When the Majority Feels Oppressed

By Deane Barker tags: social-justice

Here are two things I’ve learned:

  • Any mention of the term “white pride” automatically means you’re a racist.
  • Try to have a “straight pride” parade, and you’re automatically labeled a homophobe.

I’ve wondered about this phenomenon for a long time, and I’ve come to this conclusion: it’s considered somehow inappropriate for a majority to campaign for their majority views.

There are more whites than non-whites in this country, and more straight people than gay people. So for the former to promote their views is somehow automatically considered oppression of the latter.

In Chamberlain, South Dakota – a rural area with a large Native American population – this happened last year:

School officials in Chamberlain are investigating an incident in which six high school students wore homemade T-shirts proclaiming “White Pride World Wide.”

Now, these kids muddied the waters a bit by explicitly associating themselves with a white supremacist logo, but even if they hadn’t, the concept of “white pride” is just automatically considered to be racially inflammatory. Contrast this to “Native Pride” clothing I see someone wearing at least once a week about these parts.

And I couldn’t think of a specific incident of the following, so I just Googled for “straight pride t-shirt,” and sure enough

A Chicago high school has decided to allow a small group of students to wear “Straight Pride” T-shirts, despite resistance from other students who say they found the clothing offensive […]

And now CNN is reporting that this concept of the majority feeling oppressed is being taken to the extreme: Are whites racially oppressed?

They are, some say, the new face of racial oppression in this nation – and their faces are white.

[…] Call it racial jujitsu: A growing number of white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group, scholars and commentators say.

And you see claims like this from the Christian right all the time: it’s Getting Dangerous Out There – A Preacher Is Arrested in Britain

Now, a Christian preacher has been arrested in Britain for the crime of saying in public that homosexuality is a sin. This arrest is more than a news event – it is a signal of things to come and an announcement of a new public reality. Even if all charges are dropped against this preacher, the signal is sent and the message is clear. The act of Christian preaching is now a potential criminal offense.

I have no opinion here, just more questions, some of which are about myself –

  • If I saw a “Straight Pride Parade” I would automatically think the organizers were a bunch of homophobes. But the logic just doesn’t follow. I wouldn’t necessarily think the organizers of a Gay Pride Parade hated straight people.
  • If I saw some kid with a “White Pride” T-shirt, I would automatically think he was just trying to piss off another group by being racially confrontational. But when I see a “Native Pride” jacket, I always think “good for them – cultural heritage is important.”

So where does this apparently built-in bias come from? Why is it that the minority in any arena can campaign for their views and we look on this favorably, but when the majority does theexact same thing, we look on it as oppressive to the minority?

This is item #61 in a sequence of 114 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate