the anger. Conventions of social
conduct hold civil discourse as the ideal at all times. When people get
angry, it gives you a convenient “out” without having to concede to any
of their objections or acknowledge their pain.
Furthermore, with this one
you can make it seem as though you were ready and willing to listen, but
then they ruined it. This way you can leave them with the sense that if
only they’d been a good little Marginalised Person™ and toed the line,
then they may have won someone over to the cause!
It just adds a particular
distaste to the whole affair that no derailing should be without!
Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry
|By now their feelings are
probably deeply hurt and they’re very angry. Don’t forget they encounter
this kind of discrimination in subtle ways every single day of their life,
so they’re bound to be emotional about it, even resentful.
You can take advantage
of this weakness to emerge the victor! After all, everyone knows
the Marginalised™ have an obligation to conduct themselves with quiet dignity
in the face of infuriating tribulation and if your quarry begins to get
angry and “aggressive” then you have won! Why? Well, it’s very simple -
just hold them as representative of their entire group! You could try saying
something like “you realise you’re making all X look bad?”, or “well, congratulations
for backing up the stereotype of X as being angry, irrational and oversensitive!”
Maybe you can even say “well, I was about to say I was willing to listen
to you, but then you got insulting so now I don’t have to!”
Don’t worry about silly things
like their feelings - c’mon, they’re grownups, aren’t they! The only thing
that matters is defending your discrimination as completely fair and to
avoid examining your prejudiced arguments in ways that may challenge them.
You could even drop this little bomb: "You are damaging your cause by being
angry, real understanding can only happen if all sides are respectful and
Not only do you come across
as a smug, self-righteous asshat (though you may prefer the term “bigger
you can also manage to subtly make them feel guilty about their anger,
as though it’s undeserved! Everybody wins! Well, except them of course.
As Bad As They Are!
|Definitely one of the last
tactics you should bring out if you're finding that the Marginalised Person™
is simply relentless and you are running out of options.
This one is an outright insult.
By now they have probably ripped all your prejudices apart and harshly
criticised both your attitudes and the Privileged® system you reside
within. You are probably taking it very personally because it's shaking
the foundations of your beliefs and making you confront aspects of your
own behaviour and nature that you would rather not.
That's when you say to them:
are just as bad as the people who oppress you!
Because they're angry about
the treatment they undergo and because they are aggressive and persistent
in wanting to see change happen, you can target this behaviour (remembering
that it is unseemly for Marginalised People™ – they're supposed to set
an example at all times by being humble and long-suffering) by suggesting
it puts them on a par with the people and system that stigmatise, ostracise
and target them every second of every day of their lives. This also suggests
that reacting to such discrimination is totally unreasonable and out of
proportion (they should just take their knocks!) and that has the benefit
of indicating your ignorance to just how pervasive and constant this discrimination
This one is important if
you really want to demonstrate what a scumbag you are so do be careful
to whip it out at precisely the right moment. Used correctly and it can
be something of a slamdunk!
I Was Playing “Devil’s Advocate” All Along!
|It can happen: you may reach
the point where, in spite of expertly using all of these tactics, you’re
suddenly struck by the discomfiting notion that maybe the Marginalised
People™, uh, have a point.
This doesn’t feel very good
for any Privileged Person®. It’s highly uncomfortable for a start-off,
the sensation you may be wrong about something. But even worse,
it may mean you have to endure the humiliation of admitting that!!
But never fear, for all is
not lost! You can still worm your way out of this one!
“It was all a social
This makes it okay, you see!
Not only does it imply to the Marginalised People™ you’re really not the
ignorant, obnoxious bigot you might be beginning to realise you are, you
successfully communicate to them that you are that insensitive,
arrogant and that much of a douchebag you would take very real and
serious issues that affect their lives and treat them as nothing more than
a theoretical discussion for your own detached amusement!
In this way you cover your
arse whilst affirming your privilege!
YOU HAVE WON!
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