Yeah, I’m talking about misandry, cisphobia, heterophobia, reverse racism and so on. No, they’re not real and here’s why.
First of all, I get it: You don’t like having to come to terms with admitting to yourself that possibly, quite possibly, you belong to an oppressive class of people. Maybe you think this means that you, yourself are oppressive, and dang, maybe that’s true, too. I know that most of the time when people are confronted with this fact (usually white, cis, straight people, mind you) they recoil in anger and they waste absolutely no time in proving you right. Especially when you point out that they are either white, cis, straight, or all of the above (and that these things make for limited experience when dealing with different axis of oppression).
But here’s the thing, you don’t have to be. It costs you nothing to recognize history, reality and things that are going on in the present. Racism, homophobia and transmisogyny are deeply embedded things in American society and unless you address that, how do you expect to fix it? Because if you don’t address that, you’re probably at least a little bit complicit, and then claims of being part of an oppressive class aren’t all that false, now are they?
You know what else you’re doing though, when you holler about “reverse oppression” while marginalized people are talking about their experiences? You’re centering your own feelings. You’re taking the subject and you’re completely derailing it in order to talk about yourself and what you’ve experienced.
I’m sorry, but that is super selfish. A lot of these problems could be solved if people would just listen to each other. Drop this idea that you have all the knowledge in the world. Drop this idea that your life experience is the majority experience, or even the default experience. Drop this idea that people who experience marginalization in the United States are somehow capable of pointing it back at you, or that they’re somehow at fault for experiencing it in the first place. Drop this fetishism of opinion and recognize that sometimes, maybe you’re wrong? Maybe you’re wrong and expanding your knowledge and growing from a situation is the best course of action.
Because if you can admit that sometimes, you just might be wrong, that your experiences aren’t capable of guiding you through every conversation with people who live lives that are nothing like yours, and if you can admit that you do belong to a class of people, a demographic that has caused numerous horrors throughout history, and is even still causing them today (see: What Happened in Charlottesville), then maybe, just maybe you can be part of the future that changes all of this.
Now, repeat after me: Marginalized/oppressed people criticizing me for centering my own experiences in a discussion about everyday issues they experience, that I do not experience, due to their identities or lives is not reverse oppression. My feelings do not take importance in every single conversation that ever takes place between myself and a marginalized person. Having hurt feelings is not oppression. Being criticized, again, is not oppression. Being talked to about my limited experiences for being white, or cis, or straight, or male is not: Racial profiling, reverse racism, cisphobia, misandry or heterophobia and it is time for me to stop.