A Privileged White Man’s Solution to Privilege Guilt — You’re Welcome!

“My Life Sucks, But I Still Feel Guilty!”

exhasperated_business_man_299x200Let me guess. Life has dealt you shit cards, but you actually feel guilty because you know so many others have it worse than you.

Tell me about it. If you think you’ve got privilege guilt, check out my sob story:

To begin with, I’m autistic, which, frankly, is basically the world’s greatest excuse for pretty much any situation in which one might need a great excuse, and let me say that I can hardly get through a week without needing at least one of those (“bro, I’m sorry I knocked up your girlfriend, but after all I am autistic”).

But even though my life has always been something of a train wreck because of autism, I nevertheless still feel guilty because I also happen to be a white, college-educated, fairly handsome man (or so thinks my best bro’s girlfriend, heh, heh); and not, for example, a black, dangerously underweight, crack-addicted, HIV-infected baby girl born 16-weeks prematurely to a teenage sex-slave and tossed into a dumpster by her mother’s pimp to starve, freeze, or be smothered to death by all the trash that will soon accumulate on top of her.

I know, I know — it’s like these days everybody’s a victim!

Well, if you find this situation to be as frustrating as I do, today is your lucky day! Because after pondering this problem far more than I ever really wanted to, I have finally figured out what to do with all of my frustrating privilege guilt!

And for the low, low price of just $2,000.00 US Dollars, I will share with you my amazing solution for the problem of privilege guilt!

Har har, just kidding.

No, seriously, I’m going to just give you this sweet little fix for free as a public service because, honestly, I suspect that this whole privilege-guilt situation is actually accomplishing the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to accomplish, which is to help us all be kinder and more caring human beings. To be clear:

I’m pretty sure that privilege guilt is a force for evil in this world, for the most part, and that whatever good it may appear to do in some situations, in the end it actually tends to make its practitioners more selfish and cruel.

I especially think it likely that the sooner we all abandon privilege guilt — yup, toss all of it straight into the aforementioned dumpster instead of that black, dangerously underweight, crack-addicted, HIV-infected baby girl born 16-weeks prematurely to a teenage sex-slave — really the sooner we can all fulfill our true potential as kind and caring human beings. The core epiphany here is that privilege guilt may actually be a trick we play on ourselves so that we can hoard privilege (surprise, surprise)!

Let me say it again:

Privilege guilt is a trick we play on ourselves so that we can continue to hoard privilege!

I know, crazy, right? — paradoxical, even. But I really think it’s true.[1]

It seems to work like this: because I have all these great privileges following from the fact that I am a college-educated, fairly handsome white man (more handsome than my best bro, apparently), I know people are going to think I’m a selfish bastard if I just hoard this bounty for myself. Ah! But if I torture myself enough with privilege guilt — maybe even throw a few bucks at some charity — they’ll think, “well, at least he feels bad”, and then leave me alone to enjoy my white-man privileges. And because these privileges are truly wonderful and do indeed make my life quite the vacation resort — that is, with respect to the vast majority of human beings on Earth, and this despite my autistic neurology — oh, heck, a bit of privilege guilt is really a small price to pay in comparison with all to be gained by privilege-hoarding.

Doesn’t that strike you as wicked? Honestly, when I look at it like that, I suddenly I feel quite gross and have a really hard time feeling guilty for hoarding all of my white-man privileges, which — and here’s the kicker — actually makes me want to share those privileges with others!

Isn’t that weird? It seems paradoxical, and please don’t ask me to explain it, but somehow it’s only when I stop feeling guilty that I actually feel motivated to help those in need. It’s almost as if my privilege guilt is gobbling up the very motivation I need to actually do something to help others, with the highly suspicious end result being that I get to keep all my white-man privileges to myself.

“But What If I’m Not A Privileged White Man?”

smiling_woman_300x200What’s great about this solution to privilege guilt is that it will work for pretty much anybody. Of course, privileged white men like myself are the ones who tend to suffer most from privilege guilt, and really if this solution can work for us, believe me, it can work for you or anybody else who happens to have less cause to feel privilege guilt. Really, the only possible exceptions that I can think of all involve babies who are simply too young to feel guilty about anything. For example, I find it quite impossible to imagine that, say, some dangerously underweight, crack-addicted, HIV-infected baby born 16-weeks prematurely to a teenage sex-slave and tossed into a dumpster by its mother’s pimp to starve, freeze, or be smothered to death by all the trash that will soon accumulate on top of it might ever suffer from privilege guilt, even if the baby does happen to be a privileged white boy!

So there it is! Now, please stop wasting your time and energy on useless privilege guilt, and instead, get out there and actually share whatever privileges you may have with some poor abandoned dumpster baby — beginning with all of the baby black girls, of course!


[1]In my opinion, for now, of course, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind. Note: if you think you may have such evidence, please share it with me in a comment, below — thanks in advance!

 

That Time I Felt Guilty For Stealing My Own Car: The (Sometimes) Failure of Guilt (and its Absence)

I’m not sure how exactly, but the other day I had been sitting in the driver’s seat of my car, having just parked it and checked my phone for text messages, when somehow I set off the car alarm. Much more bizarre, however, was that I instantly felt guilty for stealing the car itself. Let me repeat that:

I felt guilty for stealing my own car!

The same thing happens whenever I’m exiting, say, a bookstore with a book I just purchased, and somehow the store’s anti-theft alarm chimes loudly.

Apparently juries aren’t the only ones capable of making mistakes in determining whether someone is a thief.

The history of Civilization is a junkyard cluttered with all manner of obsolete fake crimes for which human beings have both felt genuine guilt and for which they’ve been punished in every conceivable manner, from the public and humiliating scolding of an employee to being burned alive at the stake for witchcraft.

On the other hand, an absence of guilty feelings has its own problems as well. The following chilling words, spoken by serial-killer Ted Bundy, should be studied by anyone aspiring to lead a totally guilt-free life:

“Guilt? It’s this mechanism we use to control people. It’s an illusion. It’s a kind of social control mechanism — and it’s very unhealthy. It does terrible things to our bodies. And there are much better ways to control our behavior than…guilt.”

— Serial Killer Ted Bundy[1]

In consideration of the above, I’m inclined to conclude that contrary to Bundy’s own maleficent advice, at least some guilt is healthy and should be acknowledged and valued, if for no other reason than as a sort of safety check on one’s behavior — a spontaneous alert from the more primitive centers of the brain to tread carefully to ensure the safety of others. I’m thinking that guilt should be viewed as a valued source of information regarding the moral status of our own actions, but it should rarely be treated like an infallible source of such information. However guilty I felt for doing so, in no sense whatsoever did I try to steal my own car!

As I see it (for now, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind) Guilt should be viewed as an input to careful, conscientious thinking, not an output of it (which would have to be some sort of action, I believe, not merely a feeling or emotion), and guilt should surely not be used as a substitute for one’s real Conscience, which I believe is surely something else entirely.

What do you think?


[1]Cited in Baumeister’s Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, pg. 305

Image Credit: iStock

 

Rape Is Not Really About Sex: The Rape Spectrum

I’d always heard that rape is not really about sex; it’s about power. But one thing I’ve learned from relentlessly studying my own experience being gang-raped last year, is that rape need not actually involve any physical violence, necessarily, nor even any sort of physical contact at all. If you’ve never actually been raped yourself, this is probably going to sound completely nuts indeed, but it’s actually possible to rape someone merely by looking at them.

If this sounds impossible to you I would guess that it’s because you are misinformed about rape in the same way that autism researchers used to be misinformed about autism, because they didn’t realize that autism is best conceptualized as a spectrum of disorders, with great variability being observed across the entire population of autistic people, and all of these blending more or less seamlessly into the general population.

I suspect rape is like that — best conceptualized as a spectrum, with some cases of rape being perhaps more obviously examples of rape than others, but all of them recognizable as rape nonetheless — most especially by the survivors.

 

 

 

America’s First Mentally-Ill President

I doubt I’m the first to observe this, but it just occurred to me that in the same way that Obama was our first black President, Donald Trump is our first mentally-ill President.

Now, I do realize this coin has two sides. Heads: he’s completely unhinged and armed with nuclear bombs. Tails: now even we crazies can aspire to political careers!

Yeah, yeah, I know. The guy makes my skin crawl, but the silver lining to that cloud is that the moment Trump entered the Oval Office, he completely abolished this bizarre and pathologically confused pseudo-distinction between so-called “appropriate” and “inappropriate” behavior of which neuro-typicals are so proud, and which keeps so many of us with psychiatric disabilities unemployed, lonely and off in the shadows where we won’t offend anybody.

Thank you, Mr. Trump. You disgust me, but you’ve made the world a lot safer for your crazy-brethren, provided you don’t kill everybody with your nuclear bombs.

 

 

 

 

A Disgusting, Horrifying Thought-Experiment for Ethics Students and Chainsaw Aficionados

Trigger Warning

The following is a disgusting, horrifying thought experiment with great potential value for the advancement of ethical philosophy, in my opinion (at least for now, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind) that far outweighs the discomfort of the fear and nausea it may well induce. Be that as it may, read the following at your own risk.

Seriously, This Is About Gang-Rape.

Look, this is about gang-rape. The scary clown picture above and the reference in the title to chainsaw owners was merely meant to be suggestive. Still, gang-rape is nasty business. If you continue reading beyond this point, please don’t say I didn’t warn you. This will get gross.

Still with me? OK, here goes:

A Kinder, Gentler Gang-Rape

The basic idea here is that gang-rape needn’t be violent. It might indeed be gentle — very, very gentle. As a thought-experiment, suppose a high school football team ODs on testosterone, loses its collective mind, and decides to teach a little lesson in “manliness” to the only male cheerleader on the cheer leading squad. Suppose they get all chummy with him after Friday night’s game, invite him to join them for a just-the-guys party out by the lake, get him drunk till he passes out and then take turns raping him in the anus, one by one.

Only suppose they do it very, very gently and politely, so as not to cause any injury, or to give the guy any diseases, and of course because he’s a guy, pregnancy is impossible. Maybe they all wear sterile, heavily lubricated gloves — the non-latex kind in case the guy is allergic (hey, these rapists have manners) — and suppose they each use only a well-lubricated pinky finger, inserted ever so smoothly and gently into the guy’s anus, over and over, one after the other, till everybody’s had the opportunity to get his hands dirty (so to speak), all of them grinning and snickering the whole time because, well, boys will be boys and all that.

Also, suppose they make a video of the whole thing, and after they have carefully cleaned up the cheerleader, and he wakens, they show him the video so that he knows that he just got gang-raped by an entire football team, and then they delete the video, so that there is no publicly verifiable physical evidence that any of it happened.

Now, of course it goes without asking, but for the sake of completion I’m going to ask it any way: even though such a gang-rape is physically harmless, is there any doubt in your mind that it wasn’t really a gang-rape?

I’ll assume you are human and that you gave the correct answer, which is “no, I have no doubt whatsoever, gentle or not, such an event is every bit as much a gang-rape as it would be if they put him in the hospital, gave him HIV, and somehow managed to get him pregnant with baby ducks.”

Rape is Rape, Gentle or Not

The point I’m trying to establish here is that gang-rape is still gang-rape, even if it causes no physical injury, disease, or pregnancy. And of course, the same goes for any kind of rape. Rape is rape, gentle or not.

I Was Gang-Raped by MetLife Employees: Another Open Letter to the People of Earth

Dear Earthling,

I think you should know that I was gang-raped by roughly a dozen employees of the so-called Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a.k.a. MetLife, my former employer.

I’m guessing you’ll find it super important that I’m using the term gang-rape here in a purely figurative sense. I too would have thought as much, back before I got gang-raped, and especially before I spent months obsessing about the ordeal and trying to figure out what to do about it. But I have recently reached the other side of all that insanity, and I’m happy to announce that when considered from this new perspective, the real differences between literal and figurative gang-rape are simply not such a big deal.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. Of course an old-school gang-rape in the literal sense could be and even most often is worse — even much, much worse. But I can easily imagine cases in which the rapists might take extreme precautions against physical injury, disease, and pregnancy (perhaps by using gloved and lubricated fingers to gently rape a man’s anus) , which would in no sense change the fundamental nature of the crime, nor mitigate the ensuing psychological consequences. To my view, such a physically gentle, injury- , disease- and pregnancy-free crime would be no less a gang-rape than, say, the infamous football-team-beneath-the-bleachers variety.

In my own case, the perpetrators indeed took extreme measures to prevent physical injury, disease, and pregnancy — but I really couldn’t care less about any of that. These individuals nevertheless gang-raped me, in my opinion (for now, at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that might change my mind). Much of what I have written in this blog documents my sincere and enthusiastic attempts to find some other way to describe the experience[1], but after months of trying, I have utterly failed to find any other way to put it that doesn’t cause a serious misunderstanding between me and anyone I might wish to tell: you, for example.

Please know that I am fully prepared to endure and respond effectively to any skepticism or objections you or anyone else may have with respect to what I’m claiming here. Especially if you are one of the perpetrators, or a MetLife employee or officer, or a member of the company’s governing board, or a stockholder, or really anybody at all with a stake big or small in denying what these MetLife employees did to me, I am ready for all of you. So please, don’t be shy about expressing yourself or sharing your thoughts and concerns with me.

Finally, as a rule, no matter who we are, no matter what problems we have or ordeals we endure, somewhere out there someone else has it worse — much worse. I am quite certain, for example, that you in particular, whoever you are, at some point in your life, were quite possibly really gang-raped in a way that by comparison makes my own ordeal look like a nice back massage.

If you are such a gang-rape survivor, or indeed anybody else who has had a rougher go of things than I have in Life, and this due to any reason at all; please know that any advantages afforded me by my obviously much lower martyr-status — for example, those resources (financial or otherwise) that I have come to control by virtue of the fact that I am a college-educated white man of middle-class upbringing living in a world that was mostly designed by and expressly built for guys like me (or at least, the ones who aren’t autistic) — I wish to assure you that I am wholeheartedly committed to applying those advantages to the task of making the world safer for you and for everyone that matters to you.

If you have any suggestions for how best to do that, I would love to know about them.

Thanks for reading this.

Sincerely,

The Walrus


[1] For an example of such an attempt and general overview of the events in question, see An Open Letter to A Certain EEOC Deputy District Director.

The U.S. Constitution is displayed with a brown gavel on it

Civil Rights Don’t Get ‘Violated’; They Get Raped

violate_definition_490x300

“Rape” is one common dictionary definition for the word “violate”. Image Credit: Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

I have learned a great deal from my numerous misadventures with “Batman” and his “Justice League Gang” . Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that this linguistic convention of using a word like violated to describe what happens when someone “breaks” or “disobeys” a Civil Rights Law is ethically dubious — possibly cruel.

Civil Rights don’t get “violated”; they get raped.

In my opinion, to describe a Civil Rights crime with any sort of neutral, or objective, or “politically correct” word like violation is to risk minimizing or invalidating the trauma suffered by the victim.

Even if that victim was not really sexually assaulted, an act of Civil Rights rape can be psychologically traumatic, which for the victim is also a kind of rape — psychological rape. And I’m really not sure this is some sort of figurative interpretation of rape. Consider that rape is commonly held to be about power, not sex, suggesting that a lack of sexually related physical contact need not necessarily disqualify a given event as an example of rape. Also, however important may be the actual physical trauma of sexual assault, in the long run it is the psychological trauma that matters most. Bodies heal much more quickly than minds. Long after the stitches are removed, the STD’s are treated, and any unwanted fetus is aborted, the mind is probably still oozing pus.

The next time you catch yourself or someone else talking about a given Civil Rights “violation”, I invite you to consider that what actually happened was a Civil Rights rape.