Rhyd Wildermuth: Liberation From Reductive Identity Politics

Rhyd Wildermuth: Liberation From Reductive Identity Politics


LBW: Obviously reducing everything down to
racism is going to filter out a lot of the complexity of the the situation that
you might be in but it’s also very true also that racism is a very real thing
that affects the lives is particularly of minorities in in the United States
and so I think it’s actually rather easy to maybe if you want to call it a trap
or not but a way of thinking which says like this is this is this is about race
this is about the fact that white people have always been entitled and I’ve
always felt that they deserve everything and that you know the anger that a
person might feel over that may make it very difficult to think about it in that
way that you’re discussing which I think is absolutely correct but I find that
oftentimes our deep emotional our deep-seated frustrations that occur
throughout life the trauma and pain that you mentioned at the beginning of this
this conversation you know when people fixate on a phrase or a word that
triggers them or makes them feel a certain way they’re getting hung up on
the trauma and the pain that they may have experienced their entire life for
things that they had no control over right like you don’t necessarily choose
to be born a black woman in the United States but you but you are I mean if you
are that person then you have to you have to own that experience and you have
to be in that body and experience what it’s like to be it up that particular
human being at this particular time in this particular place and in trying to
navigate a way through that to where you understand you know what you’re
discussing and I think oftentimes what the danger of course is that you know
you Rhyd you’re a white male from the United States and people are
gonna be like well he can easily make those critiques and he can easily talk
about all of that because of his you know race of the color of his skin and
his gender and it’s just it seems like a really difficult knot to unravel and unwind I guess do you know what I mean RHYD WILDERMUTH: First of all yes there is definitely
deep pain deep suffering deep trauma um you know I like the experience of being
outside of the the political norm the accepted norm whatever that is if that’s
you know being queer being trans being disabled being black being anything you
know being anything except for what is what is considered normal
in the United States is going to be traumatizing the question is what do we
do with the trauma you know um when when I was younger and yeah when I was
younger I found I found gay identity to be liberating um it was amazing
it was great it was it put me in a position where I felt like I was part of
a community of people who have shared suffering shared interests shared
desires um and and you know at first it was great
and and it also helped me well I thought it helped me see how I was being
depressed or oppressed excuse me you know a straight straight co-worker or a
straight boss or a straight friend who would say something that was a
microaggression or you know was oppressive and I would call them out on that and I would
continuously call them not on that to try to make them you know stop being
oppressive towards me um that didn’t work well um it made me feel good at
first until I realized that I was being defined by my trauma I was being defined
by this sense that everybody was out to oppress me even other gays you know um
it was a helpful transitioner transition period for me to claim that identity but
afterwards that I I decided hey actually this doesn’t do me any good
um it you know we’re all responsible for not the pain that has happened
us but what we do with that pain what we do with that trauma if if we if we blame
the groups that we see as responsible whether that is is fully 100% true that
they’re responsible or you know a perception that they’re responsible and
if we live our lives completely in opposition to that group then then our
identity is just constructed from trauma um it’s just it’s a victim identity and
and it can be useful um you know for a while but eventually when you no longer
wants you to be victimized or or take on the identity of a victim and instead you
want to take on an identity of liberation you know you have to move
past that now that seems like I’m letting a lot of people off of the hook
a part of the issue unfortunately with identity politics is the idea of
collective responsibility um there there is is no no metric of you
know how much is a and actually um and I think she’ll be okay with me using this
example I have a friend who is uh she’s a single mother raising a son
their son is young he’s a teenager um his son has not raped a woman his son
is not or her son is not you know abused any women he is not responsible at all
like he has not actually done any of these things that right now feminists
and others are fighting against um but if you read or and he has been reading
um the internet you know and and reads these these essays and posts and and
tumblr whatever about how his maleness is the problem that he is a an oppressor
he is part of the problem and he needs to stop
oppressing women um the dude is young yeah he hasn’t he hasn’t gotten to the
point where he’s even you know even would have oppressed people um
now take someone like him versus Donald Trump who has a very very long very epic
history of oppressing women um and is still actively oppressing women now when
we say all white men are are the problem or all men are the problem then you know
we we make a huge error um you know instead of instead of saying that
individuals are the problem like yeah you know this this this is something that
Dr. Bones likes to say very often the people who are fucking up the planet have
names and addresses you know these are individuals we we know them we you know
they’re in the news like you know the the systems that they are a part of you
know be that patriarchy or whiteness or maleness or whatever those definitely
exist but they don’t exist without powerful individuals who keep
replicating them and when we attempt to go when we paint the responsibility as
collective so that a 12 year old boy and a 16 year old teenager and an 80 year
old man and a 65 year old CEO all have the exact same amount of responsibility
and the same culpability and same fault in oppressing women it actually makes
sure that it makes certain that we cannot actually get at the problem you
know and those problems as I said our individuals so so when when I say
when it sounds like I’m letting a lot of people off the hook by you know making
that statement about trauma um it’s specifically because you know I am not I
am not personally oppressing anybody I would love to help people get the people
who are oppressing them you know I’d like to
enable them empower them fight alongside them to fight the people who are
oppressing them but I can’t take responsibility for what Trump has done
to people you know um and and and and when we decide that’s everybody who
shares the same physical characteristics like every everybody who has a penis who
is born cis male everybody who has pale skin is the problem is um
um you know are the agents of oppression then you know we’re we’re not gonna
change anything but it’ll definitely make us feel better and and I think
that’s that’s another thing that’s being addressed more and more about the way
that social justice politics work especially on the Internet
it makes you feel really good to call out somebody it makes you feel really
good to you know shame somebody especially when there are other people
watching and praising you for finally speaking the truth as it were um you
know until of course that gets turned on you later

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