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!

 

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.

Autistic until Proven Guilty: More Good Reasons to Blame Autism for Everything

In addition to the Six Good Reasons to Blame Autism for All Your Problems that I posted a few days ago, we might add a seventh, which is that doing so is a natural, consistent, and thoroughly reasonable adaptation to the domain of personal ethics of certain cornerstone legal principles enshrined in the U.S. Justice System and even in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In particular, it is essentially an adaptation of the well-known Presumption of Innocence principle that requires guilt to be proven instead of innocence, but it is also an adaptation of the principle that a witness cannot be compelled to give testimony that is self-incriminating.

With respect to the current context, I think it’s imperative to recognize that quite to the contrary of pop-culture exhortations to “trust your gut”, feelings in general are often terrible representations of reality. What could be more common than irrational anxiety or fear, especially for autistic people? As another example, anger can make us feel powerful, even as it renders us inflexible, impulsive, and blind to relevant information (i.e. contextually stupid). And of course, who hasn’t fallen madly in love with someone who can only reciprocate with boredom?

In particular, pro-social feelings like guilt, shame, regret, remorse, and embarrassment are notoriously misleading. Human beings on either end of a given accusation — both accuser and accused — are vulnerable to what might aptly be referred to as delusions of culpability. Of course, delusions of innocence are also possible, and so clearly we should not pretend to be sociopaths, who themselves have a dangerously misleading lack of such pro-social emotions. Feelings aren’t always wrong either, and should never be denied or ignored.

But I think especially when we feel guilty or ashamed, for example, we absolutely should demand that our feelings be confirmed by the facts. Even a quick study of history and current events shows that it is very easy to manipulate someone into feeling guilty or ashamed for all kinds of ridiculous pseudo-crimes — homosexuality, masturbation, witchcraft, being black, Jewish, etc. Once our feelings of shame or guilt have passed the test of being grounded in fact, I think then and only then should we agree to accept appropriate personal responsibility for the events, actions, or consequences in question. I think a firm commitment to “autism made me do it!”, at least initially, is an excellent way to ensure such an outcome.

Yup. Autistic until proven guilty. That’s my new credo — for now at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind.

And if you think you may have some of that kind of evidence, or any other thoughts on the above, please let me know in a comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Middle Ground: An Open Letter to the People of Earth

Dear Earthling,

I have a serious problem. To begin with, I sincerely believe that my Civil Rights have been violated, and it really seems to me like you don’t give a shit. That’s a big part of the problem, but there’s more. See, when the dozen or so perpetrators who broke the Civil Rights laws in question committed this crime, they simultaneously stole your own luxury to not give a shit about it.

I know, I know. Bummer right? Here you were thinking that it’s not your problem that these assholes fucked me over in the way that they did, and now I’m telling you “er, sorry, amigo, but these assholes fucked you over too, by stealing your luxury to not give a shit.”

Yup, I know, it really sucks. I really wish it were some other way, but it’s not.

I’ll try to explain: see, what I’m calling “my Civil Rights” are not actually “my” Civil Rights. It’s not like they belong to me, or like I have Civil Rights that are somehow different from yours. In reality, my Civil Rights are also your Civil Rights. Ironically, they are also the Civil Rights of the perpetrators themselves — these people actually violated their own Civil Rights! As a result of this basic principle, when they broke the laws they broke, the perps inadvertently drew a line in the sand, and like it or not, now we all have to choose a side — the side of Civil Rights in general, or the other side, which is pretty much the side of Tyranny and Oppression. Like it or not, one way or another, you must choose. Of course, you don’t have to choose the Civil Rights side, but you must choose a side to stand on.

Forget about the middle ground. There’s no middle ground. These fools have stolen it.

Good luck!

PS: If it seems like I’m being ridiculous here, or blowing things out of proportion, etc. then to the extent you are correct, then (in my opinion) it’s probably because I’m autistic. As a rule, the bigger the mistake I make, I think the more likely it’s due to my being autistic (again, in my opinion).

 

Autism Made Me Do It

I’ve recently decided to start using autism as my go-to excuse for everything. (For background, see yesterday’s post Why I’ve Decided To Start Blaming Autism For All Of My Problems, So Fuck Off!)

“Why are you late for work?” — autism.

“Why haven’t you paid this bill?” — autism.

“Why is your car full of trash?” — autism.

“Your honor, the defendant peed on the claimant’s chihuahua because he’s autistic.”

Yep — I’ve decided to blame autism for everything — every problem I have, every mistake I make, every relationship I destroy — it’s all because of autism. All of it.

To be clear: I hereby officially reject — in writing, no less — all responsibility for my behavior. Going forward, everything I do wrong — especially the serious shit — I do wrong because I’m autistic.

And why have I decided to start doing this?

Well, several reasons, actually, but mainly because — yep, you guessed it — I’m autistic!

Boom! (Drops the mic, throws back his crimson-velvet, ermine-trimmed cape, and struts off while eating a chocolate-covered cheeseburger.)


Image Credit: Shutterstock

Why I’ve Decided To Start Blaming Autism For All Of My Problems, So Fuck Off!

Because I’m autistic.

So, fuck off!

Oh…and happy World Autism Awareness Day!

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Image credits: Angry Walrus, Shutterstock; World Autism Awareness Day, Wikipedia.