Spoiler alert... there is no such thing and why would you want there to be?
A couple of years ago I went out with a First Nations man and over dinner he revealed to me his opinion that our First Nations (Aboriginals, American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous – depending on where you go and who you talk to) have been more oppressed than any other group in history.
My response to him was “Have you heard of this group called women? And do you know there is no award for the most oppressed and why would you want to identify as such?”
He had no response. I suspect that line had been working really well for him until he met me!
I have since spent a lot of time thinking about that statement and because I refuse to be a victim I refuse to identify as an oppressed group. It is my opinion that no one can oppress me without my permission and will never give permission for that.
Which then begs the question why would someone else want to identify with an oppressed group? My theory is that there is pay value in being a victim. For everything we do there is some sort of pay off. We go to work, so that we can get paid. We are agreeable, so that we can avoid confrontation. We gain weight, so that we don’t get positive attention. We are victims, because there is a payoff. Maybe we get sympathy, a free pass, funding, to opt out of something, maybe, maybe, maybe. There are a jillion reasons why we do what we do. There is always a reason and rarely is the reason, “because it makes me a better person” or “it allows me to have a positive impact in the world”. Most of our payoffs are designed to keep us small and I say screw that. Be as big as you want to be. Shine your light – however that looks for you. You cannot be a victim and shine as brightly as you were meant to shine.
Don’t get me wrong there are groups that have been targeted and oppressed and it’s wrong. The only thing we have to combat that oppression is our refusal to be compartmentalized. This is not about denying that, but at the end of the day only you can change your situation. We cannot force others to change (and why would we want to?). We can only take responsibility for #mypart. Own how we contributed to the place where we find ourselves. For it is in this ownership of our choices and how we show up are we actually able to break free of victimhood.
And baby I want to see you shine because I think there should be a huge reward for that... oh wait... there is... it’s called freedom.
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