I Victim

So, I went to a rock show recently. I do that on occasion. I’ve developed a taste for live music and it gives me a chance to exercise my other new hobby, photography.

This particular show involved a string of bands with proceeds going to various women-centered stuff. So it was a fempunk evening, cool. I should say, I enjoyed the music, but the atmosphere was at times jarring.

At one point a woman got up on stage and made an announcement, apparently the ‘dudebros’ were dominating the moshpit. They needed to stop it, so that the women and transpeople could… slamdance.

Now, I’ve been in moshpits before, both good(where people help each other) and bad(just an excuse to elbow strangers) but I have to say, at this event, this is how the moshpit died. After the announcement… there was some pushing… but the heart was gone. Made me a little sad.

Later, at the end of a set, the lead singer of another band stopped singing and addressed the audience in somewhat of a non-sequitur: If you’re a straight white male, Fuck you!

I exchanged a friendly grin with a woman standing beside me at that point, heheh, what’s a boy to do, I could feel the patriarchy flowing through me.

The very next band had technical problems, so I went out for pizza. I suppose if I was less privileged I could be offended, but it was a fun time, if a bit odd.

Strange thing, I took a test recently. Buzzfeed has a privilege test… of course it does.

Some of my friends did pretty well, in the 80s out of 100 with regards to privilege points, that is bad. I got 35… out of 100. Huh?

The test said I wasn’t privileged but rather one of the oppressed. Shocking, but I guess high school drama club was bound to come in useful some time.

But whose kidding who, its buzzfeed, I’m on easy mode, as they say….

Except, I also recently discovered that I am a victim… of child abuse.

Yep, when I was a kid my mom was Queen of the ‘wooden spoon’. She never drew blood, never left more than a red mark, no bruising, but according to this new study, she’s a criminal… and I guess buzzfeed wasn’t so wrong.

Funny story, there was this one time that my mom lined us up for the spoon, I ended up missing out on the action, because she broke the spoon(handle) smacking my brother’s ass. He’s still bitter about that one to this day.

Hahah.

But seriously, if i had to choose between my mom and her spoon and my dad’s open hand spanking, give me the spoon any day. Again, no serious damage done, but dad took it to a whole other level.

Having said that, I don’t have kids, but if I did, I wouldn’t use corporal punishment, not because it traumatized me to any serious degree, but because from what I have read on the subject, its simply not very effective in the short term, and completely useless for any long term… corrective action.

I’m a complete failure at dudebro patriarchy, I guess.

So it goes.

24 thoughts on “I Victim

  1. You might be confusing your non-dickyness, for how straight white males are dicks.

    It may be that you wish other straight white males, like yourself, were not such dicks, so much that it makes you angry when people call them dicks, because you think it hampers the transformation that will lead straight white males not to be dicks anymore.

  2. Yes, but if you have a dick, it’s not so bad if you’re not a dick.

  3. What the hell is this crap? What interest is this to Canadian atheists? Why aren’t you posting this kind of rambling and ranting on your personal blog?

  4. I got 35… out of 100.

    I got a 69! Does that mean I can tell you what to do from now on? It’s just too bad that privilege test is so ineptly designed. The main problem is the many redundant questions, but I also ended up scratching my head over “There is a place of worship for my religion in my town”. As for “I have never been a victim of violence because of my race”, it might well have been a contributing factor on a couple of unfortunate occasions, but how am I supposed to know? I was too busy with attempts at self-preservation to inquire into the exact motives of the people who were attacking me.

    @Indi

    I agree with the “rambling” part, but that’s Joe’s style, for the rest of us to love or hate. I didn’t notice anything I’d describe as ranting. As for the post being of interest, attitudes to various forms of victimhood are something of a hot topic among atheists at the moment, at least online, and it’s not like this blog has ever been strictly and narrowly about Canadian Atheism anyway. I found the post interesting.

    • >Does that mean I can tell you what to do from now on?

      Maybe you and Indi can do alternate weeks or something.

      And yes, the quiz was typical buzzfeed, high on sensational, low on utility. But anything that boosts my innate sense of self-righteousness can’t be all bad.

      • Sorry guys, but I didn’t find anything sensationalist, inept, or head-scratching about the quiz. I found it rather insightful and enlightening in fact.

        Rather, it’s you guys who sound to me disingenuous and and obdurate to a degree, to use a polite word, a la Rudyard Kipling.

    • While it certainly had some flaws I was actually pleasantly surprised with the weight that social class was given. I can’t remember my score but it was pretty low for a straight whiteish cis male. As someone who was raised by a poor single mother the assertion that I have all this privilege over upper class sometimes minority women has always turned me off the whole area of discourse.

      • I did like that aspect of it. But a lot of the questions I answered honestly… but I’m confident they were not answered ‘the way it was intended’.

        I’m a white male, but I have been told I ‘sound white’ …even for a white guy… See… I have friends ‘of colour’ who I banter with. Saying that to a black guy would probably get a different reaction.

        Similarly, I don’t know if it is even possible for a guy to get through public school without being called ‘a fag’, at some point. For a gay guy I can see it being worse… but the quiz ignores this.

        There are other examples of it being inept, but over all it seemed to me more like a ‘first world privilege’ quiz. As such it completely ignores the majority of humanity.

        Are you taking an online quiz in your spare time?

        Yeah… privileged.

        • Agreed. As a kid I was once beat up by three aboriginal kids for being a “white boy” and followed around a number of stores by white clerks for looking too aboriginal–two check marks there. And ya… If youre male and mad e it through childhood without being called a “fag” you grew up on the moon”. Privilege” is a complex subject with many shades of grey.

          • I’m not sure that people who study privilege and unbalanced fairness and justice, and who go on about white cis male privilege, are unaware that it is a complex subject with many shades of grey.

  5. After calling the test “ineptly designed”, I suppose I’d better explain what I thought was wrong with it. Some of the problem, admittedly, isn’t really so much “design” as the whole idea of trying to measure something as complicated and nuanced as “privilege” with a simple checklist. As Joe and KC have been saying, it’s not exactly uncommon – or at least, it wasn’t when I was growing up – for boys to get called “fag” in school. I didn’t check the “I have never been called ‘fag'” box, because I assumed that something as trivial as playground insults shouldn’t count, but if I’d been filling out the test in a more literal-minded way I would have checked it off. Because of things like that, two people with identical life experiences could end up with very different scores if one interpreted the questions more narrowly than the other. The use of the words “always” and “never” in many of the items contributes to this problem. How many of us are “always comfortable with P.D.A.” with our partners? Even at a funeral, or while being shown around a mosque?

    Then there’s the fact that “yes” and “no” answers don’t necessarily carry the implications the test designer seems to think they should. For example, I was unable to tick the “I have never been the only person of my race in a room” box, even assuming that it only applied to rooms containing more than a handful of people, because I live in China and quite often find that I’m the only white person in a reasonably crowded room. That can feel slightly uncomfortable, depending on the circumstances, but I don’t think the experience makes me any less “privileged”. Similarly, I don’t “buy new clothes at least once a month”, because I hate shopping for clothes, but that’s a personal choice rather than a manifestation of lack of privilege. My point here is that as soon as one starts considering how individuals actually live their lives, simplistic indicators of who is privileged and who isn’t start to look awfully arbitrary and unconvincing. I’m sure that people who seriously study “privilege” have thought of all these complexities, as Bubba says, but I suspect they wouldn’t be too impressed with this little test either.

    Even allowing for the limitations of the privilege checklist genre, this test could easily have been made a lot better. Take out some of those “nevers” and “alwayses”, clean up the redundant questions (the “fag” one is immediately followed by a “dyke” one, and then by an “other derogatory slur for homosexuals” one), drop the assumption that everyone has a religion, maybe lose the questions at the end that refer vaguely to “any of my identities” (what counts as an “identity”?) and you’d at least have a more defensible checklist, for what that’s worth.

    Of course, one could argue that the numerical score that comes out at the end doesn’t really matter anyway, and the value of the test lies in its ability to provoke thought about the ways in which people are advantaged and disadvantaged in this imperfect world. From that perspective, I think the checklist has some merit, and I agree with KC and Joe that the prominent inclusion of questions about class and money is a positive feature. But the main thought the checklist provokes, as far as I’m concerned, is that the whole topic is more complicated than people who like to yell “check your privilege!” in internet discussions generally seem to realise. It’s valid to say that certain demographic groups are privileged on average, but to turn that into an assumption that every member of those groups “has privilege” in all circumstances is fallacious.

    • I wouldn’t touch the quiz as much as you guys seem to want to.

      What is so terribly confusing about this discussion is, since you all said that you scored fairly low on the privilege number, and pretty much came out ranked “underprivileged”, well what the hell is your beef?

      It’s like a weird psychological mix of trying to “game” the quiz and then being angry that the quiz didn’t let you “game” it even though you claim the right to claim that you weren’t trying to “game” it while “gameing” it.

      Looks like the quiz wins to me guys. sorry.

      • And as far as every male in High School being called ‘fag’, none of you have shown me that the quiz **wasn’t** trying to capture that.

        In fact without knowledge of the underlying scoring system, looks to me like the quiz still wins, and you guys just seem like you’re trying to make up for your sub-par privilege scores by whining as much and as loudly as possible about any and everything.

        Bravo Quiz!

        This quiz may have to go down as one of the better short-quizzes on privilege ever constructed.

        I would really like to know how the scoring algorithm operates.

        • I would really like to know how the scoring algorithm operates.

          It appears to simply give the number of ticked boxes as a score out of 100.

          I haven’t been trying to “game” the quiz, and I’m not angry with it. I’ve simply been expressing my opinion of the thing.

          • Even if it simply gives the number of ticked boxes,
            there could still be an algorithm underlying its construction.

            I don’t understand, so are you unhappy with your privilege score of 69. Do you think it should have been higher? Lower?

          • Counting the number of ticked boxes is an algorithm – just a very simple and straightforward one.

            I’m not happy or unhappy with my score of 69 because I don’t take it at all seriously. Using a single number to express the amount of “privilege” – which I would take to mean the amount of unearned advantage – a person has in life is inherently a bit simplistic, at least as bad as using IQ to measure intelligence, and when the number is generated by a simple and not very well thought out checklist it becomes practically meaningless. I don’t think I interpreted any of the items unreasonably when I took the test, but there were equally reasonable interpretations that would have resulted in substantially different (probably lower, because I was reading the questions quite narrowly) scores.

          • Well I disagree and think it is a great quiz, as I said, insightful and enlightening.

            The algorithm could as well go into the question selection and distribution, rather than simply a random hodgepodge of questions thrown out and tallied up.

        • – none of you have shown me that the quiz **wasn’t** trying to capture that.

          Trying to capture what?

          It seems on face value a simple points based quiz. If it is something more complex… that would be your unproven claim.

          And, its a buzzfeed quiz… not exactly peer reviewed science. The site is entertainment.

          I’m glad you got something positive out of it, but that hardly means it above criticism or that anyone who does criticize it is being dishonest.

          You seem to be lauding the quiz simply because you agree with it on the level of being good propaganda for your team… That is not critical thinking.

          • Sorry but you got your logic crossed-up.

            It is you’re unproven claim that the quiz is a simple points based quiz with just a random bunch of notions someone thought up thrown into it, and sitting there waiting to be tallied up.

            I’m just responding to your claims.

            I’m not sure I understand your point either. Are you thinking your score of, what was it, 39, was too high? too low?

            You couldn’t possibly think it is too high, since it’s rather at the the bottom of the scale.

            Maybe you are just angry at the quiz for telling you that you are less privileged than you thought you could make out to be.

          • >It is you’re unproven claim that the quiz is a simple points based ..

            Until you produce your super secret mystery algorithm, I’m sticking with Ockham’s razor.

            My score was 35… and I’m saying it is pretty meaningless, because the test wasn’t very well made.

            >You couldn’t possibly think…
            >Maybe you are just…

            Maybe you should stop pretending you know what I think and feel. You keep getting it wrong. Bored now.

          • Ockham’s razor isn’t whatever you say it is, whenever it suits you to say it, or otherwise decide to simply invoke it.

            Sorry, but Ockham’s razor in this case says there was some serious thought put into the distribution of questions and diversity of possible responses to them.

  6. Ok, so in case any of you sorry lot are wondering what the outcome for the “more favoured” of us are, here you go, a small glimpse (I only managed a 95/100):

    YOU’RE THE MOST PRIVILEGED

    You live with 95 out of 100 points of privilege.

    You’re among the most privileged people in the world. We don’t live in an ideal world, but you happened to be born into an ideal lot. This is not a bad thing, nor is it something to be ashamed of. It just means a lot of other people in the world don’t live life with the advantages you have, and that’s something you should always be aware of. Hey, the fact that you took the time and effort to check your privilege means that you’re already trying.

    I’ll take that.

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