||[Aug. 1st, 2009|04:41 pm]
"pretend for a moment that you grew up in a deeply racist society...one which advantages accrue disproportionately to members of one race...and that this race has a long and disturbing (when noticed) yet often underinvestigated history of exploiting other races. pretend that the rich...are entitled to the benefits their wealth brings to them, even when it comes at the expense of the vast majority. pretend also that in this society men subjugate women...both officially, through casting males as primary decision makers and by undervaluing or undercompensating the contributions of women (as well as by creating a philosophy, theology, and politics to undergrid this subjugation); and unofficially, through an oftentimes officially disavowed yet omnipresent campaign of terrorism: rape and other violence to keep women in their place. pretend, finally, that this society perceives the natural world not the be replete with other beings with whom one can and should enter into respectful and mutually beneficial relationships (as do indigenous peoples worldwide) but is instead composed of objects to be exploited.|
If you're a fully socialized white male within this group, that is, if you've been taught to believe on some level that whites are superior to nonwhites, that the rich somehow deserve their monetary and political wealth, that men are superior to women, that humans are superior to nonhumans, your default perspective will, naturally, conform to those beliefs. if your socialization is sophisticated enough, the beliefs may quite possibly be invisible to you. of course humans are more intelligent than rocks. this is a joke, right? simply substitute blacks, jews, women, indians, apes, rats, rivers, or whatever other group you may want to exploit (and if you object to mixing humans and nonhumans in this example, you might consider the invisibility of your own socialization). or the invisibility might manifest itself another way: whites superior to indians? preposterous. we live in a color-blind society, we can say with all righteous truthfulness in this place taken by massacre from these same people. if your socialization has been thorough enough, you will probably not feel tremendously torn as you take your due, however directly or circuitously, from the labor of nonwhites and the poor, from the activities or bodies of women, from the rending of the fabric of the natural world. avoidance of inner conflict will require you to deny that those to be exploited have lives that are precious to them. you will, in short, have to live in a state of denial."